Last updated on September 22nd, 2023 at 08:29 pm
As a nature enthusiast looking to explore the beautiful landscapes and hidden gems Florida has to offer, you cannot miss out on Rainbow Springs State Park. The park is home to a group of freshwater springs that produce more than 400 million gallons of crystal-clear water each day. The natural beauty of the springs provides the perfect location for swimming, paddling, kayaking, camping, and more!
Rainbow Springs State Park has three distinct areas (with separate entry): the freshwater springs, tube rental facility, and campground.
With its refreshing freshwater springs, colorful gardens, and mesmerizing waterfalls, the park has a treasure trove of outdoor activities making it an ideal camping destination for adventurers of all kinds.
Rainbow Springs is Florida’s fourth largest freshwater spring and feeds the Rainbow River, popular for water activities like swimming, fishing, canoeing, and kayaking. There are also numerous paved walking trails and 3 hiking/nature trails.
Rainbow Springs is one of many old historic Florida roadside attractions. Between the 1930s and 1960s, the owners added waterfalls with water from the springs. Then, in 1967 it changed hands again with the goal of making it a major family destination. In 1968 animal shows were added, along with an aviary, a paddlewheel riverboat, newly air-conditioned submarine boats, a rodeo demonstration ring, and an unusual leaf-shaped monorail that went right through the upper reaches of the aviary.
Today, the waterfalls remain, but the rest of the park is in keeping with its state park status and focuses on the area’s natural beauty. For $2 a person, visitors can swim in the freshwater headsprings of the Rainbow River, enjoy the nature trails and waterfalls, and enjoy the picnic areas with tables, grills, and pavilions. The park also has kayak and canoe rentals for an additional fee.
Enjoy the collage below and check out our Instagram for more Rainbow Springs State Park photos. The highlight is the fabulous swimming area (looks as clear as a swimming pool!) in that first photo below.
Rainbow River Tube Rentals
A few miles up the road, you can park your car and rent a tube to float down the river. There is a small parking fee per vehicle, for up to 8 people. Shuttle service back to your car is included with the tube rental fee. Please note that this a seasonal activity and hours vary:
First Saturday in April – Memorial Day: 8:00 am – 3:30 pm, Weekends only
Memorial Day – Labor Day: 8:00 am – 3:30 pm, 7 days per week
Labor Day – End of September: 8:00 am – 3:30 pm, Weekends only
October – March: Closed
Campground at Rainbow Springs State Park
Not only does Rainbow Springs State Park boast remarkable natural beauty, but it is also home to a well-maintained and conveniently located campground. Amenities include restroom facilities with hot showers, laundry services, fire rings, and picnic tables. The campground also has its own access to the river from the campground to fish, swim, or paddle. And you can even rent canoes and kayaks from the campground store.
The campground has 60 sites for both RVers and tent campers. All RV sites are full hook-up (30/50 amp power, water, and sewer). Whether you’re pitching a tent, setting up a pop-up camper, or rolling into the park aboard your RV, there’s a campsite tailored to your needs. You can use the ReserveAmerica website or app to reserve a site. Both resources provide a campground layout map and photos of available sites to assist you in making a selection. You can also see photos of the campsites in the video below.
Local Area: Dunnellon and Beyond
There’s something uniquely special about the atmosphere in small-town Dunnellon. The friendly locals, cozy eateries, and quaint shops create a welcoming ambiance that’s sure to charm anyone who visits. For a memorable evening, try one of Dunnellon’s waterfront restaurants offering a relaxed atmosphere and delicious local seafood, all while watching a spectacular sunset over the river.
Explore the Withlacoochee State Trail
One of the best ways to experience the natural beauty of the Dunnellon area is by hitting the Withlacoochee State Trail, a 46-mile-long paved multi-use trail that meanders through diverse habitats and ecosystems. Whether you’re walking, biking, or rollerblading, this trail provides countless opportunities to appreciate the wild beauty of the Nature Coast. Keep an eye out for colorful wildflowers, hear the sounds of native wildlife, and feel the dappled sunlight filtering through the trees as your journey unfolds.
Dive into Florida’s Rich History
The Dunnellon area has a vibrant history dating back to the 1800s. In fact, it was once a prominent mining area for phosphate deposits. Today, you can see remnants of its past when you visit the Historic Village, where you can stroll past beautifully maintained 19th-century buildings, attend an arts and crafts fair, or take a guided walking tour through the town’s history.
Explore Other Freshwater Springs
Just 25 miles away is Silver Springs State Park, home to one of the most famous Florida freshwater springs, which discharges millions of gallons of water daily. The glass-bottom boat tours offer a window into the underwater world below, showcasing the vibrant aquatic ecosystems and the ethereal glow of the springs.
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