One of the great things about living in Gainesville is how much access you have to North Central Florida’s natural attractions. The area’s unique geography and temperate climate provide for some of the greatest outdoor recreation in the U.S.
One of the area’s most treasured features is the extensive natural springs system. These freshwater springs pump crystal clear water up from the ground year-round. Several springs feed into rivers, offering a variety of water recreation. At 72 degrees any time of the year, the natural springs are beloved among locals and tourists alike.
North Central Florida is choc-full of springs, and there are tons open to the public! From Gainesville, you’re just short drive from many of the finest natural springs the area has to offer. If you are moving to Gainesville, be sure to check out these top-rated springs!
Table of Contents
Top 5 Natural Springs Near Gainesville
Ginnie is one of the most popular springs in the area, especially among the college crowd. The privately-owned site features several impressive springs that all empty into the Santa Fe River. You can swim in the springs or meander down the river on tubes. The more adventurous (and properly trained) explore the extensive underwater cave system
Ginnie Springs is a popular camping spot year-round and at a roughly 30 min. drive from Gainesville, it makes a perfect day trip too.
For some serious floating, you’ve got to hit Ichetucknee Springs. Tubers can choose from either a 3 1/2 hrs. float or a roughly 1 hr float down the Ichetucknee River. Crystal clear waters, scenic foliage and abundant wildlife make this one of the most relaxing, enjoyable floats in the area.
Ichetucknee State Park is about a 50 min. drive from Gainesville.
You wouldn’t expect to see a beach in North Central Florida, but at Blue Springs, that’s exactly what you’ll find. These natural springs feature a stretch of white sand beach in addition to boardwalks and nature trails along the Santa Fe River. With four natural springs on-site, Blue Springs is a popular recreation spot year-round.
Blue Springs offers day access as well as camping and is about a 40 min. drive from Gainesville.
Nestled along the Suwanee River sits Otter Springs. The springs site and sprawling park offers ample options for tent and RV camping. They also offer cabins. You can swim in the springs, or float or paddle along the scenic Suwanee River.
Otter Springs is about an hour drive from Gainesville.
One of the few first-magnitude natural springs in the area, Alexander is a favorite among families. The large, sloping spring pool provides ample wading and splash pad-type activities for younger children.
Alexander Springs is located in Ocala National Forest, about 1 1/2 hrs. drive from Gainesville