Florida’s Hidden Swimming Holes

There are only a few places left that both thrill seekers and peace lovers can enjoy. Florida’s many natural springs provide the type of atmosphere that can satisfy almost anyone.

Florida springs are the result of an extremely high head-pressure of the water confined within the aquifer. This pressure forces the water through the cracks of the impermeable materials above it. This produces a fairly constant amount of water on a daily basis.

Each of the springs is separated into different magnitudes measured by flow rates. Florida has 27 first magnitude, which are the biggest type of springs, and they produce a combined 60 billion gallons of water per day.

The springs allow for all types of people to gather and enjoy their time in their own ways. Many people go to the springs seeking serenity, and the gentle babble of the ever-flowing water provides just that. There are also people who go just to let loose. The springs have a constant temperature of 72 degrees year-round, making the springs invigorating for most of the year.

“I went [and] it was very refreshing and clean,” Ron Messana, a St. Petersburg College student, said. “That is the best way to describe it.”

There are a number of springs located throughout the state, many of which are located in Central Florida. With a driving time of just over an hour, Ocala seems to be the city of choice for most spring visitors. With a number of springs located just east of Ocala, visitors can get into each park for a measly $3 to $4 per person. Considering the cost of gas, that is a day trip that costs less than $20 for a couple and right around $10 for anyone flying solo.

The springs pump out millions of gallons of crystal clear water each day. The sinks surrounding the actual springs gather the water much like today’s recreational pools. They are the perfect examples of Florida’s untouched nature.

“You can see all the way to the bottom. I snorkeled all around and could see everything from fish to scuba divers,” Messana said.

Camping is also allowed in most of Ocala’s spring parks, and the cost depends upon the park in which you are camping and the type of camping.

Canoeing and other activities are also offered at the various spring parks.

“It was not crowded at all. I would recommend it to anyone, and I liked that I could take my dog with me canoeing,” Messana said of the Ocala park. “The springs are some of Florida’s many hidden treasures.”

The crystalline waters of the Florida springs are relaxing and at the same time invigorating. The calming waters have even been thought to possess healing powers such as Alexander Springs, located in the heart of Ocala National Forest. It is known for the caves and rocky ledges that can be seen by swimmers. Each spring has a unique gift provided to those who dare to explore.

Volusia County’s DeLeon Springs have a unique combination of soda and sulfur in the water that provides a delightfully pleasant sensation, which many believe to be the water’s healing powers in action. It is even believed that Ponce de Leon himself sought solace in these waters. De Leon Springs not only has historical features but also swimming activities and fishing.

Most springs are open year-round, and the water will have a promising temperature of 72 degrees.

Some information for this story was found in The Springs of Florida by Doug Stamm