Discover the secrets of a spring up close and personal in a canoe, kayak or inner tube. Of all of Florida's spring parks and recreation areas offering canoeing, kayaking and tubing opportunities, Ichetucknee Springs State Park is considered by many to be one of the finest in the state. With more than seven miles of swiftly flowing river and three separate canoe and tube launches, it can attract as many as 3,000 visitors a day during peak summer months.
Connect with friends on a picnic outing or stargaze during a camping trip at any one of many great parks located at springs. During the day, picnickers can swim and snorkel in the clear, cool waters of headsprings, walk along nature trails, and gaze deep underwater on glass-bottom boat tours. At night, under a canopy of stars and enveloped in a symphony of crickets and tree frogs, campers can literally have the springs to themselves, as it might have been for Florida's first residents 10,000 years ago. Many spring parks offer cabins, tent camping and sites for recreational vehicles, as well as showers, convenience stores or concession stands. Canoe, kayak and snorkel rentals can be found at the water's edge at several spring parks.
Immerse yourself in a spring and your breath will be taken away, first by the chilly waters and then by the incredible array of fish and turtles that you will see. Florida's cool spring waters provide quick relief during the sweltering summer for local residents as well as visitors from afar. Beneath the surface, springs also support one of the most diverse freshwater ecosystems in North America. With only a mask, snorkel and fins, you can discover this world for yourself, seeing fish up close, unique underwater plants, and, maybe, even a manatee.
Florida is famous around the world as a scuba and cave diving destination. From deep cave diving by researchers and scientists at Wakulla Springs to recreational cavern and cave diving, Florida's springs offer a chance to probe depths where few will ever go.
Cave divers can descend into large, open caverns, view rare fish and aquatic invertebrates, and test their skills in some of the longest, deepest and most challenging underwater cave systems on earth.
Some of the most popular and interesting springs diving destinations include Peacock Springs and Ginnie Springs, the most visited freshwater diving spot in the world.
The springs' constant year-round temperature and stable water flow provide an ideal habitat for hundreds of species of native and migratory wildlife, including such unique animals as the bald eagle, river otter and the manatee.
As a result, many springs parks and recreation areas offer an ideal location for wildlife observation and nature photography.
Of all of Florida's springs that offer visitors the opportunity to observe native wildlife up close, few are more famous than Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, which allows visitors to see the manatee and an incredible variety of saltwater fish through one of the world's largest submerged, freshwater observatories.
Silver Springs first offered glass-bottom boat tours in the 1870s, making it one of Florida's first tourist destinations. This tradition spread to other springs and continues to attract visitors from around the world. Today at Silver Springs, you can take in a concert by the Beach Boys or other musical groups, and at Wakulla Springs around Halloween you are guaranteed a scary encounter during the "Creature from the Black Lagoon" film festival. Weeki Wachee Springs, better known as the "Home of the Mermaids," was the first place to offer visitors a front-row seat to the world's first "underwater ballet." Many springs state parks and recreation areas also offer guided nature tours and other special events to help visitors better understand and appreciate the spring ecosystem.
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The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.