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Visit Rainbow Springs State Park in Dunnellon, Florida

Updated on August 28, 2016
Crystal Clear Waters at Rainbow Springs
Crystal Clear Waters at Rainbow Springs | Source

Rainbow Springs State Park

Imagine yourself basking in the sun as you float down the crystal clear waters of Rainbow Springs.


On a hot and humid Florida morning, afternoon or evening, there is nothing more tranquil than feeling cool water brushing against your skin. With a temperature staying at a constant 72 degrees, Rainbow Springs do just that.


This scenic sanctuary offers a history as extraordinary as its appearance. Archaeological evidence shows people have been using Rainbow Springs for almost ten thousand years. They depended on it for clean water, food and the making of tools. Mammoth fossils have even been found. Can you imagine what is still waiting to be discovered?



Source

The Story of Rainbow Springs

From Water Source to State Park

The first magnitude artesian spring was known as Blue Spring until it opened in the 1930's as tourist attraction. The owner renamed it because he wanted a name the name to stand out from the crowd.


In the 1960's the park became a popular private attraction offering submarine tours. In these boats, passengers sat below the water level for a beautiful aquatic view. The attraction also offered tropical gardens, waterfalls, a monorail, an aviary, zoo and even a rodeo for visitors to enjoy until its closure in 1974.

Rainbow Springs Glass Bottom Boat Tours of the Past
Rainbow Springs Glass Bottom Boat Tours of the Past | Source

In 1972, the park was designated as a Registered Natural Landmark. The Rainbow River became an Aquatic Preserve in 1986 and in 1987 it was listed as an Outstanding Florida Waterway.


The springs remained privately owned until 1990 when the State of Florida purchased the land. Some remnants of the past are still visible to this day. Rainbow Springs is what it is today due to the numerous volunteers who were dedicated to preserving the land.


Rainbow Springs Butterfly
Rainbow Springs Butterfly | Source

Things To Do

While Visiting Rainbow Springs and Rainbow River


While visiting the springs, you can enjoy swimming, canoeing, kayaking, snorkeling or even camping.


You can go tubing down Rainbow River which is formed by the springs. Depending on where you leave from, your trip down the river will be either 2 or 4 hours. The State Park tubing entrance is 2 hours long and provides the best views. If you leave from K.P. Hole Park, following the entire river is 4 hour journey. On most days, you can see all way to the bottom of the crystal clear waters.


The cooler 72 degree temperature of the water isn't for everyone. The good news is, you can enjoy Rainbow Springs without setting foot in the chilly waters! My family and I like bringing a picnic lunch and sitting in one of the pavilions. They are equipped with tables and grills which are perfect for entertaining.

Refreshing waterfall over rocks
Refreshing waterfall over rocks | Source

Afterwards, take a long stroll to enjoy (man-made) waterfalls, plants and animals. The waterfalls are a reminder of the past tourist attraction days. You will also see ruins of a small zoo and horse rodeo. There is a butterfly garden to enjoy while choosing which one of the three different nature trails to take. The scenery is top notch!


I always make sure to have my camera ready when visiting the park; with so much beauty around you, you'll want to snap a few pictures to keep the memories fresh! There are many water proof options on the market now. It's an investment you won't regret.


Watch out for all forms of Florida wildlife. Although rare, alligators may be seen in the Rainbow River. There have been no known attacks within Rainbow River or Rainbow Springs. Alligators are generally afraid of people and will most likely flee. It is always best to do your homework and educate yourself on how to handle wildlife encounters. Remember, we are the ones invading their space.



Panoramic View
Panoramic View | Source

Always Choose a Great Sunscreen to Shield Against the Sun's Powerful Rays

EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46, 1.7 oz
EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46, 1.7 oz

Choosing a sunscreen is essential for the health of your skin. Without protection, you are vulnerable to skin cancer and premature aging. The damage caused by the sun's UV rays may not be apparent at a young age but it will begin to show as you age. It's best for everyone, of all ages, to wear sunscreen everyday.

Eltamd is the best sunscreen I've ever used. It's very light on your skin and helps to maintain a smooth complexion. It is a little more expensive than some other skin protections but your skin will thank you for it! I always have extra on hand. Living in Florida, it's definitely needed on a daily basis.

Having a high SPF at 46 is a great benefit but remember, you should adjust for your own needs. Some people need a higher or even lower sun protection factor. I experimented with several different formulas and SPFs before ultimately choosing EltaMD.

 
Rainbow Springs Flower
Rainbow Springs Flower | Source

Park Hours

Rainbow Springs State Park opens at 8 a.m. and closes at sunset. The park is open for 365 days of fun.


If visiting on the weekend, it's best to arrive early in the day. If the parking lots are filled, the park will be closed to new guests.


The Tubing entrance at Rainbow River is only open for 5 months from April through September; closing everyday at 5:00 PM. All tubers must be inside the park by 2:15 p.m.


Since hours can change at anytime, always check the park website or call before starting your adventure.


View of the Main Headsprings and Swimming Area

Rainbow River
Rainbow River | Source

Bring Your Favorite Towel

J & M Home Fashions Beach Towel, 40 by 70-Inch, Palm Trees Fiber Reactive Print
J & M Home Fashions Beach Towel, 40 by 70-Inch, Palm Trees Fiber Reactive Print

A towel can be a subtle reflection of your personality. Not to mention, they are just plain fun to own! Children and adults love showing off an impressive towel. From Disney, Hello Kitty to turtles and beach shells, there is a style for everyone. Find something that is uniquely you!

I love my towel just like this one because of the soft velvet feel. It's not a thick towel but it's also not so thin that it feels like a sheet of paper. It's perfect for lying down in the sand to catch some rays or drying off after a cool dip.

When I washed the towel, it didn't shrink or lose softness. It felt just as amazing as the day it arrived. The colors have stayed very vibrant. In fact it's so vibrant, the pictures don't do it justice! It's truly my style.

 
High Flowing waterfall at a distance
High Flowing waterfall at a distance | Source

Fees

Entry

To enter Rainbow Springs State Park, the fee is $2.00 for each person. Kids under 6 years old are free to enter the park.

Tubing

To enter the tubing area of The Rainbow River, the fee is $5.00 per vehicle for up to 8 passengers.

In addition to the entrance fee, it's $10.60 per person which includes taxes, tube use and tram service.

You are permitted to bring your own tube or use one from the park. Should you decide to use your own tube, it must be under 60" in any dimension.

Camping

Is $30.00 per night (plus tax). This fee Includes the use of water, sewer and electricity.


As with hours, fees are subject to change at anytime. Double check the official website before leaving your house.

For more information regarding fees: Florida State Parks | Rainbow Springs


Tubing Down Rainbow River

Float down the river for a relaxing experience
Float down the river for a relaxing experience | Source

Would you Like to Visit?

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Small Rainbow Springs Waterfall

One of several beautiful sites to see.
One of several beautiful sites to see. | Source

Don't Forget Your Camera

WIFI Action Camera Waterproof Cameras - HD 1080P Underwater Camera Diving 98FT Camcorder with 19PCS Accessories for Kids, Snorkeling, Motorcycle, Bike, Helmet, Car, Ski and Water Sports
WIFI Action Camera Waterproof Cameras - HD 1080P Underwater Camera Diving 98FT Camcorder with 19PCS Accessories for Kids, Snorkeling, Motorcycle, Bike, Helmet, Car, Ski and Water Sports

A nice camera doesn't have to cost a fortune to take excellent pictures! I once made the mistake of bringing a regular, non water-proof camera with me. Within, a couple of hours, it was damaged partly due to sand getting into the housing. It also starting raining rather hard and I had no where to stash the camera. In, FL rain can come and go very quickly, it's better to be prepared.

I bought this camera a couple of months ago, and so far it's held up. The plastic casing hasn't let anything inside. It is on the smaller side and the LCD screen isn't large at 2 inches but I wasn't looking for a huge digital camera to lug to the beach. It takes decent photos in HD at 12 megapixels.

Believe me when I say, we have not treated this gingerly, it's been through the ringer and still looks new. My favorite thing to do is to connect to the camera via Wi-fi while on the go. There's an app to download and you can easily view and transfer pictures. The price is right for many budgets.

 

Plan Your Trip

show route and directions
A markerHeadsprings -
19158 SW 81st Road Dunnellon, FL 34432
get directions

B markerTube Area -
10830 SW 180th Avenue Road
get directions

C markerCampground -
18185 SW 94th Street
get directions

D markerK.P. Hole Park -
9435 SW 190 Avenue Rd Dunnellon FL, 34432
get directions

Watch out for these Guys

Scary banana spiders are seen all over the place
Scary banana spiders are seen all over the place | Source

Watch out for these Golden Silk Orb Weavers or banana spiders as some say. They can be found throughout the park. Since these spiders are rather large, they are easy to spot. They are known for spinning elaborate webs made of golden silk, hence their name. They thrive in warmer climates and we all know FL is the sunshine state!


Remember, Nature is All Around You

Take a few moments to observe the beauty around you
Take a few moments to observe the beauty around you | Source

Did you enjoy this virtual tour?

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© 2013 Melissa

What do you think of Rainbow Springs State Park?

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    • profile image

      Sarrri 20 months ago

      Another beautiful place in the states. Can not wait to visit with usa in fla

    • astevn816 lm profile image

      astevn816 lm 3 years ago

      I've been there many times, beautiful place

    • netangel profile image
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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @anonymous: There are so many nice places to visit and this is one of them! I really hope you are able to plan a trip!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I live in North Florida and still don't know all the secrets of this awesome state. Beautiful park and worth a visit.

    • netangel profile image
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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @SarLew: I appreciate your visit!

    • profile image

      SarLew 4 years ago

      I loved looking at all of your pretty pics. Thank you for sharing.

    • netangel profile image
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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @Pat Goltz: Well, I'm happy I was able to give you a virtual tour! :)

    • netangel profile image
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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @KateFeredayEshete: Those spiders are all over the place! They are a bt scary. I will have to take a look at your lens :)

    • KateFeredayEshete profile image

      Kate Fereday Eshete 4 years ago from Ethiopia

      Florida is a beautiful state, and Rainbow Springs looks idyllic. What an impressive spider. I put a big scary spider image on my lens about the Ethiopian Highlands. Thanks for an informative lens. If I ever return to visit Florida and I'm in the area, I'll go and see this state park.

    • Pat Goltz profile image

      Pat Goltz 4 years ago

      I'd love to visit! Too far to walk, though.

    • profile image

      TanoCalvenoa 4 years ago

      That's an awesome spider. I love this entire lens, and I hope I get to go to Florida someday!

    • netangel profile image
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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @kingandy: Thanks, I took all of the photos... The place is so pretty, it's easy to capture the beauty!

    • kingandy profile image

      kingandy 4 years ago

      Did you take all the pictures in the lens yourself? It sure looks amazing...

    • josietook profile image

      josietook 4 years ago

      Looks really beautiful!!

    • netangel profile image
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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @getmoreinfo: Thank you!

    • netangel profile image
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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @anonymous: I'm def not into seeing the spiders either, at least they are big enough to see before running into them!

    • netangel profile image
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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @kerrylea: Thanks for stopping by!

    • netangel profile image
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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @lesliesinclair: It really is pretty :)

    • netangel profile image
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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @getmoreinfo: Thank you :)

    • kerrylea profile image

      kerrylea 4 years ago

      The swimming area looks beautiful and I can it is protected with netting just in case of alligators.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Pretty cool! Not diggin the spider though. lol I used to live in Florida and I remember all of the lovely wildlife but I've never visited this place.

    • observant trave profile image

      observant trave 4 years ago

      stunning place with natural beauty, it reminds me of the beauty i have experienced during my kashmir ladakh travel

    • profile image

      jetcharterquote 4 years ago

      What a cool place. I'll have to visit it on my next trip to Florida.

    • netangel profile image
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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @SBPI Inc: It's very beautiful, I'm visiting again next weekend! It really is one of Florida's untouched jems. Thank you :)

    • netangel profile image
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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @getmoreinfo: Thank you for stopping by!

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 4 years ago

      I sure like that Submarine Boat - kind of art nouveauish to me. It's a park I'd like to visit.

    • profile image

      getmoreinfo 4 years ago

      Such a lovely place, thanks for all the beautiful photos of the park.

    • SBPI Inc profile image

      SBPI Inc 4 years ago

      Yes, that is quite a beautiful area. It has been a long time since I was there and is even more beautiful now. Well cared for and lost of things and creatures to see. Correct about the alligators but they mostly stay away when there are a lot of people around. Will have to make a revisit soon. Thanks for your beautiful and informative lens.Jonathan

    • netangel profile image
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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @savateuse: Thank, I appreciate your comment!

    • netangel profile image
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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @myspace9: Thank you very much :)

    • netangel profile image
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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @MikeTraveler: Thank you!

    • savateuse profile image

      savateuse 4 years ago

      Your photos are superb!

    • profile image

      myspace9 4 years ago

      Very beautiful lens with beautiful pictures.

    • MikeTraveler profile image

      MikeTraveler 4 years ago

      Great lense!

    • netangel profile image
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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @lucylucy222: Thank you!

    • netangel profile image
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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @sukkran trichy: Thank you, I hope you are able to visit soon. You will not regret it! :)

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 4 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      wow. your beautiful pics tempt me go there at once. a great presentation

    • profile image

      lucylucy222 4 years ago

      What a beauitfil place!!

    • netangel profile image
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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @favored: It really is very beautiful! Thanks for the visit :)

    • netangel profile image
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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @RennyCross: Thank you very much!

    • netangel profile image
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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @anonymous: Thank you!

    • netangel profile image
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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @flycatcherrr: Thank you, flycatcher! Seeing it in person is an amazing experience :)

    • netangel profile image
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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @DLeighAlexander: It's much prettier in person! Thanks for stopping by :)

    • DLeighAlexander profile image

      DLeighAlexander 4 years ago

      Beautiful! Would love to visit sometime.

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 4 years ago

      Gorgeous photographs - I can just imagine how beautiful it must be when one is there in real life!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      nice

    • profile image

      RennyCross 4 years ago

      Such a beautiful Lens. :)

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 4 years ago from USA

      It looks like a very peaceful place to visit and have a wonderful picnic by the waterfall.

    • netangel profile image
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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @tooshay4: Thanks!

    • netangel profile image
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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @SarLew: Awesome! I'm glad you were able to visit and enjoyed it! :)

    • profile image

      SarLew 4 years ago

      I'm visiting your lens again to let you know I was able to visit Rainbow Springs!! It really is SO pretty! Thank you for intorducing me to this park.

    • profile image

      tooshay4 4 years ago

      Wow. Beautiful park!!!

    • observant trave profile image

      observant trave 4 years ago

      this park is a wonder of nature, beautiful, serene & wild. thanks for crafting this lens.

    • netangel profile image
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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @captainj88: You will LOVE This park! It really does have a little bit of everything :) Thank you very much for visiting :)

    • netangel profile image
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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @artbyrodriguez: Thanks, I've seen the flowers in bloom.. It really is a great sight to see! Thanks for visiting :)

    • netangel profile image
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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @SarLew: It's even prettier in person!

    • profile image

      SarLew 4 years ago

      Gorgeous park, I'd love to visit there..

    • artbyrodriguez profile image

      Beverly Rodriguez 4 years ago from Albany New York

      Love the photos. I am a Snowbird in North Central Florida and am very close to Rainbow Springs State Park. If you can, visit the park in April when all the Azalea bushes are in bloom. It is a spectacular sight.

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 4 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      Beautiful! I live in SW FL but I have never been up that way. I love State Parks and I love Waterfalls. This is the best of everything, it seems. Thanks for sharing. I love that spider web pic :D

    • netangel profile image
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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @anonymous: Thank you very much, I hope you are able to see the park soon!

    • netangel profile image
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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @mailmetoo: Thanks!

    • netangel profile image
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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @anonymous: Thank you! You will love visiting Rainbow Springs, it's so beautiful. :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Great pics, this is now on my to-do list

    • profile image

      mailmetoo 4 years ago

      Beautiful Park and pictures!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thank you for such an enjoyable and informative lens! This is now on my list of vacation musts!

    • netangel profile image
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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @pilothennessy: Thanks, pilothennessy. Tubing down Rainbow river is a great experience, it's amazing how clear the water is!

    • netangel profile image
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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @exotickitten731: It is really beautiful, hopefully you will be able to visit one day!

    • exotickitten731 profile image

      exotickitten731 4 years ago

      I would definately love to go here someday :)

    • profile image

      pilothennessy 4 years ago

      I've been to this park a couple of times when I was in Fla. I must say, it's one of the nicest places I've been too while on vacation. We actually rented tubes and took the 4 hour trip down the river, saw a bunch of birds and fish. The water is so clear, I do wish I'd remembered to bring our camera. I guess that gives me an excuse to go again. Thanks for sharing this wonderful place with others.

    • profile image

      pilothennessy 4 years ago

      I've been to this park a couple of times when I was in Fla. I must say, it's one of the nicest places I've been too while on vacation. We actually rented tubes and took the 4 hour trip down the river, saw a bunch of birds and fish. The water is so clear, I do wish I'd remembered to bring our camera. I guess that gives me an excuse to go again. Thanks for sharing this wonderful place with others.

    • netangel profile image
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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @milli-kett: Thank you, I know you will have a GREAT time :D

    • netangel profile image
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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @Diana Wenzel: Me too, I can't wait to visit again, even though I'm less than an hour away! Thanks for the visit :)

    • milli-kett profile image

      milli-kett 4 years ago

      Stopping by again because I am looking forward to my trip to FL and Rainbow Springs!!!

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 4 years ago from Colorado

      I would love to be at Rainbow Springs this very minute. Thank you for introducing me to this lovely place.

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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @toptopbob: Florida is such an amazing state to live in, there is natural beauty everywhere!

    • profile image

      toptopbob 4 years ago

      Florida sure has some beautful sights

    • netangel profile image
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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @anonymous: Thank you. I don't think you can ever visit Rainbow Springs too many times :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Your pictures are show the real beauty of Rainbow Springs Park. I've been there a lot of times and you make me want to go again!!

    • netangel profile image
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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @VspaBotanicals: I can't wait to go back once it warms up, the water is cold enough when it's hot outside. Right now we are experiencing a cold front, I can't even imagine how cold the water is!

    • netangel profile image
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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @ratetea: There are so many beautiful places all over FL. Rainbow Springs is one of the "hidden" gems within the state. As you go inland you see more hills. One of the reasons I love FL so much is because of all of the different terrains.

    • profile image

      ratetea 4 years ago

      This place looks beautiful. I have never been to this part of Florida--only Southern Florida. I think Southern Florida gets more attention in terms of the nature attraction because of the Everglades and Biscayne National Park, and its unique (fully) tropical climate, rather than the subtropical climates farther north...but this area looks quite beautiful too. These are quite stunning waterfalls too...Southern Florida is so incredibly flat, it would be neat to see a part of the state that has a little more up-and-down topography.

    • VspaBotanicals profile image

      VspaBotanicals 4 years ago

      REally beautiful place.

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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @DeborahDian: It's one of Florida's hidden gems :)

    • DeborahDian profile image

      Deborah Carr 4 years ago from Orange County, California

      Rainbow Springs sounds like a wonderful place!

    • netangel profile image
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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @Elaine Chen: I'm happy I was able to capture the beauty :)

    • Elaine Chen profile image

      Elaine Chen 4 years ago

      I been attracted by those beautiful images here

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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @ClintCarmel: Great! You will love it, it's one of the best kept secrets here in FL. :)

    • ClintCarmel profile image

      ClintCarmel 4 years ago

      Great Lens! My father, brother, niece and nephew live down in Florida. (I'm in New York.) I am going to suggest we go see Rainbow River Springs the next time I am down there on vacation.

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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @anonymous: Thank you! It's definitely a must see :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Shared via Pinterest to my "Places I'd Like To Go" board.

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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @LouisaDembul: Thank you! It is really beautiful :)

    • LouisaDembul profile image

      LouisaDembul 4 years ago

      Rainbow Springs look like a really nice place. Love your photos!

    • netangel profile image
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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @SarLew: I hope you get the chance, it's so pretty. :)

    • profile image

      SarLew 4 years ago

      Beautiful pics. I would love to visit this park someday.

    • netangel profile image
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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @anonymous: Thank you for visiting!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thanks for the virtual tour. Loved the ride! :)

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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @SmokeybonesJr: Thank you for stopping by!

    • netangel profile image
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      Melissa 4 years ago from Florida

      @Snakesmum: Thank you :)