22 Best Springs in Florida For Snorkeling

Florida is worldwide famous for its abundance of pristine clear water springs. These natural fountains offer fantastic outdoor activities and extraordinary wildlife viewing opportunities. You can explore underwater caverns and encounter various types of fish, turtles, alligators, eels, crabs, manatees, and even dolphins while swimming in extraordinarily clear, refreshing cool waters! If you want to discover these freshwater underwater wonders, here are the 22 best Florida Springs for snorkeling!

Ginnie Springs

Home to what many people consider to be Florida’s clearest springs, Ginnie Springs is a privately owned park situated on the south side of the Santa Fe River. With crystal-clear water that remains a consistent 72 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year, Ginnie Springs is consistently named one of the best springs in Florida for snorkeling.

Ginnie Springs FL

People from around the world also come to enjoy canoeing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and tubing. Of course, snorkelers and divers know Ginnie Springs for its amazing network of underwater caverns. It’s also very common to encounter manatees in the springs!

scuba divers underwater in Ginnie Springs - Florida

This site is so popular that it was even explored by Jacques Cousteau. In fact, Cousteau famously described these springs as offering “visibility forever.” For campers, this is the perfect spot to stay in a 200-acre wooded area with a good number of spring-adjacent tent sites.

Address: 7300 NE Ginnie Springs Road, High Springs, FL
Admission fee: Yes

Ichetucknee Springs

Ichetucknee Springs State Park is a 2,669-acre wildlife oasis that hosts spring-fed rivers and beautiful swimming holes. The park has eight crystal-clear springs in total. All of them eventually join together to form the 6-mile Ichetucknee River.

Ichetucknee Springs

While kayaking, tubing, and snorkeling are the most common activities at Ichetucknee, diving is permitted exclusively at one spring called Blue Hole. This stunning spring offers an incredible diving experience that allows divers to explore a cave system starting 40 feet below the water’s surface.

snorkeling in Blue Hole Spring - Florida

While exploring this complicated cave system, divers can cover nearly 600 feet of cavernous passageways. Be warned that some areas get extremely tight! In fact, anyone attempting to dive at Blue Hole must possess a cave scuba certificate.

Address: 8294 SW Elim Church Rd, Fort White, FL 32038
Admission fee: Yes

Fanning Springs

With its mesmerizing blue-green springs outlined with ancient oaks that seem to crouch protectively over the waters, Fanning Spring State Park is undoubtedly one of the prettiest natural springs in Florida and you can feel yourself here like being in the setting of a fantasy movie! The spring’s 72-degree water is inhabited by magical and curious turtles, flounder, and even visited by manatees in the colder months.

This is one of the most popular Florida Springs for snorkeling because the maximum depth is only 21 ft. The clarity and pleasant water temperatures make this spring excellent for completing diving certifications so if you want to take your underwater adventures to the next level and become a certified scuba diver, Fanning Springs is the place to do it!

Address: 18020 Northwest, US-19, Fanning Springs, FL
Admission fee: Yes

Royal Springs

Don’t let the idyllic scene of locals gliding by on rope swings lull you into complacency at this popular snorkeling attraction. Located inside a 5-acre park, this steep-sided spring in Suwannee County is famed for its nail-biting 42-foot drop.

For those who are eager to take the plunge, there’s a high diving platform built into the steep bank of the spring. There are several stairs scattered throughout the spring to help visitors approach the water’s edge. There’s even a concrete boat ramp.

Scuba diving and freediving are both popular at Royal Springs. However, divers should be aware that the turquoise surface of the water conceals the fact that visibility becomes greatly compromised when reaching deeper depths within the spring. Visibility in parts of the spring can drop without warning when bottom sediment is disturbed. At times, dark water from the Suwannee River muddies the spring to bring visibility down to nearly zero so make sure to ask about the conditions before coming diving or snorkeling in these Florida Springs.

Address: Royal Spring Rd, O’Brien, FL 32071
Admission fee: No

Troy Springs

Troy Spring State Park is tucked away on the still, rural banks of the Suwannee River. There are many reasons why this is considered one of the best springs for snorkeling in Florida.

The first is that Troy Springs is a 70-foot drop that makes it for snorkeling, freediving, and scuba diving besides a large pool are swimmers can enjoy. Moreover, like great ocean dive sites around the world, Troy Springs features its own shipwreck! Yes, spring visitors should be on the lookout for the remains of a Civil War-era steamboat that was dumped back in 1863.

Address: Royal Spring Rd, O’Brien, FL 32071
Admission fee: Yes

Devil’s Den

Welcome to Florida’s famed underground river! Devil’s Den Spring is a rarity on so many different levels and is the best spring in Florida for snorkeling if you want to witness a geological wonder! This site is the result of a subterranean river collapsing to expose the water to the open surface.

people at Devil's Den Spring

In addition to being a popular tourist attraction, Devil’s Den is also a scuba training facility. In fact, getting in the water will require either snorkel or scuba gear because general swimming is prohibited in the spring.

The water at this prehistoric spring remains around 72 degrees Fahrenheit all year long offering an excellent way to cool off when the summer heat hits the state! Jump into the cool depths of Devil’s Den Spring and say hi to the resident fish and turtles!

Address: 5390 NE 180th Ave, Williston, FL
Admission fee: Yes

Three Sisters Springs Crystal River

Located on the Crystal River, Three Sisters Springs is not only one of the most beautiful springs in Florida but also is a world-famous spot to go snorkeling with manatees as it is a natural refuge for these magnificent creatures from November through March. At times, close to 600 of them have been counted in the spring at once!

Crystal River Wildlife Refuge

With a maximum depth of 14 feet, Three Sisters Springs can provide a low-stress spot for snorkeling and diving. In fact, visitors will be in waist-deep water in portions of the spring, so this is one of the best places to try snorkeling if you are a beginner or a weaker swimmer. While snorkeling is permitted all year long, scuba diving is limited from April 1 to Nov. 14.

aerial photo of Three Sisters Springs

Address: 601 Three Sisters Springs Trail, Crystal River, FL
Admission fee: Yes

Rainbow Springs

Humans have been visiting the sapphire waters of Rainbow Springs for more than 10,000 years. Today, it’s considered one of the top Florida snorkeling spots. After walking through a forest covered in mossy canopies, cooling off in refreshing spring water feels like heaven!

people are swimming snorkeling and paddle boarding at Rainbow Springs

As you splash, silky strands of seagrass that are appropriately named mermaid hair will seem to dance along with the colorful spectrums of light that penetrate the surface of the clear water. The clarity and cleanliness of the water here is owed to the fact that nearly 600 million gallons of spring-fed water pour into the river daily.

Depths between 10 to 18 feet and 200 feet of visibility can create unparalleled experiences when snorkeling here! Although you can snorkel in the buoyed area only which seems to be a little at first sight, not that you can go snorkeling outside of the headsprings too so bring your own canoe or kayak or rent one to get the best experience!

Address: 19158 SW 81st Pl Rd, Dunnellon
Admission fee: Yes

Madison Blue Spring State

Madison Blue Spring State Park is situated on the west bank of the Withlacoochee River in the Florida Panhandle. Its claim to fame is that it houses one of Florida’s 33 first-magnitude springs.

This distinction means that a spring discharges at least 100 cubic feet (2,800 liters) of water every second! With this in mind, it should come as no surprise that Madison Blue Spring has been voted the country’s top swimming hole by USA Today.

Don’t let the fact that the water temperature is around 72 degrees all year long hold you back from jumping into the water since you can encounter many interesting aquatic species, such as sunfish, catfish, and freshwater turtles while snorkeling here. For certified cave divers, the underwater caverns that sit 30 feet below the pool’s surface beckon!

Address: 8300 FL-6, Lee, FL
Admission fee: Yes

Peacock Springs

Recently renamed Wes Skiles Peacock Springs in honor of Wes Skiles, an American explorer, and diver, Peacock Springs is one of divers’ favorites. This site offers not only a single spring but consists of two major springs, a spring run, and six sinkholes to explore!

What makes this spot remarkable is that it lures cave divers from around the world to conquer its 33,000 feet of surveyed underwater passages. In fact, this gem has one of the longest known underwater cave systems in the world.

Proof of scuba certification is needed to enter the caverns. However, the cave exits/entrances you can see while snorkeling too so don’t forget to bring your snorkel and mask even if you are not a scuba diver.

Address: 18532 180th Street, Live Oak, FL
Admission fee: Yes

Blue Spring State Park

With a cave going down to 117 feet, this crystal-clear spring is a highly rated freshwater diving spot on the St John’s River. The run area is about 10ft deep and with its easy entry and high visibility, it is a popular family diving and snorkeling site.

Blue Spring is also one of the top wintering spots for manatees. By 2023, more than 729 “sea cows” were calling this spot home in the colder months. (Note that when there are too many manatees in the spring, usually in December and January, swimming is not allowed.)

Although the manatees (and gators) are the biggest attraction at Blue Spring, there are also tons of fish and turtles to observe! Those who don’t want to swim can launch a canoe or kayak or join a river boat cruise.

Address: 2100 W. French Ave, Orange City, FL
Admission fee: Yes

Juniper Springs

Situated inside Ocala National Forest just one hour drive from Orlando, Juniper Springs is a natural spring that forms the headwaters of Florida’s Juniper Creek. With its shallow, calm waters, it is a popular spot for family swims.

While snorkeling is good here, maximum depths of 8 feet make scuba diving unnecessary. Just make sure you’re comfortable with having an eel glide by your body to crash the family pool party as American eels inhabit these waters!

Address: 26701 East Highway 40, Silver Springs, FL
Admission fee: Yes

Silver Glen Springs

One of Florida’s prized first-magnitude springs, this spring nestled within Ocala National Forest is a popular spot for all types of swimmer thanks to its varying depths; children can safely play in the shallow areas while there are parts with 25ft depth where you can even do some freediving.

Silver Glen Springs - Florida

While you’re free to do snorkeling, diving is prohibited at Silver Glen Springs. Plan for pure leisure here! There is a kayak launch, places to BBQ, so you won’t get bored for sure! Come during the week when it is less crowded!

Address: 5271 FL-19, Salt Springs, FL 32134,
Admission fee: Yes

Alexander Springs

Another first-magnitude spring, Alexander Springs in Altoona is a refreshing spot for water activities throughout the year. In fact, it is the only place in Ocala National Forest where scuba diving is permitted!

Swimmers and snorkelers can take advantage of a gently sloped beach that leads into the spring basin to enjoy what many consider to be Florida’s best watering hole. Beginners can generally feel at ease while exploring the lively white-sand bottom of the basin with fish, turtles, and gators to see. You can even see the spring water coming up out of the cave!

Alexander Springs is one of the best springs for snorkeling in Florida if you are planning to stay more days; the park has all facilities including restrooms, changing rooms, picnic, and BBQ area, and spacious camp sites.

When visiting Alexander Springs, it is worth adding other nearby snorkeling spots to your itinerary too such as the Blue Heron Bridge snorkeling trail which is just a 3-hour drive from Alexander Springs!

Address: 49525 County Road 445, Altoona, FL
Admission fee: Yes

Salt Springs

A jewel of Ocala National Forest, Salt Springs is a natural mineral spring offering clear, shallow water that’s ideal for swimming. As its name suggests, its water is slightly salty due to its higher magnesium and sodium content. The water temperature is constantly at 74°F.

Salt Springs is one of the safest Florida Springs for snorkeling with kids because it has a large shallow (6ft), walled swimming area with stairways leading down to the water making entering the water easy. Other areas that reach depths of 20ft offer prime snorkeling and freediving. You can see catfish, teeming mullets, and unique blue crabs!

Address: FL-19, Fort McCoy, FL 32134
Admission fee: Yes

Gilchrist Blue Springs

Paddling, swimming, and snorkeling are all popular activities at Ruth B. Kirby Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park located in Gilchrist County along the Santa Fe River. Gilchrist Blue, the main spring is a pristine second-magnitude spring that produces around 44 million gallons of water daily and has amazing water clarity. It’s common to spot sunfish, bluegill, channel catfish, and turtles in the water beside you while submerged for snorkeling.

The park also has smaller springs called Little Blue Spring, Johnson Spring, Kiefer Spring, and Naked Spring that offer scenic areas. There are also showers, restrooms, picnic areas, and grill pits, moreover, kayak and canoe rentals make this place a wonderful destination for family outings!

Address: 7450 NE 60th Street, High Springs, FL
Admission fee: Yes

Weeki Wachee Springs

While full of natural beauty, Weeki Wachee Springs is a world-famous tourist attraction that has become the home of underwater performances from live “mermaids.” Performers here wear glamorous tails to dance underwater because the spring’s aquarium-like setup and clear waters create the perfect environment for shows.

kayaking in Weeki Wachee Springs

No tail is needed to enjoy these waters on your own! This snorkeler’s paradise offers a bottom of white sand that enhances the crystalline water’s natural clarity. While there are often many kayakers on the water, the river is wide enough for snorkelers to explore without issues. However, fast currents make Weeki Wachee snorkeling ideal for stronger swimmers only!

Address: 6131 Commercial Way, Spring Hill, FL
Admission fee: Yes

7 Sisters Springs

If you are looking for the best Florida springs for snorkeling in terms of wildlife, make sure to visit 7 Sisters Spring! A part of the Chassahowitzka Springs Group, 7 Sisters is found on the beautiful Chassahowitzka River. It is a popular spot for swimming, kayaking, canoeing, and snorkeling. This is one of Florida’s manatee hot zones and you can see alligators, otters, and even dolphins here!

The ultra-blue spring here is the product of erosion through a limestone cave. The underwater cave system has some tunnels you can swim through too. Even if you are not brave enough to try such adventures, exploring the brilliant blue water and fantastic aquatic life should be fun enough on its own without the need to count any extra thrills!

Address: 2 Chassahowitzka River, Homosassa, FL
Admission fee: Yes

Cypress Spring

This natural cool spring can only be accessed by kayak or canoe via Holmes Springs. Most people launch at Cotton Landing before completing a short float down to the spring’s turnoff point.

Cypress Spring is surrounded by pine forests on all sides and reaches depths of 30 feet. Cypress trees can also be seen growing from the water. Grab hold of the rope swing for a true grand entrance into the spring if you want to feel like a kid again!

Address: 3081 Culpepper Lane, Vernon, FL (Culpepper Landing)
Admission fee: No

Wakulla Springs

Located 14 miles out of Tallahassee, Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park displays a classic Florida topography rimmed by ancient cypress trees that lean down to form canopies over the water. This is one of the world’s largest and deepest freshwater springs.

alligator in Wakulla Springs

At 70 degrees Fahrenheit, the water here is a little brisk compared to other Florida springs. On hot days, it feels invigorating for snorkelers to observe dozens of fish species in the sapphire waters. Moreover, you can also see manatees and alligators here.

Snorkeling is allowed in a designated swimming area within the park. An interesting fact is that Wakulla Springs has a Hollywood connection. “Tarzan’s Secret Treasure” and “Creature from the Black Lagoon” were both filmed here! There’s also a Spanish-style lodge dating back to the 1930s in the park.

Address: 465 Wakulla Park Drive, Wakulla Springs, FL
Admission fee: Yes

Morrison Springs

Morrison Springs County Park is a gorgeous 161-acre park that is home to a 250-foot natural spring pool overlooking boardwalks. Morrison also has three cavities that are fed cool water from an underground aquifer. The site’s deepest cavity has a depth of 300 feet!

This popular freshwater site is ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and diving. A wide variety of fresh water fish like bluegill and bass can be spotted here along with turtles and water snakes. The park also has rope swings and jumping docks for more fun. Recently, a beautiful new diving dock was installed to increase comfort for scuba diving.

Address: 874 Morrison Springs Road, Ponce De Leon, FL
Admission fee: No

Ponce de Leon Springs State Park

Named after the explorer who led the first Spanish expedition to Florida in the 1550s, Ponce de Leon Springs State Park has been rumored to be the home of the Fountain of Youth! Of course, you’ll have nothing but youthful fun as you float in 68-degree water that pours in from two converging underground flows.

Ponce De Leon Springs can make you feel like you’re gliding along a lazy river if you bring a tube. Snorkeling is also very easy and relaxed. In fact, this is considered one of the best Florida springs for families and beginner snorkelers thanks to its shallowness and calm, current-free waters.

Address: 2860 Ponce De Leon Springs Road, Ponce De Leon, FL
Admission fee: Yes

Map of the Best Snorkeling Springs of Florida


Is it safe to swim in Florida Springs?

Florida springs that are open to the public are generally considered safe for swimming. There is always a potential for alligators in any body of fresh water in Florida. If there’s been a gator sighting in an area, officials will generally pause swimming in the spring while wildlife experts assess the situation. It’s necessary to follow all safe swimming practices that you’d use when swimming in any environment when exploring springs. Follow all posted guidelines while visiting a spring.

Can you swim in any Florida Springs?

Although there are hundreds of springs in the State of Florida, not all are open for swimming or any water activity due to great depths or sensitive underwater flora and fauna. Springs that are considered safe are usually open to the public and some of them are turned into well-maintained state parks where you can find designated swimming/snorkeling pools too.

Are Florida Springs hot or cold?

This can be a matter of opinion! Most of Florida’s clear water springs maintain year-round temperatures ranging from 68 degrees Fahrenheit to 74 degrees Fahrenheit. What might sound like cold water can feel extremely refreshing on a hot day.

Is it free to snorkel in Florida Springs?

Most state parks in Florida charge daily entrance fees totaling a few dollars. You may pay more if you decide to camp. Snorkeling is generally free unless you’re signing up for a guided snorkeling excursion with a local company. However, there are some springs that are totally free to visit.

Are Florida Springs salt or fresh water?

Florida springs are freshwater springs. The water in these springs is aquifer water. Spring-fed water is not seawater. However, some springs are called salt springs because of their natural mineral content.

What can you see when snorkeling in Florida Springs?

While snorkeling in any of Florida’s natural springs, you’re likely to encounter sea grass, turtles, catfish, and sunfish. In some springs, manatees are abundant during the winter months. In some springs, it’s also possible to spot an alligator!

What is the typical water temperature in Florida’s springs?

Nearly all of Florida’s Springs are between 68 degrees Fahrenheit and 74 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures remain consistent all year long.

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Anett Szaszi

Anett is a certified scuba diver, freediver and an expert in snorkeling with more than 10 years experience. She fell in love with the ocean when she put her head underwater in the Red Sea in 2008. Since then , she is traveling all over the world to discover our waters. Wherever she goes, she takes her mask, fins and underwater camera with her. Visiting mega-cities is not her style but getting lost in tiny coastal villages, capturing the beauty of the sea while snorkeling. She is interested in sustainable traveling and marine conservation. She is hoping to inspire people to protect our oceans by sharing her underwater stories. Find her photos on @anett.szaszi Instagram too!