25 stunning Florida springs and waterfalls within driving distance of Orlando (2023)

Arts + Culture

It's not hard to see why early Spanish explorers thought Florida would be the home of the mythical Fountain of Youth – our springs are unlike anything else in the world. Luckily, many of these unique watering holes are just a gas tank away from Orlando and offer beautiful scenicviews and crystal clear blue waters.

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25 stunning Florida springs and waterfalls within driving distance of Orlando (1)

Suwannee Springs

3243 91st Dr, Live Oak, FL 32060; 2 hours, 30 minutes from Orlando
This historic park is composed of six springs clustered in a sandy hundred-foot stretch at the base of the Suwannee River. The main spring is surrounded by the walls of a late 1800s bath house made out of limestone rock. Unfortunately sand is building up in the pool and tree roots are growing into the walls, so this hundred-year-old testament to Florida’s rich past could soon disappear; Enjoy it while it lasts.

Photo via thndrbuni/Instagram

25 stunning Florida springs and waterfalls within driving distance of Orlando (2)

Fanning Springs

18020 US-19, Fanning Springs, FL 32693; 2 hours, 11 minutesfrom Orlando
In the 1950s, Fanning Springs used to have a roller rink. Now, in an effort to maintain the park’s natural beauty, guests forgo the cheesy disco lights in favor of clear blue springs, a sandy volleyball court and hikes through a hardwood forest. Or, if you want to relax while you take in the natural splendor, a shady gazebo on the Suwannee river offers a comfortable place to watch the sturgeon jumping out of the water in the warmer months.

Photo via k_shred88/Instagram

25 stunning Florida springs and waterfalls within driving distance of Orlando (3)

Silver Glen Springs

5271 FL-19, Salt Springs, FL 32143; 1 hour, 15 minutes from Orlando
Perfect for fans of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ novel The Yearling, bibliophiles will recognize the spots made famous by the Baxter family. Pick up some snorkeling gear on the ride over, and take pleasure in knowing that both canoe and kayak launching are free if you bring your own gear.

Photo via eiriichii/Instagram

25 stunning Florida springs and waterfalls within driving distance of Orlando (4)

Devil’s Den

5390 NE 180th Ave, Williston, FL 32696; 1 hour, 31 minutes from Orlando
Pull a Dracula and hide from the sunlight at this underground spring tucked inside a dry cave. Try your hand at some open water and cave diving, and brag to your friends about the stalactites — that’s the pointy things on the ceilings — and 33-million-year-old fossil beds you got to swim around. Don’t make the drive if you’re not scuba- or snorkeling-certified, however, or you won’t be allowed into the spring.

Photo via chuckbandel/Instagram

25 stunning Florida springs and waterfalls within driving distance of Orlando (5)

Three Sisters Springs

601 Three Sisters Springs Trail, Crystal River, FL 34429; 1 hour, 38 minutes from Orlando
This one is just for the manatees, folks. Swim with the cute lil sea cows or simply look at them from the spring’s boardwalk. Either way, you’ll get a clear view of them. The amount of manatees on site fluctuates depending on the time of year, but the cooler days after mid-November will get you more mammal for your buck.

Photo via U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

25 stunning Florida springs and waterfalls within driving distance of Orlando (6)

Blue Spring State Park

2100 W French Ave, Orange City, FL 32763; 50 minutes from Orlando
Claiming the title of the biggest spring found on the St. John’s River, this stop on the list is manatee heaven from the middle of November until the end of March. Any in-water activity is put to a halt during this time, but once the park fully reopens, attendees can enjoy some snorkeling, boating, fishing, tubing and, if you’re certified, scuba diving.

Photo via atravelgirl12/Instagram

25 stunning Florida springs and waterfalls within driving distance of Orlando (7)

Ginnie Springs

7300 Ginnie Springs Rd, High Springs, FL 32643; 2 hours, 5 minutes from Orlando
Along with being one of Florida’s most popular camping locations, Ginnie Springs has one of the clearest bodies of water in Florida. Snorkel, swim, canoe and kayak in seven different springs across the park or explore the hidden grottos beneath the water’s surface. Certified divers can travel through 30,000 feet of passageways in the Devil’s Springs systems, where they might catch a glimpse of a prehistoric fossil from the pleistocene era.

Photo via theonenomad/Instagram

25 stunning Florida springs and waterfalls within driving distance of Orlando (8)

Wekiwa Springs

1800 Wekiwa Cir, Apopka, FL 32712; 30 minutes from Orlando
One of the more popular springs in the area, it’s recommended that you get there early to be sure you’ll find a parking space. Maybe it’s due to the Wekiwa River being only one of two National Wild & Scenic Rivers recognized in the state or the many ways you can travel down the stream of water (canoe, kayak or paddle board), but the fact remains that this is a must for any Orlandoan.

Photo viacozzy_zy/Instagram

25 stunning Florida springs and waterfalls within driving distance of Orlando (9)

Silver Springs

1425 NE 58th Ave, Ocala, FL 34470; 1 hour, 15 minutes from Orlando
A ride on one of their glass bottom boats will provide a glimpse at one of the state’s largest artesian springs. If you’re looking to go swimming, you might want to try visiting somewhere else, but if you’re itching to get into a kayak or canoe, add this to your to-visit list.

Photo via _alex_andrine/Instagram

25 stunning Florida springs and waterfalls within driving distance of Orlando (10)

Otter Springs

6470 SW 80th Ave, Trenton, FL 32693; 2 hours, 15 minutes from Orlando
For the 21st century outdoorsman, Otter Springs offers an authentic natural experience complete with updated amenities. If stewing in algae-filled water before a two hour drive home makes you feel a little icky and gross, rinse off in one of two bathhouses with hot showers or take a dip in the screened-in pool.

Photo via nphuff27/Instagram

25 stunning Florida springs and waterfalls within driving distance of Orlando (11)

Manatee Springs State Park

11650 NW 115 St, Chiefland, FL 32626; 2 hours, 7 minutes from Orlando
Living up to its name, Manatee Springs gives guests a chance to catch of glimpse of the gentle sea-cow during early spring as the aquatic mammal seek warmer waters. During manatee season, canoeing and kayaking are forbidden, but the rest of the year, you can fish, swim, boat, snorkel and dive in the Catfish Hotel sink hole.

Photo via synful_cyn/Instagram

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