11 Amazing Florida Springs Near Orlando!

One of our family’s favorite things to do in Central Florida is to explore the beautiful natural springs near Orlando.  Fresh water from Florida’s aquifers bubble up into a comfortable 68-72 degrees.  This creates beautiful turquoise blue streams of water perfect for swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, and experiencing real Florida.  Florida springs near Orlando provide a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the theme parks, and are great for families.

Here is our list of the best Florida springs near Orlando closest to furthest from the city:

Florida Grown Sticker – by JellyPressStore on Etsy

1. Gemini Springs

A bridge overlooking the water of
Gemini Springs

Gemini Springs is a gorgeous park in Debary and is the closest place to see Florida springs near Orlando. Only 25 minutes from the city, Gemini Springs is a Volusia county park covering 212 acres. There are several paved walkways around grassy areas and the springs themselves for walking. There is also a playground for kids, a 3/4 mile nature trail, and a 1 mile bike trail. It is also dog friendly, and has a sizeable dog park for pups to play in.

Manatee Print by JellyPressStore on Etsy

We love to pack a picnic to Gemini Springs and bring our dog. The springs are picturesque, and there is definitely enough to do and see to fill a half a day while enjoying the outdoors. There are also campsites here if you want to make Gemini Springs a longer adventure.

Trees and forest at Gemini Springs

There is not any swimming currently due to the rate of the springs and bacterial concentrations in the water, but they are still lovely to explore and walk around.

Tips: Dog Friendly! Gemini Springs is a great place to bring your pup to walk or burn some energy in the dog park. Kids will also love the wide open grassy areas of the park.

Distance from Orlando:  25 minutes, 25 miles

Activities:  Dog Park, Walking, Biking, Playground, Camping

Cost:  Free!


Gemini Springs Park

2. Kelly Park and Rock Springs Run

view of Rock Springs from a kayak
Rock Springs

Kelly Park and Rock Springs is a beautiful area that is often overlooked even by Central Florida residents.  It is one of the best springs near Orlando.  Kelly Park provides one of the few real lazy rivers in Florida.  You can rent a tube locally, or bring a tube from home, and float down a natural spring for a scenic and relaxing 10-minute ride.  

At the end of the spring path, you can swim in the natural basin, or wade with little children in a shallow beach area.  

father and son kayaking on Rock Springs run
Kayaking on Rock Springs Run

Our family has kayaked in many places in Florida, and Rock Springs Run is one of the most beautiful places to kayak.  We feel so lucky to have this as one of the closest springs to Orlando.  If you choose to paddle board or kayak Rock Springs, you can choose to paddle towards Kelly Park and experience the beauty of the turquoise springs.  You can also do an 8.5 downstream paddle, after which they will pick you up with a shuttle.  Either way, you will fall in love with the beauty and scenery that you pass.  It is truly a magical place.  

Tips:  If you plan on going tubing, go early.  On the weekends, the park fills up as early as  8 AM when it opens..  During the week, if you are before 11 AM, you can usually get in.

Distance from Orlando:  33 minutes, 29 miles

Activities:  Swimming, Tubing, Paddle Boarding, Kayaking

Cost:  3$ per vehicle 1-2 person, 8$ vehicle 3-8 person


Kayaking at Kings Landing  

Kelly Park Homepage

3. Wekiwa Springs State Park

people swimming in Wekiwa Springs

Swimmers at Wekiwa Springs
Original Photo by Bart Everson cc-by-2.0

Wekiwa Springs is one of the longest running Orlando tourist attractions, and is connected to Kelly Park by Rock Springs Run.  We recommend Kelly Park for a less crowded experience, but Wekiva Springs is a lot of fun, and definitely on the list of best springs in Orlando.  

Wekiwa Springs has a large swimming area, and also has canoe and kayak rentals if you want to explore the surrounding springs.  There are also a variety of trails ranging from .8 miles to 13.5 miles, to allow you to explore the surrounding area.

Florida State Park Checklist – JellyPressStore on Etsy

If you are looking for a unique experience of springs mixed with the comforts of home (bar, food truck, and cabanas for rent), consider Wekiva Island.  Located off of Rock Springs Run, if you are looking for more lounging in the sun, this is a great place to explore one of the best springs in Central Florida with some of the comforts of home.  

Wekiwa Springs State Park Sticker by JellyPressStore on Etsy

Tips:  It is difficult to get into the park on the weekends, and some lines will start as early as 6 AM.  If you want to visit Wekiwa, it is best to go during the week.  You will get to experience the beauty of the springs with less crowds.  

Distance from Orlando:  33 minutes, 29 miles

Activities:  Swimming, Tubing, Paddle Boarding, Kayaking

Cost:  $6 per vehicle


Wekiwa Springs State Park

Wekiva Island

4. Blue Spring State Park

Green and blue water at Blue Spring State Park
Blue Spring State Park, Florida

Blue Spring is one of the nicest and easiest to visit Orlando springs.  Of all the Florida springs near Orlando, it is known for its large population of manatees that visit during the winter months. It is by far the closest spring to Orlando to see these beautiful creatures.  This is our favorite springs near Orlando to take a picnic to, as they have a small playground for the kids, and two nice picnic areas with grills available.  

If you enjoy kayaking or canoeing, this is also a beautiful area to explore and rentals are available through Blue Spring Adventures.  They also offer boat tours of the Saint Johns where you are guaranteed to see birds, alligators, and other wildlife.  

Blue Spring Art Print by JellyPressStore on Etsy

As with most springs in Orlando Florida, Blue Spring can get very crowded, especially on weekends during mid-November to March when the manatees congregate in the springs.  Plan to arrive early and be patient with lines on entry if you want to enter the park.  

Tips:  Go early in the day during the week during winter months to get spectacular views of manatees.

Distance from Orlando:  46 minutes, 33 miles

Activities:  Hiking, canoeing, kayaking, picnicking, boat tours, tubing and swimming (summer only)

Cost:  6$ per vehicle

Blue Spring State Park:  https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/blue-spring-state-park

Boat Tours and Kayak Rental:  https://bluespringadventures.com

5. De Leon Springs State Park

De Leon Springs is a cute, quirky state park that offers the beauty of nature with the added benefit of a pancake house!  The springs are a lovely place to spend a day swimming, and are one of the least crowded Florida springs near Orlando.  There is also a nice nature trail to do some hiking.   Boat tours offer a view of the springs and the wildlife refuge, where you will most certainly spot interesting birds and a few alligators.  

Sugar Mill Restaurant
Sugar Mill restaurant DeLeon Springs

An essential stop is the Sugar Mill Restaurant located in a 100 year old replica of the 1830s sugar mill that first stood at DeLeon Springs.  You get to cook your own pancakes at the griddle on the table, and they always turn out delicious!

De Leon Springs Sticker by JellyPressStore on Etsy

Tips:  Don’t miss the Sugar Mill Restaurant and the boat tour.  There is enough to do here that it makes a great day trip from Orlando.

Distance from Orlando:  54 minutes, 47 miles

Activities:  Swimming, Restaurant, Boat Tour, Playground, Hiking, Kayak Rentals

Cost:  $6 per vehicle


Deleon Springs State Park

Sugar Mill Restaurant

6. Alexander Springs

Alexander Springs
Alexander Springs, Florida
Original photo by aspaciuto cc-by-2.0

North of Orlando in the Ocala National forest you can find two of the best springs near Orlando, Juniper and Alexander.  While our family prefers Juniper, there are some things that only Alexander has to offer.  

Manatee Print by JellyPressStore on Etsy

First, Alexander Springs is the only place in Ocala National Forest where scuba diving is permitted.  Scuba divers can open water dive in the open mouth of the spring.  Second, Alexander Springs has a small beach that leads into the springs.  This makes it much easier for younger children to enjoy the waters easier.  Juniper is deeper, with less easy entry so is better for more experienced swimmers.

Tips:  Come here for snorkeling or springs with young children.

Distance from Orlando:  1 hr 6 minutes, 57 miles

Activities:  Swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving

Cost:  6$ per person per day

Alexander Springs Recreation Area


7. Juniper Springs

Juniper Springs

Located North of Orlando in Ocala National forest, Juniper Springs is one of the nicest natural springs near Orlando.  It is our family’s favorite springs in this region.   The beautiful blue springs bubble up under a gorgeous setting of palm and oak trees. 

Mill at Juniper Springs

 There is a large pool that families will enjoy swimming in.  There is also a short but gorgeous .8 mile nature trail that winds along the spring run.  Picnic tables and camping are available. 

 The park is connected to Alexander Springs via the Florida Trail if you are a more avid hiker.  The thick forest of the surrounding area makes this spring special and unique, and its truly one of the nicest springs close to Orlando.

Wildlife Art Print – JellyPressStore on Etsy

Tips:  Don’t miss the nature trail, giving some lovely and accessible views of the spring run.

Distance from Orlando:  1 hr 13 minutes, 67 miles

Activities:  Swimming, hiking, camping

Cost:  6$ per person per day

Juniper Springs Recreation Area

8. Silver Springs State Park 

Florida’s Silver Springs

Also north of Orlando, Silver Springs State Park is near Ocala.  If you want to travel back in time, and experience old Florida, this is a unique springs close to Orlando that offers more than most state parks.  

The Spring State Art Print by JellyPressStore on Etsy

It is famous for its glass bottom boats that allow you to see the springs and its wild life on a 90 minute boat tour.  You might see manatees in the winter, alligators, turtles, and …. Monkeys?  Yes, the springs has a population of rhesus macaques that were released into the area nearly 100 years ago by an eccentric captain.  They unfortunately are known to carry herpes, and can be dangerous to humans, but it is easy to stay safe on the water.  

Silver Springs, Florida
Shared by Jackdude 101 Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0

Overall, most people who have visited Silver Springs State Park enjoy the area and either the boat tour or kayaking.  The biggest complaint is sometimes it can be a long wait for the boat ride.  This can be mitigated by booking your tickets ahead of time.

Silver Springs Art Print – JellyPressStore on Etsy

Tips:  Take the glass bottom boat ride to get a closer look of the springs wildlife.  

Distance from Orlando:  1 h 26 minutes, 76 miles

Activities:  glass bottom boat ride, kayaking, camping, restaurant, ice cream shop, museum

Cost:  2$ per person, glass bottom bout tour $13 per person for 30 minute ride, $25 per person for 90 minute tours (offered only Friday through Sunday).  


Silver Springs State Park


9. Weeki Wachee State Park

a manatee swimming under a kayak at Weeki Wachee Springs
Kayaking with Manatees at Weeki Wachee Springs

Known for its underwater mermaid shows, Weeki Wachee Springs is the most beautiful place to kayak in the state.  A lot has changed since COVID, and some people who visit find the experience less than what it was “in it’s hey day”.  The park itself features the mermaid show, and has areas for swimming as well as a wildlife show.  There is also a boat tour. 

Weeki Wachee Springs Art Print – JellyPressStore on Etsy

However, paddling Weeki Wachee is  the gem here, and it is our favorite place to kayak in the state of Florida.  Weeki Wachee offers a 2.6 mile kayak run that is easy, downstream, and impeccably gorgeous.  During the winter you will be kayaking right along manatees that inhabit the warm waters.  

Father and son kayaking at Weeki Wachee Springs
Kayaking at Weeki Wachi

We recommend this experience for anyone looking to experience Florida springs.  Orlando is a bit far, but this experience is worth it.  See the mermaids for some Florida history, and then enjoy the truly extraordinary kayaking here.  

Tips:  Kayak at Weeki Wachee Springs, its one of the most amazing things we have done as a family in the state of Florida.

Distance from Orlando:  1h 38 minutes, 79 miles

Activities:  Mermaid show, kayaking

Cost:  $13 per person per day


Weeki Wachee Springs State Park  

Kayaking in Weeki Wachee (Highly Recommended!)

10.  Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs State Park

School of fish in Homosassa Springs State Park
Homosassa Springs State Park

This is not the closest springs to Orlando, but it does provide a really unique Florida spring experience, particularly for familes with young children. This wildlife park has been constructed around the Homosassa Springs, allowing visitors to experience Florida wildlife in natural habitats.

Homosassa Springs Print – by JellyPressStore on Etsy

Animals in the park include manatees, alligators, panthers, black bears, wolves, and the oldest hippopotamus in captivity. All animals have been injured or have reasons that they can no longer survive in the wild. In order to get to the park, there is either a boat tour through the Homosassa Spring area, or a tram will take families through the forest around the springs. Our family loved the boat ride, and our little boys really enjoyed exploring the park which takes about 2-3 hours.

Flamingos and other birds at Homosassa Wildlife Park
Birds at Homosassa Wildlife Park

Tips:  Take the boat ride to the park, it is scenic and relaxing.  

Distance from Orlando:  1 hr 35 minutes, 86 miles

Activities:  Animal experience

Cost:  Adults $13, Kids $5


Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

 11. Three Sisters Spring

Little boy in kayak on Crystal River
Kayaking in Crystal River

Three Sisters Spring is located in Crystal River, Florida.  It is well known for the number of manatees it attracts.  It is not one of the closest springs to Orlando, but if you are in the area it is well maintained and a lovely place to get close to these beautiful creatures.  In order to reach the springs, you must park at a visitor center and take a tram.  It can get a bit crowded on colder days when manatees are expected.  There is a nice boardwalk along which you can view the springs.  

At the entry to Three Sister Springs where it connects to Crystal River there is an area where folks flock to “swim with manatees”.  Tour companies bring pontoon boats of snorkelers to see the area, and kayak rentals are available close by.

 We don’t recommend this, as this particular area is always crowded with snorklers and kayakers.  If you are looking for an experience to get close to a manatee but in a more peaceful setting, we recommend kayaking Weeki Wachee instead.

Tips:  This is a nice place to walk if in the area, don’t do the manatee swimming experiences in Crystal River, they are very touristy.  

Distance from Orlando:  1 hr 36 minutes, 87 miles

Activities:  Manatee Viewing

Cost:  $20 per person in the winter, $12.50 in the summer

Three Sister Springs 

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