With more than 700 crystal clear springs, endless summer days and a variety of lush landscapes, Florida boasts the perfect combination for a summer trip to its pristine swimming holes. Lucky for us, Florida is spoiled for choice with refreshing swimming holes located a short driving distance from each other, making it easy to make multiple pit stops. Starting from the Panhandle and ending in Central Florida, explore some of the most immaculate spots to take a dip in the Sunshine State.
Are you ready to spark up the fire, grab your acoustic guitar, and get in touch with nature again? Here’s some of the top beach camping areas in Florida:
Florida’s Ten Best Swimming Holes
Home of the world’s largest and deepest freshwater springs, the sapphire water of Wakulla Springs boasts manatees, alligators and a host of diverse wildlife that can be viewed from a riverboat or the diving platform.
The invigorating 70 degree waters are sure to refresh you on even the hottest summer days. The historic lodge is an elegant remnant of old Florida, and the ancient cypress swamps made the perfect backdrop for old Hollywood movies.
Wakulla Springs is a place where history stretches back thousands of years, from early Native Americans who lived in shoreline villages to filmmakers who recognized the primeval quality of the park’s swamps and wildlife when they decided to film Tarzan’s Secret Treasure (1941) and Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) here.
Today, visitors can swim where mastodons once roamed and take guided boat tours where dugout canoes once glided across the cool waters. Alligators, manatees and an abundance of bird life can all be seen, and visitors can also marvel at a 1930s Spanish style lodge with its period furniture, original elevators and colorful painted ceilings that depict wildlife and Old Florida scenes.
As the sun shines, rainbows play across the bottom of the crystal-clear spring basin at Silver Glen Springs. This beautiful spot along the edge of the Big Scrub offers a spring run that pours out into Lake George, the largest of the St. Johns River Chain of Lakes. Both a popular day use recreation area and an important archaeological site, Silver Glen Springs showcases the delicate balance between enjoyment of the outdoors and preservation of irreplaceable resources.
This stunning spot in Ocala National Forest boasts impossible greenery and shimmering blue water. Oak, cedar and pine trees fringe this playground which is fed by 65 gallons of water daily. The spring bowl is free from boat traffic making the crystal clear waters perfect for swimming and cooling off. You’ll share the water with striped bass, so bring your mask and snorkel if you are a fish spotter. There are picnic tables and BBQ pits so pack for the day to revel in this jewel of a swimming hole.
Fanning Springs now produces around 65 million gallons of water daily, making it a second magnitude spring. Historically, Fanning Spring was a first-magnitude springs as recently as the 1990s. The springs not only offer the perfect 72 degrees water to cool down on hot Florida days, it also offers an abundance of underwater wildlife to view such as musk turtles, bass, mullet, freshwater flounder, bowfin and manatees during the colder days, just to name a few.
Visitors can enjoy grilling and picnicking under the majestic live oaks, kids can swing and run around at the playground and friends and family can have a friendly game of volleyball on the white sand volleyball court. White-tailed deer, gray squirrels, red-shouldered hawks, pileated woodpeckers and barred owls are some of the animals that may be seen around the park. An overlook at the park will allows you to see the spring in its entirety and has a spectacular view of the boil.
An ideal swimming hole for the entire family, Fanning Springs is a 72-degree, 207-foot deep swimming hole near Gainesville with crystal clear blue waters and a unique shallow sandy area for the little ones.
What sets this place apart are the hundreds of tiny bubbling springs which, along with the big gushers, feed this oasis. Framed by palms and oaks and home to a range of wildlife, Juniper Springs has been a popular recreation site for many years. The swimming area is quite pool-like with wall surrounds, and it’s very deep. It’s fully equipped with picnic areas and grills, showers, and restrooms. There’s a store too, but it closes just after lunchtime. If you stay, hire a canoe and enjoy the 7 mile Juniper Run and enjoy watching the prairie wilderness slip by.
Float your worries away and relax on the calm waters of Juniper Springs. Sheltered by plenty of shade from the lush oak trees in the landscape, this heavenly hub is perched in the Ocala National Forest and offers visitors a peaceful swim in its warm waters that spring from natural caverns.
Located in the Ocala National Forest, Juniper Springs is a beautiful subtropical swimming area with refreshing blue waters bubbling near massive springs that flow out of natural crevices, all shaded under gorgeous towering palms and oaks.
Offering visitors a Florida experience that blends its recreational swimming area with its fascinating history.
Once called Acuera, or “Healing Waters,” by Timucuan Indians who inhabited the area, De Leon Springs is a place to cool off in clear waters, roam trails through a lush subtropical forest that features a massive old-growth bald cypress tree, and immerse oneself in a rich history. The spring run was once used to turn a sugar cane mill followed by a grist mill to turn corn into flour during the Civil War.
The famous naturalist John James Audubon visited the springs in 1831. “This spring presents a circular basin, having a diameter of about sixty feet, from the centre of which the water is thrown up with great force, although it does not rise to a height of more than a few inches above the general level,” he wrote in his journal.
Today, thanks to state park protection, Audubon’s description still rings true.
With emerald springs feeding the Wekiwa River and lush tropical hammocks, this unique park just minutes from downtown Orlando is perfect for observing abundant wildlife or cooling off on a summer day.
Miles of trails beg to be explored on foot, bike or horseback, and canoes and kayaks are available on-site. It’s easy to see why visitors have been flocking to beautiful Wekiwa Springs since the mid-19th century.
Wekiwa Springs has a special place in the hearts of those lucky folks who grew up nearby, spending weekends exploring the spring vent and paddling canoes past the purple blooms of pickerelweed.
Orange County’s longest-running tourist attraction, the azure waters of Wekiwa Springs have been a popular leisure retreat. From the dense, almost tropical hammocks near where the springs feed into the Wekiva River to the scenic sandhill uplands, the park is rife with opportunities to see many kinds of animals.
This 70ft deep hole has an old-fashioned air about it but don’t let that make you think it’s not well kept or well worth a visit. In the shallow waters, you’ll find the wreck of a Civil War-era steamboat. The steamboat was scuttled in 1863 to save it from enemy hands and today provides a unique swimming hole feature. Bring your mask and snorkel and you’re sure to be rewarded with turtle sightings. The water draws not just swimmers but scuba divers, canoers, and boaters alike. You’ll find facilities for picnicking as well as trails for exploring.
A crystal clear oasis reflecting the surrounded pines, this spot is idyllic. Swimmers can enter the water down the wooden steps to float and revel in the surrounding beauty. The hole is 82ft wide and 25ft deep and fed by a spring that bubbles through the limestone.
This crystal clear, first magnitude spring is a popular spot for swimming and cave diving. Scenic woodlands of mixed hardwoods and pines create a picturesque setting for picnicking, paddling and wildlife viewing. Voted the #1 swimming hole in the country by USA Today, Madison Blue Spring is a family favorite destination and a fantastic place to spend the day.
Rainbow Springs has a dedicated swim area which even prohibits inflatables other than life preservers or noodles. The depth ranges from 5-18ft with just a small area where children can safely enjoy wading. Tubing is popular in this area too, and the entrance for this can be found one and a half miles south of the campground. The two-mile float takes 2 hours to complete, and a shuttle service will return you to your car.
One of the oldest swimming holes you’ll find in Florida, Rainbow Springs has been around for over 10,000 years. Take a refreshing dip in the headwaters of this pristine spring and explore the park’s impressive gardens and waterfall.
Renowned as one of Floridas clearest springs and located on the Santa Fe River, Ginnie Springs attracts every kind of water enthusiast. The area is well maintained, and you should expect sundecks as well as stairs to offer easy access to the water. While it’s popular with scuba divers, you can still enjoy the underwater sights with your mask or goggles.
Take a dip into the Ginnie Springs to see large bass, catfish and turtles in the crystal clear water. The scenic spring is located on the south side of the Santa Fe River in High Springs, Florida. Visitors can also go tubing through the Santa Fe River since it connects to the spring. Consistently ranked as the clearest spring in Florida, Ginnie Springs is popular for swimming, tubing, snorkeling, and diving.