Cool off in Florida’s Springs

By Molly O'Brien

By Molly O’Brien

The Gainesville area is home to a number of Florida’s beautiful natural springs — more per square mile than in any other part of the world. Here you can enjoy the best of both worlds: time in the sun along with the cooling relief of fresh water.

Ginnie Springs

Location: 5000 NE 60th Avenue, High Springs, Florida 32643

Summer Hours: Monday – Thursday 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Friday – Saturday 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Sunday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Activities/information: Swimming, snorkeling, tubing, canoeing, kayaking and paddle-boarding. Bring your own equipment or rent gear from the park or nearby country store. Ginnie Springs is a distinguished location for divers nationwide. The spring gained notoriety in 1974 after Jack Cousteau dove there and praised its translucent waters.

Admission Fees: Adults $14.02, Children (ages 6-12) $3.73, Children under 5 are free

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Ichetucknee Springs

Location: 12087 SW U.S. Highway 27, Fort White, Florida 32038 (south entrance)

8294 Southwest Elim Church Road, Fort White, 32038 (north entrance)

Hours: 8 a.m. – Sundown

Activities/ information: Tubing, paddling, canoeing, kayaking, paddle-boarding, swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving. Ichetucknee Springs Park is home to 3.5 miles of the 6-mile long Ichetucknee River. Visitors of the park can float and swim down this section of the river.

Admission Fees: $6 per vehicle (two to eight passengers) or $4 for a single occupant. Children under 5 are free. You can also expect to pay tram transportation fees from park entrance to river and equipment rental fees.

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Poe Springs

Location: 28800 Northwest 182nd Avenue, High Springs, Florida 32643

Hours: Thursday – Sunday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Activities/ information: Swimming, snorkeling, volleyball, soccer, and picnic pavilions. Poe springs pumps an average of 26 million gallons of water a day.

Admission Fee: Free

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Blue Springs

Location: 7450 NE 60 St, High Springs, Florida 32643

Hours: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Activities/information: Swimming/diving, snorkeling, hiking, camping, canoeing, kayaking and fishing (with Florida fishing license). In addition to the main spring, the park has several smaller springs for swimming. Blue Springs is known for its large diving dock that hovers above the springs’ 24-foot deep waters.

Admission Fees (daily): Adults $13, Children (ages 5–12) $3. Children under 5 are free.

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