Where In The World: Exploring Central Florida Springs

Bridget Blake // June 28

It's heating up in Florida, which means if you’re going to be outside there must be water involved (if we’ve said it once, we’ve said it twice). This means that summer is a great time to explore some of the many springs Florida has to offer. Have a free weekend, check out Devil’s Den and these surrounding landmarks.

Let’s dive in (pun intended) to exploring Central Florida's springs.

Devil's Den

Located in Williston, Florida, Devil’s Den is a premier dive and snorkel spot. Fun fact, it was named one of the must-do dives in the U.S. (very exciting)! Good to know info is that if you plan on visiting, you will need to make reservations. What makes Devil’s Den super cool? Well, lots of stuff, actually. Quick geology lesson: Devil’s Den was formed by a karst window where the roof over a subterranean river collapsed exposing the water to the open surface. In real talk, it’s an underground spring inside a cave that has a hole in the top that you can look down. The science speaks sounds way more intelligent but you gotta know what you are getting into. There have been many extinct animal fossils found at the bottom dating to the Pleistocene Age (circa 33 million years-ish). That was so long ago we were still talking about “ages,” not “eras” 😉 The spring got its name because on cold mornings you can see steam rise from the top. This looked like smoke to settlers and spooked them, leading to the equally grim name. The water at Devil's Den is crystal clear and stays a crisp 72 degrees all year. Maybe bring a wet suit if you are a wimp like me and get chilly quickly. On the other hand, cold plunges are super in right now so just go for it! Looking for a place to stay in the area? You can stay on-site at Devil’s Den either camping, RV, or in cabins. Who doesn’t love a bit of convenience?

Cedar Lakes Woods and Gardens

To round out the weekend, you have lots of close-by fun options. Cedar Lakes Woods and Gardens is a botanical garden that neighbors Devil’s Den and is great to pop in and enjoy some extra oxygen courtesy of all the plants. The gardens were made in place of a retired lime rock quarry and transformed into a lavish garden utopia. Housing hundreds of species of plants, you’ll also find a pair of swans, some cool fish, and different types of birds. Crowd favorite attractions include the oaks that are hundreds of years old and the orchard.

Manatee Springs

From the gardens, you can pop over to Manatee Springs for some fun in the sun. If you go at the right time of year I’m sure you will spot a Manatee. Otherwise, look for the cypress trees known for their knobby knees. There is a great platform around the spring where you can get “acclimated” to the water in. Manatee springs are perfect for floating or snorkeling. With onsite camping, you can keep the vacay rolling. 

Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge

A great drive add-in is through the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge. Just North of Cedar Key (another great option), this wildlife refuge is one of the largest estuarine systems. With a location on the shore, the refuge gets varying nutrients from the tidal creeks and off-shore islands creating an amazing habitat for fun things like sturgeon deer, eagles, and turkeys. PSA for all the hunters out there – This is also a place where you can get permits. Great place for nature walks, and birding, with 100% guarantee of seeing wildlife.

Commonly Asked Questions About Central Florida's Springs:

What is the best spring in central Florida?

Central Florida is home to many beautiful springs, but Wekiwa Springs stands out. Known for its crystal-clear waters and lush surroundings, it offers a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure with opportunities for swimming, kayaking, and wildlife observation.

What is the prettiest natural spring in Florida?

Many consider Blue Spring State Park to be the prettiest natural spring in Florida. The park features stunning turquoise waters, abundant wildlife, and scenic trails, making it a favorite spot for nature lovers and photographers alike.

Which spring in Florida has the clearest water?

Ginnie Springs is renowned for having the clearest water in Florida. Located near High Springs, its exceptionally transparent waters make it a popular destination for snorkeling, diving, and underwater photography.

Where are the springs located in Florida?

Florida’s springs are primarily located in the northern and central regions of the state. Popular springs like Ichetucknee, Wakulla, and Silver Springs are spread across areas such as Alachua, Wakulla, and Marion counties, offering a variety of recreational activities.

Now that you have your next weekend planned in Central Florida's springs, get together your favorite people and hit the road!

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About the Author

Bridget Blake

Bridget Blake is a Nurse Practitioner and business consultant based out of Florida. With a life goal of a wasteLESS wilderness, she is a proponent of sustainability, natural living, and making sure her two kiddos grow up as free-range as possible. Although new to hunting, she is passionate about learning new skills and sharing them with those who also want to learn. Bridget is dedicated to becoming a wilderness expert and teaching others how to coexist with the world around them.