After an exhilarating weekend of theme park escapades, isn’t it ideal to unwind amidst natural spring? Central Florida, interestingly, is teeming with numerous natural springs waiting to be explored. Some of these springs beckon adventurers with their diving and snorkeling allure, while others promise serenity as you immerse in their therapeutic waters.

The springs of Florida vary, from delicate streams to massive outflows, termed as “first magnitude” due to their astounding discharge of over 65 million gallons of water daily.

If you’re yearning for fresh air and the calming symphony of flowing water, dive into our guide to the top 20 natural springs near Orlando.

Top 20 Natural Springs in Florida Near Orlando

1. Alexander Springs

Alexander Springs

Alexander Springs stands out as one of the elite 27 first-magnitude springs in Florida, gushing over 64 million gallons of water daily. With its sandy shores and expansive 300-foot spring basin, it offers year-round opportunities for wading and swimming. Its gentle gradient and crystal-clear waters make it particularly enticing for families with young children. Apart from swimming, visitors can indulge in mountain biking, camping, fishing, and exploring nature trails. For those looking to dive deeper, scuba diving is an option, and if you’re keen on paddling, there are canoe and kayak rentals available.

2. Hunter Springs Park

Hunter Springs Park

Hunter Springs Park, nestled in the heart of Crystal River, boasts the most accessible spring on Kings Bay. Open for swimming throughout the year, the park’s recent revamp has given it a pristine natural shoreline and beach. To add to its appeal, it offers amenities like restrooms and changing facilities. Whether you’re keen on kayaking, eager to stroll the boardwalk for a glimpse of manatees, or just looking for a delightful outdoor experience, this park promises a memorable time!

3. Blue Spring State Park

Blue Spring State Park

Blue Spring, emanating from the St. John’s River, is its largest spring, releasing a staggering 100 million gallons of water each day. Dive into its depths with scuba diving, snorkel through its clear waters, float along with tubing, or simply take a refreshing swim during the summer months. Young explorers can indulge in a hike on its nature trails or take a step back in time at the historical Thursby House. With several picnic spots and a playground, it’s easy to spend the entire day here.

Come winter, Blue Spring transforms into a sanctuary for the West Indian manatees, attracting hundreds seeking the warmth of its waters. It’s among the top spots to witness these gentle giants in Central Florida. To ensure their safety during migration, the spring halts all water activities from mid-November to March.

4. Wekiva Island Near Orlando

Wekiva Island Near Orlando

Wekiva Island, a mere 1.5 miles (2.5 km) from Wekiwa Springs State Park, offers a distinct experience of the springs around Orlando. This 2,000-square-foot (185 square meters) recreational oasis, run by a family, promises a plethora of unique and engaging activities.

Navigate the Wekiva River using canoes, kayaks, or paddle boards available for rent. Quench your thirst at the Tooting Otter Bar (don’t forget to inquire about their happy hour!) or satiate your hunger with delectable bites from the Without a Paddle Café food truck.

For those seeking relaxation, the boardwalk’s adirondack chairs are an absolute treat and are among my top picks at Wekiva Island.

Adding to its charm are eco-friendly restrooms, designated spots for swimming, the option to rent private cabanas, and a handy general store that ensures you’re equipped with everything necessary during your visit.

5. De Leon Springs State Park

De Leon Springs State Park

This park’s legacy spans over 6,000 years, once being the dwelling place for the Mayaca Native Americans. Dive into the constant 72-degree, 500-foot spring-fed swimming haven, which provides a captivating view as it overlooks the Spring Garden Run, pouring out 19 million gallons of water daily. Depths at this Florida spring vary, from a kid-friendly 18 inches to a deep 30 feet at the heart of the spring. To delve into underwater wonders, don’t forget your snorkeling equipment. Additional features encompass nature trails, fishing platforms, boat excursions, picnic spots, a play area, and an interactive visitor center. However, it’s worth noting that there are no lifeguards present.

Historically, this park hosted Florida’s inaugural water-driven sugar mill, constructed in 1832. Today, the Sugar Mill Restaurant invites guests to sizzle their own pancakes on table-top griddles. To ensure a spot, it’s advised to get there early and register on the waiting list!

6. Silver Springs State Park

Silver Springs State Park

This vivid blue spring nestles amidst a vibrant subtropical setting, accentuated by handcrafted limestone barriers. Juniper Springs boasts not just its prominent spring, but also hundreds of smaller ones that collectively unleash over 7 million gallons of water each day. The swimming zone, shallow on one side and deep on the other, caters to both young ones and adults.

You can enjoy outdoor lunches in the picnic spots, take leisurely strolls on walking trails, or snorkel to explore underwater wonders. The spring also welcomes enthusiasts for canoeing, kayaking, and camping adventures. Being in Florida’s natural spring area, it’s rich in wildlife – so keep an eye out! You might encounter an otter frolicking by the spring’s edge or even spot an American eel weaving through the tape grass.

7. Green Springs

Green Springs

Situated on Lake Monroe, Green Springs Park is just a 30-minute drive north of Orlando. As a top pick among Orlando’s free springs, this 31-acre gem offers a budget-friendly retreat, especially if you’ve just indulged in the magic of Disney.

Rich in history, these sulfur springs were revered by the Mayaca and Seminoles, who held a firm belief in the water’s therapeutic properties. The 1840s saw the establishment of one of Florida’s pioneering health spas right here.

Though taking a dip isn’t permitted, there’s no shortage of activities to captivate your attention in this picturesque park. Meander along the nature trails, relish the vistas of the uniquely green waters from the overlooks or let the kids have a blast at the playground. And when hunger strikes, the picnic zone is perfect for a delightful outdoor meal.

8. Rainbow Springs State Park

Rainbow Springs State Park

As one of Florida’s most voluminous springs, this prime first-magnitude spring boasts several smaller vents, collectively discharging over 400 million gallons of water daily. Its pristine sapphire-blue waters draw many to its depths, which vary between 5 to 18 feet, complemented by a separate wading section for the little ones. While snorkeling is permitted within the marked swimming zone, visitors should be aware there’s no lifeguard overseeing the area. For those looking to float their cares away, tubing is a sought-after summer pursuit here. Additionally, equipment such as tubes, canoes, and kayaks are available for rent, letting explorers fully immerse in the river’s beauty.

Beyond the allure of the springs, families can enrich their visit with attractions like beautifully curated gardens, an artificial waterfall, a vibrant butterfly garden, and scenic nature trails. For those looking to refuel, both snack concessions and picnic amenities are at hand.

9. Rock Springs at Kelly Park

Rock Springs at Kelly Park

Often referred to as Florida’s own “lazy river,” this renowned natural freshwater spring boasts consistently clear water, maintaining a refreshing 68 degrees throughout the year. While there are multiple spots outside the park offering tube rentals, guests are also welcome to bring their own for a leisurely float downstream. The park also features an expansive swimming zone, making it perfect for a refreshing dip. Amenities include comprehensive concession stands, picnic shelters, and a well-equipped playground. For those looking to paddle around, rentals for kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards are readily available.

10. Ginnie Springs

Ginnie Springs

Often described as a “quintessential Floridian paradise,” Ginnie Springs presents some of the most radiant and crystal-clear waters I’ve ever witnessed. Dive into the invigorating springs or soak up the sun while drifting along the Santa Fe river on a tube. The allure of Ginnie Springs lies in its versatile offerings, catering to thrill-seekers and those in search of tranquility alike.

Ensuring a hassle-free experience, Ginnie Springs is equipped with top-notch amenities. Whether it’s equipment for your day out or munchies to satiate your appetite, Ginnie’s General Store has got you covered. For heartier meal options, swing by Ginnie’s Grill, ensuring you’re energized for all the adventures.

While it’s a tad over a 2-hour drive from Orlando – slightly longer than some other springs – the journey to Ginnie Springs is a rewarding one that promises a memorable escape.

11. Salt Springs

Salt Springs

Nestled near Lake George, Florida’s second-largest lake, Silver Glen Springs is a boater’s haven. They can drop anchor in the shimmering waters just beyond the designated swimming zone. The spring’s basin gently inclines, making it a friendly spot for swimmers of all ages. Don’t forget to pack snorkeling equipment to witness the rich marine life flourishing in these waters. For those eager to explore beyond the waters, there are two nature trails to tread or options to rent a canoe or kayak. With picnic tables and BBQ grills available, it’s ideal to bring along a meal and make the most of your sun-soaked day. Historically, the spring holds great significance. Its expansive mounds, protected and revered, speak of the Native Americans who once considered this spring their home.

12. Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

This spring is a delightful blend of natural beauty and entertainment extravaganza. Spanning 200 acres, it offers a medley of attractions ranging from water slides to mermaid performances. Nestled within Weeki Wachee, the Buccaneer Bay water park boasts a pristine white beach, exhilarating slides, a serene natural lazy river, and the Lil’ Mates cove, a splash zone tailored for the youngest visitors aged 6 and below. The iconic Weeki Wachee mermaids mesmerize with their underwater performances in a special submerged theater. The park is sprinkled with several food stalls, picnic shelters, and even boasts a seasonal eatery in Buccaneer Bay. Supplementing the watery delights are amenities like playgrounds, animal meet-and-greets, and options for paddling, canoeing, kayaking, snorkeling, and riverboat tours.

13. Devil’s Den

Devil’s Den

Devil’s Den might not frequently top lists of springs near Orlando, but it’s an astonishing prehistoric gem that’s begging to be explored.

A mere 2-hour drive from Orlando’s city center, this subterranean spring stands as a testament to millions of years of natural evolution. Formed from limestone or karst, this structure has ancient origins, shaped over time as groundwater eroded away the rock, unveiling this subterranean marvel. These caverns are relics from an epoch when Florida was submerged beneath tepid, shallow seas.

Diving enthusiasts flock here primarily for snorkeling and scuba diving. Do remember to book in advance if you’re planning on snorkeling. And if you’re into scuba diving, ensure you have your certification handy. Rental gear for both activities is readily available onsite.

Though the initial journey into the cave can feel a tad unsettling, what awaits you is a breathtaking spectacle of nature’s handiwork. For the more adventurous, camping opportunities beckon, complemented by a pool adjacent to the camping site. Undoubtedly, Devil’s Den offers an unparalleled spring experience near Orlando!

14. Wekiva Falls

Wekiva Falls

This inviting natural sulfur spring boasts not only a gentle water spring run but also a lively swimming lagoon. Complementing its sandy beach are thrilling water slides and a mesmerizing 360-degree waterfall. Adventure seekers can rent canoes and kayaks for some aquatic exploration. For those planning an extended visit, a spacious campground, various picnic spots, and a fun-filled playground are available. On weekends, a DJ amps up the atmosphere with popular tunes and orchestrates engaging water games for children. On land, guests can indulge in entertaining games like pickleball, shuffleboard, and cornhole.

15. Silver Glen Springs

Silver Glen Springs

Located approximately ninety minutes from Orlando, the captivating aquamarine waters of Silver Glen Springs beckon visitors with promises of refreshing swims, leisurely snorkeling, and serene relaxation.

As you dip into the waters, you’ll find yourself amidst schools of fish, and if you’re fortunate, you might even spot manatees retreating from the chillier waters of the Saint Johns River. Enhancing the spring’s enchantment is its verdant embrace of pine, oak, and cedar trees that seem to whisper age-old tales.

Silver Glen Springs stands out as a first-magnitude spring, gushing an impressive 64.6 million gallons of water or more daily – it’s truly a natural wonder!

Nestled within the bounds of the Ocala National Forest, this spring doubles as an archaeological goldmine. The remnants of a Timucuan Indian settlement, once thriving beside these waters, are evident in the shell mounds that pepper the northern edge of the main springs. As you explore, you might notice fossilized snail shells embedded in these ancient middens.

Many locals vouch for the unmatched clarity of these waters. Given its shallower depths, Silver Glen Springs is a top pick for families, making it an ideal natural spring destination near Orlando, especially for those with young ones in tow.

16. Wekiwa Springs State Park

Wekiwa Springs State Park

Just a stone’s throw away from downtown Orlando lies a sprawling 7,800-acre park, home to a mesmerizing emerald spring gushing out an astounding 43 million gallons of water daily. Its allure is palpable, drawing in countless visitors, especially in the summer. To secure your spot, it’s advisable to head there early, as the park often fills to capacity.

The expansive swimming zone spans over half an acre, with waters averaging around 4 feet in depth, making it ideal for a leisurely dip. But the park offers more than just swimming. Dive into activities like snorkeling, geocaching, and fishing. Explore on two wheels with its bicycling trails, or wander its hiking paths. For longer stays, consider camping amidst nature. Additionally, there are picnic pavilions for those perfect family gatherings and a nature center for the curious souls looking to delve deeper into the park’s ecosystem.

17. Gilchrist Blue Springs

gilchrist blue springs

Situated a tad over 2 hours from Orlando, Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park is a hidden gem, boasting the pristine waters of Gilchrist Blue – the crowning jewel in Florida’s latest state park addition.

Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park showcases an array of springs, with Gilchrist Blue reigning supreme. This majestic second-magnitude spring exudes a remarkable 44 million gallons of water each day, plunging to depths of up to 35 feet. Framed by a sandy beach on one side and a grand diving platform on the other, its cozy swimming enclave is a delightful place to relax and take a refreshing dip.

A day at Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park is packed with a myriad of activities – paddle through the tranquil waters, snorkel to explore the underwater wonders, take a leisurely swim, or set up camp for a more extended escape. Numerous hiking trails beckon the adventurers, while picnic spots offer a peaceful respite. And for the aquatic enthusiasts, the crystalline waters play host to a vibrant marine life, including turtles, largemouth bass, bluegill, and channel catfish.

A pro tip for potential visitors: embark on your journey early to secure your spot, as the park’s allure often reaches its visitor capacity.

18. Emerald Cut

emerald cut

A stone’s throw away from Kelly Park, King’s Landing is the gateway to the mesmerizing Emerald Cut, a tropical haven ideal for kayaking enthusiasts.

Spanning a comfortable three miles, the Emerald Cut paddling trail is a dream for novices and families alike. As you set out, the initial leg challenges you against the current, but the return journey rewards you with a leisurely drift, letting you soak in the surrounding beauty. If you’re planning a visit, don’t miss our handy guide: “Kayaking Essentials for Navigating the Emerald Cut at King’s Landing.”

Being a recognized Wild and Scenic River in Florida, the waterway boasts an untouched natural splendor. As you glide along, you’ll be treated to a plethora of flora and might even catch glimpses of local wildlife like alligators, otters, turtles, and a diverse array of birds.

Conveniently located just a 30-minute drive from Orlando’s bustling center, the Emerald Cut offers an easily accessible retreat. So, if you’re looking to break away from the theme park frenzy, this spring provides an authentic taste of Florida’s unspoiled wilderness.

19. Juniper Springs

Juniper Springs

Nestled just outside Ocala within the expansive Ocala National Forest, Juniper Springs offers an idyllic escape for lovers of nature and water activities. Though it’s set in a natural environment, the spring is encased by a concrete barrier, lending it the inviting feel of a man-made pool.

While Juniper Springs may be more intimate in size compared to some nearby springs, it’s notable for its impressive depth. For those keen on exploring the waters further, there’s a rental stand offering canoes and kayaks. The adventurous at heart can embark on a 7-mile paddle journey down the spring run.

Behind the historic old mill, you’ll find the Juniper Creek Nature Trail. This approximately 0.75-mile trail concludes with a turnaround point, making it a perfect short hike. The path is both stroller and wheelchair-friendly, ensuring all can appreciate the serene surroundings. Before wrapping up your visit, a tour of the old mill is a must, offering a glimpse into the area’s rich history.

20. Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

Homosassa Springs offers a unique, zoo-like ambiance, primarily celebrated for its manatee sightings. While our initial plan was to explore Crystal River, a lack of manatees that day led us to this wonderful alternative. Not just limited to manatees, the park is a haven for diverse wildlife, but the gentle sea cows definitely steal the show.

For an immersive experience, the park features an underwater observatory, often referred to as the “fishbowl,” situated right at the headspring. This provides a mesmerizing view of the creatures as they glide beneath the clear waters. Another viewing point is a pavilion which offers a panoramic overlook of the aquatic expanse. During our visit, we were also treated to the sight of a manatee under rehabilitation, giving a closer look at these gentle giants.

Moreover, Homosassa Springs conducts daily educational sessions about these fascinating creatures and shares insights into their conservation efforts. This park is not just a visual treat but also an educational journey into the lives of manatees.