When boating during the the summer, a Florida freshwater spring offers an amazing reprieve from the heat. These are the 5 best Florida freshwater springs to visit by boat.
#1 THREE SISTERS (CRYSTAL RIVER)
Located in beautiful Crystal River, Three Sisters Spring is my favorite spring to visit for all around fun. The spring looks like a huge pool that is accessed by a narrow passage near a residential waterfront neighborhood. Surrounding the spring is a beautiful hardwood hammock. The protocol when visiting by boat is to anchor your boat outside the passageway and then swim or paddle in. Unlike some freshwater springs, the depth at Three Sisters is generally 4’-15’. As a result, it’s a perfect place for LAZY BUNZ WATER FLOATS or another kind of raft or float.
Crystal River is an activity-rich location that consists of multiple springs, inshore and offshore fishing, scalloping, waterfront restaurants and numerous lodging options. At a constant 72 degrees, Three Sisters is the perfect Florida freshwater spring to cool off during the heat of the summer. For more information on Three Sisters, click HERE.
#2 SILVER GLEN RUN (ST. JOHN’S RIVER)
Silver Glen Run is another one of my favorite springs to visit by boat. Easily accessed from the town of Astor, the boat ride through the town and into Lake George (Florida’s second largest lake) is beautiful and fun. The transition from the brackish water of the St. John’s River and the lake to the crystal-clear water of the spring run is amazing and almost surreal. In fact, Silver Glen Springs has, arguably, the clearest water of all the Florida freshwater springs.
The interior section of the run is where you anchor. Here you’ll find lots of sandy bottom and waist deep water. You can access the main spring head by simply wading or swimming to shore and paying the park entrance fee. This is also the perfect place to rent one of the many houseboats available. Like most Florida freshwater springs, Silver Glen has a year-round water temperature of 72 degrees. For more information on Silver Glen Run, click HERE.
#3 RAINBOW RIVER (DUNNELLON)
The Rainbow River is the nicest river I’ve ever seen! The river is loaded with wildlife and the water is some of the clearest in Florida. The best places to anchor are close to the spring head in the sandy areas and along the Juniper Run Creek (just upstream from KP Hole Park).
The two places to launch your boat are KP Hole (single axle only) and the City of Dunnellon public ramp. The entire river is no-wake and alcohol isn’t allowed. However, a great place to tie up and enjoy some food and beverages is Swampy’s Bar & Restaurant. For more information about The Rainbow River click HERE.
#4 FANNING SPRINGS (SUWANNEE RIVER)
The iconic Suwannee River has numerous springs along its’ banks. One of the best is Fanning Springs. Located in the town named after the spring, Fanning Springs can be accessed by a short idle off the river. The park has a floating dock for boaters. After paying the entry fee via honor box you can enjoy the park and swimming area. The spring is beautiful and refreshing. It’s the perfect place to cool off and enjoy the crystal-clear water after a day on the Suwannee. For more information on this location click HERE.
NOTE: The dock is currently closed due to COVID so check before planning your visit to make sure it has reopened.
#5 SALT SPRINGS RUN (ST. JOHN’S RIVER)
Salt Springs Run is located off Lake George and the St. John’s River. Similar to Silver Glen Run, Salt Springs Run is another beautiful Florida freshwater spring that can be accessed from the Astor area. The run at Salt Springs is much longer than Silver Glen’s and the water isn’t as clear. That being said, it’s still an amazing place to visit and a perfect place to cool off from the summer heat. For more information on this location click HERE.
For those who have been, The Weeki Wachee River is an amazing spring and people do boat there. The reason I didn’t include it as a “top five” is because the river is so crowded, narrow and shallow that it’s not ideal for boating. That being said, The Weeki Wachee River is one of the best freshwater springs in Florida and definitely worth a visit. Click HERE to learn more about it.