Visit Rainbow Springs State Park in Dunnellon, Florida
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Always Choose a Great Sunscreen to Shield Against the Sun's Powerful Rays
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 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
Bring Your Favorite Towel
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.
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.
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.
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
Would you Like to Visit?
Small Rainbow Springs Waterfall
Don't Forget Your Camera
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
Watch out for these Guys
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
Did you enjoy this virtual tour?
© 2013 Melissa