Mesmerized, I pause on a hillside to admire the breathtaking oasis that surrounds the spring-fed pool at Rainbow Springs State Park. It’s one of the most eye-catching settings of any of the springs.
Once privately owned, the 1,400-acre park features gardens and tumbling waterfalls. A 500-million-gallon spring feeds the Rainbow River, a popular place for tubing, kayaking in clear-bottom boats, snorkeling, and guided nature trips. “For the locals, this is our beach,” says park ranger Nicky Aiken.
Tip: Try to visit on a weekday. This park―like most of the springs―gets its biggest crowds on weekends. www.floridastateparks.org/rainbowsprings or (352) 465-8555.