family friendly florida spring juniper springs ocala

Best Family Friendly Florida Springs

Are you looking for the top family friendly springs in Florida? With over 700 springs, Florida is full of amazing fresh water adventures for families. Cool, clear, bright blue water and cheap admission make for perfect days paddleboarding, kayaking, hiking, or picnicking at the park with the family.

Our family ended up exploring a few different springs while we wintered in Florida. And there are so many more for our family to still visit. We keep this well researched list of Kid Friendly Florida Springs handy for our future family vacations to Florida. And, of course, to recommend to road and travel friends we meet. Read on for the ones that made it on our family bucket list

Must See Springs to Visit in Florida with Family are:

  1. Rainbow Springs State Park, Dunnellon, FL 
  2. Rock Springs Kelly Park – Apopka, FL
  3. Juniper Springs, Ocala National Forest
  4. Scott Springs, Ocala, Florida
  5. Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River, FL
  6. Ichetucknee Springs, Fort White, Fl
  7. Gilchrist Blue Springs, High Springs, Fl

Click any Name above to jump too a specific spring or Read on ahead to take a peek at the best springs in Florida for an adventurous day with your family.

Rainbow Springs State Park

family florida vacation destination rainbow springs with kids

Rainbow Springs State Park is one of those special places in Florida for my family. Being the first Florida Spring we visited, it holds a certain charm that won’t seem to fade.

Long pathways shrouded in mossy trees take you to the entrance, where they will happily wave you through for free if you flash your America The Beautiful Pass. Once in, you will see your exploring options spread out before you.

There is a waterfront meadow of lush grass for family picnicking and warm waters that are perfectly clear for paddleboarding, kayaking, snorkeling and swimming with the kids. Even if you don’t want to participate in any water fun that day there is still lots to explore at Rainbow Springs.

family friendly florida springs rainbow springs state park with kids

Once upon a time, there was a zoo, and even a rodeo on the private grounds of Rainbow Springs. You get the fun opportunity to explore the old empty cages, and if your kids are as wild as mine, you will have a blast watching strangers turn their heads as they realize the monkeys are yours. Childhood adventures at their finest.

Unique features like bridges, and palm trees hovering over turquoise springs make for picturesque little moments where, if you’re lucky, your kids will stop testing your sanity long enough to go check out the cool scenery. And I know you mamas… sweet seconds of silence where your kids look cute And are standing still, are Always Welcome!

rainbow springs florida family vacation destination with kids

And I know you mamas… sweet seconds of silence where your kids look cute And are standing still, are Always Welcome!

Leela Moon

What a better reason than that to get out and explore one the top Family Friendly Florida springs!

family friendly florida spring rainbow springs with kids no alligators

Rock Springs Kelly Park

At Rock Springs in Kelly Park you will find a true oasis in the Florida. Locals and Tourist alike come to this gem for the 72° year-round water. The natural spring fed water flows slowly making the perfect lazy river.

Slow floating through mangroves in crystal clear water with colorful fish. turtle. and even wild river otter!

rock springs kelly park florida kayaking
Photo Credit

I have wanted to take my kids snorkeling with otter since I heard about it. The river otter in Rock Springs are known to be fun and friendly. What an exciting way to teach my homeschooled kids about interacting with wildlife and learning about them in a respectful way.

Rock Springs at Kelly Park is the Top Pick for Family Homeschool Adventures

Juniper Springs

Juniper Springs Mill

Juniper Springs is a perfect Florida spring for photographers and families alike. With a sweet water mill and crystal blue waters, this spot makes for the perfect photo op.

Set in lush scenery full of boardwalks and history, this kid friendly spring also makes a great learning location for homeschool families. As an unschooling family, we truly enjoyed taking our time walking this Florida gem, reading about the local history and walking in the footsteps of the past.

Showing our kids real world ways we can harness energy was such a cool way to learn while enjoying the beauty of Juniper Springs. By placing the mill along the edge of the basin where the water drops was a smart way to utilize the power of water.

Walking the boardwalk you can follow the river down to a year-round favorite canoe and kayak launch site. 7 miles of clear water in Floridas perfect tropical setting, makes it easy to see why this spot makes the list of Top Canoe Runs in America.

And since this picturesque park stays mostly quiet and beautiful year round, Juniper Springs is the Top Florida Spring for Photographers.

Scott Springs

Right in the heart of Ocala, Scott Springs is a great spot for locals and travelers to enjoy a picnic lunch and relax in nature.

scott springs ocala family friendly florida spring park playground unschooling adventure
Scott Springs @DaydreamLivingCo

A small recreational area in Ocala Florida, Scott springs has made a major comeback. Once an unknown and littered park in the middle of town, this sweet little spot got some major renovations. Now this 22 acre park is home to a bike course with ramps, a well thought out playground for young families, a paved walking path, and boardwalk to view the natural spring-fed grotto.

An incredible story surrounding the spring is that a senior boy was found by his high school teacher to have been living in the cave- for 6 years alone! Supposedly, he went on to graduate and with the respect and admiration of his teachers was sent off on a well deserved paid vacation and then attended a military academy. Talk about cleaning up!

Scott Springs is the Best Spring in Ocala Florida for a Family Date or Picnic.

Three Sisters Springs

photo of manatees in florida springs with family
Image of Florida Manatees used in support of NOAA whos images show the work of scientists, officers, engineers and other personnel within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration agency.

Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River is one of the only Florida springs where you can see manatees year round.

While it used to only get up to a 100 manatee a year, due to strict conservation laws, Three Sisters Springs now sees 1000s of manatees flow through her waters each year. Yay for humankind and planet earth!

If you have never seen a Manatee in person then is one you have to visit. Manatee are big, dopey and will have you aweing and laughing with as much glee as your children. And beyond being ridiculously cute, they are very sweet and curious. The perfect large animal to snorkel with for the first time.

Ichetucknee Springs State Park

Ichetucknee springs state park is a summer favorite when it comes to family-friendly florida springs. This crystalline river fills up quick on a hot summer day. With a white sandy bottom, clean waters surrounded by knotty cypress trees and wildlife abound, Ichetucknee Springs deserves a spot on any Family Florida Must Visit List!

ichetucknee springs state park kayak paddleboard tube rental
Photo by Amy Humphries

At Ichetucknee springs there is no camping, no disposables allowed, and two of the three river runs limit the amount of daily visitors allowed. Though conservation acts seem strict, and limit quite a few things at this park; it ensures the more sensitive areas can thrive and the park remains beautiful for everyone to enjoy.

The 3 different River Runs for Tubing at Ichetucknee Springs are

  • The Northern Launch is a 3.5 mile river run that takes about 3-4 hours. There is a 750 person daily limit for this section and it maxes out nearly every day in the summer months. Arriving early by 8 a.m. when the park opens is best to ensure you make this perfect family Florida experience.
  • Midpoint run has a much larger daily person capacity of 2,250. This tube run only takes about an 1.5hrs and is best for younger children with short attention spans ( this counts for husbands too ). While this one will max out also on the hottest weekends you still have one more option for a fun filled day at Ichetucknee.
  • Dampiers Landing take-off point is a short ride you can do over and over again. Jump in the water and float for a little less than an hour and ride the shuttle back. If you somehow have shoes, you can also walk a path back in about 20-30 minutes.

GilChrist Blue Springs Park

This Florida spring looks like a blast! With a large deck for jumping into bright blue crystal clear waters and a shallow swimming area for little kids, Gilchrist Blue Springs would make for an awesome family adventure day!

Besides tubing and swimming, there is also a meandering pathway that takes you along the edge of many different uniquely beautiful springs. Slow walks with family under the shade of towering trees, where you can cool off in the welcoming turquoise springs. Sounds like our next Florida Style Paradise to visit.

Some NOT SO Family Friendly Florida Springs we decided Not to visit with the Kids are

Devils Den – While this picturesque underground cavern is breathtaking, you need a divers certification to snorkel and general swimming is not allowed. Children only need to be 6 years old, though no floatation devices are allowed. And besides being excellent swimmers, they should be comfortable diving.

Ginnie Springs – This private campground looks gorgeous and gets rave reviews. So why did we decide to skip it entirely? Ginnie Springs is the Only Florida Spring that allows alcohol. That officially makes this college destination number one. We decided there were far better springs to take our young family.

Have you been or are planning to go to any Family Friendly Florida Springs? Do you have a favorite we missed? Let me know!

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