5 Places to Cool Off in North Florida

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Live in North Florida and want to find a fresh way to enjoy the state’s natural beauty, and soak in 100% humidity-the good way?  Head on over to these parks/springs/beaches and find what floats your boat-or tube-at one of these fun places great for a day trip!

Blue Springs Park

IMG_7842Location: 750 NE 60th St. High Springs, FL
Hours of Operation: 9am-6pm
Cost: Around 6-15 dollars depending on season, rentals, and car.

Why go?
A little more low-key than some of the state parks, Blue Springs is just down the street from Ginnie, a nice alternative if you don’t want to go down a river and deal with trams back, there is a diving deck into a deep spring, and a nice area to just float around in and beat the heat.

A large boardwalk going down to the river where if you dare to swim across without a canoe is a rope swing.  Also want to get some canoeing or kayaking done? This is a great place to launch if not all of your party wants to go.

Devil’s Den

12806102_10205950809437078_8847938725955434943_nLocation: 5390 NE180th Ave. Williston, Fl
Hours of Operation: 9am-5pm
Cost: Mon-Fri $15 admission, $10 scuba rental
Sat & Holidays $20 admission

Why go?
A little more expensive to visit, but definitely worth it.  Devil’s Den is a prehistoric underwater spring that stays at 72 degrees F year-round.  Snorkeling and scuba diving is allowed, although general swimming is not.  Very close to Gainesville, visiting Devil’s Den makes a great day trip on a free day off of work.

Anastasia State Park

image courtesy of stateparks.com

Location: 300 Anastasia Park Rd. Saint Augustine, FL
Hours of Operation: 8am – Sundown
Cost: $8 per car with 2-8 people
$4 per single person car

Why go?
Naturally I’m a little biased towards this state park since I grew up in Saint Augustine, but seriously if you haven’t been you need to.  Saint Augustine is one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever been too, and here at the State Park, they keep it pristine. Driving is not allowed on the beach, so the further away from the entrance you go, the less civilization.  Not only can you go to the beach, but the intercostal waterway is in the park as well for aspiring young sailors, windsurfers, paddleboarders, and the like.

Rainbow SpringsIMG_9419

Location: 19158 SW 81st Place Road Dunnelon, FL
Hours of Operation: 8am – Sundown
Cost: $2 per person at entrance & $5 per car.  Children under 6 are free.

Why go?
This is just one of those springs where you can really take in the natural beauty of Florida.  Tube down the river, swim, nature walk, this park has it all. Plus the water here is drop dead gorgeous.  Seriously, it looks like you’re swimming in a pool it’s so clear.

Wakulla Springs

photo courtesy of floridamemory.org

465 Wakulla Park Dr. Wakulla Springs, FL
Hours of Operation: 8am – Sundown
Cost: $6 per car with 2-8 people
$4 per single person car

Why go?
Near Tallahassee, this is good for those living in the panhandle who need to get away from the beach-goers, sorry Destin, but SO many tourists, and for those who don’t have all the advantages of driving anywhere from North Central Florida. This park is home to one of the deepest freshwater springs in the world, and swimming is encouraged during the heat of summer.  Glass bottom boat tours are available, as well as riverboat tours.  This is a park with a lot of flexibility for activities that you may want to do.

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