Located north of Dunnellon in Marion County, Rainbow Springs is in the Rainbow Springs State Park and is a favorite place to swim for locals and tourists. Holding the same temperature of 72℉ year-round, many believe that this artisan spring has healing powers and health benefits.
Rainbow Springs used to be called “Blue Spring” until the 1930s. Before the 1970s, submarine tours were given of the pools to attract tourists and divert visitors to the mermaid shows at Weeki Wachee Springs. In 1972 the entire Rainbow River was named a Registered National Landmark and an Aquatic Preserve in 1986.
Natural Warm Springs
This first-magnitude spring is one of Florida’s most extensive, and it pumps out around 490 million gallons of translucent water daily. The natural pool area is so clear that activities like snorkeling are easy to do and offer an incredible view of the world below. The depths of the springs range from 5 to 18 feet and are home to a variety of turtles, fish, and other creatures.
Only part of the springs are suitable for swimming and getting in; paying attention to signs is essential for avoiding areas where snakes and alligators roam.
Because the water is so clear in Rainbow Springs, it’s a popular place for outdoor recreation. Some of the activities that visitors like to do include swimming, tubing, snorkeling, and kayaking. Inside the rest of Rainbow Springs State Park, there are also lots of opportunities for hiking, birding, picnicking, wildlife watching, and geocaching.
When planning to spend a few hours outside, always plan to bring the necessary sun protection, drinking water, towels, and water shoes.
There’s a small fee at the entrance for the headwaters, and renting kayaks, SUP boards, or canoes can be booked for the day or by the hour for an additional cost. Visitors interested in tubing can purchase the “Tube & Tram Ticket” for one float down the river, which takes approximately two hours.
No additional parking fees are charged in addition to the primary entrance fee to the headwaters.
This riverside campground is located a few miles away from the primary day-use area and headspring. Its’ found at 18185 SW 94th Street in Dunnellon. Pets are welcome to camp with you, but you cannot bring them into any buildings or the swimming areas.
Campsites come with water, electric (including 20, 30, and 50 amp), plus sewer hookups. Big rigs will be fine here as some sites can accommodate RVs as long as 103 ft. There are ADA-accessible bathrooms as well.
Campground facilities include restrooms with showers, a laundry room, plus a small general store. You can also fish on-site at Rainbow River, as well as swim or paddle the river. The campground store has rental kayaks and canoes.
For safety and to keep the non-campers away, the gates at the campground are always closed. You’ll need to obtain a gate code, which you can get by calling 352-465-8550, or stopping by the campground office open daily from 10 am to 5:30 pm.
Reserve your campsite by calling 800-326-3521 or book online. Like most of Florida’s state parks, campsites book up earlier, especially during weekends and holidays.
Address: 19158 SW 81st Pl Rd, Dunnellon, Florida 34432
Hours: 8 am to 6 pm