First of all, I was not aware of this before I started writing this blog, but just found out that there are around 900 freshwater springs in Florida, I have only visited a few, but I think these are some of the best.
Last month was my husband’s birthday, he turned 30 and so I wanted to do something special with him. But, being the free spirited that he is, he decided we would go camping, to celebrate it. Im not a big fan of camping to be honest! I love the outdoors but at the same time hate mosquitoes and bugs, nonetheless I enjoy camping (only after everything has been set up, and I can throw myself on an air mattress with a fan to enjoy the beautiful cricket’s sounds). So when he told me he wanted to go camping I was not looking forward to it, but as usual he is the one who takes me out of my comfort zone (home) to jump on random adventures.
Spot No. 1: Ichetucknee Springs
We arrived to Ichetucknee Springs the entrance fee there is around $6 per car. As soon as we arrived I was in awe of the beauty of this place, I completely forgot about the mosquitoes, the heat and the drive. I was happier than a kid at Disneyland. The water was perfectly blue, it was cold and refreshing, and it wasn’t salty nor sticky. I loved that I was able to open my eyes underneath the water and see the fishes.
It is like an oasis in the middle of a forest, there are not words to describe the beauty of this place. The downsize of this park is that you can’t camp there, nor you can’t take any food or drinks with you while tubing. Also, Is only open from memorial weekend to Labor Day, but that’s pretty much it! Other than that, it’s perfect. Besides if you are environmentally conscious you won’t mind these things, the time the park is closed is the break they give it to regenerate itself after all the visitors during the summer season.
So, we swam for a little while everyone arrived to the camping sites. I had to apologize for misjudging his celebration choice, as it was actually a really good idea.
Once his family and friends arrived we headed to Ichetucknee Springs Campground where we stayed. It is not part of the park but it is literally 5 minutes away. The fee is $15 per person and the space was very wide for our 3 tents. It has electricity and water, they offer hot showers, clean bathrooms, and a game room with pool tables and games, wi-fi is also available. It is owned by two very kind ladies who made our stay a delight.
So, we set up the tents, we made some food in the grill, we started a bonfire, played games, had some beers, had some wine and sang the first happy birthday of the 4 days.
The following day we went back to Ichetucknee to swim with everyone this time, there are two swimming holes in the north part of the park. One called the Blue Hole; to get to this one you need to take a 15 minute hike from the parking lot. It is very deep and is usually enjoyed more by scuba divers and snorkeling aficionados. The other one is 3 minutes from the parking lot, and that one was my favorite as the water was more clear and it was an open space, with sandy / rocky shores.
From the north part of the park you can also do tubing which takes you down the river for an hour in a half. You can bring your own tubes or rent one from any of the locals around the park area. We loved every inch of that river! I went down the river on my inflatable kayak, while my husband went down on a tube, (he wanted to be swimming the whole way down). The scary thing was a sign of possible alligators in the area but according to the park ranger there has not been any sights in the last 5 years nor any casualties.
Spot No. 2: Ginnie Springs
The next day we headed to Ginnie Springs, the entrance fee in this park is around $15 per adult, it is a more commercialized spot, thus it is well taken care of. The caves and swimming holes here are amazing as well. The tubing not so much as the water down the river is very murky, like red/brownish; which of course freaked me out! So I avoided swimming in the river, but the swimming holes are clear blue fresh water.
In this park you are able to rent your tubes there, but again you can take your own if you have. You can also have your own drinks and take them down the river with you, the good thing about this one is that you can camp in the park, so you can just spend the whole weekend there; plus they are open all year long.
We enjoyed taking photos here, swimming, jumping on the rope to the river, snorkeling, etc. The views are breath taking, under the water and above.
The last day in Florida we decided to go once again to Ichetucknee, I honestly couldn’t get enough of this place. I insisted to go back and enjoy the morning swimming before we had to head back to Georgia.
I have been in several Florida springs from Orlando to Ocala: the Devils Den, Rainbow Springs, Manatee Springs and more but so far these two have been my favorite.