Florida may be well-known for its amusement parks and some of the best beaches in the United States, but one of the most exciting and memorable things to do in the Sunshine State is to explore its natural springs and go on river tubing in Florida!
River tubing in Florida is a popular activity among locals, and in my opinion, it’s one of the best things you can do while in Florida. As a local with extensive experience in tubing in Florida, I have the insider knowledge you need to make the most of your trip. Whether you prefer the crystal-clear springs of North Florida or the lazy, meandering rivers of the Central and South, Florida has something for everyone.
Just imagine floating down a lazy river on your tube, basking in the blue skies, sunshine, and refreshing 72-degree water that remains consistent year-round, all while admiring the natural beauty around you. This is the essence of river tubing in Florida! The more I explore the natural beauty around my home state, the more I enjoy tubing in Florida. And I am constantly on a quest to discover the best hidden gems in Florida to explore!
Now I’m here to guide you through the best places to go tubing in Florida and provide you with very helpful insider tips to ensure a fun and safe experience. So, pack your sunscreen, and let’s dive into the best tubing spots that Florida has to offer!
- River Tubing in Florida You Don't Want to Miss
- Essential Packing to Go River Tubing in Florida
- River Tubing in Florida Conclusion
River Tubing in Florida You Don’t Want to Miss
1. Rainbow Springs State Park Tubing
I will start this list of the amazing places to go river tubing in Florida, with my number one personal top pick place. Rainbow Springs State Park is a true gem for those seeking a unique tubing experience in Florida. The park boasts a 6-mile-long river that meanders through lush vegetation, offering a refreshing escape from the state’s relentless heat. Whether you’re a solo adventurer or with a group of friends, tubing in Rainbow Springs is an activity not to be missed.
While summer is the peak season for tubing, Rainbow Springs State Park is open year-round. As you float down the river, you’ll feel yourself unwinding as you take in the beautiful natural scenery. The crystal-clear waters and gentle current create a relaxing atmosphere that is perfect for unwinding and soaking up some sun.
One of the best things about tubing at Rainbow Springs is the tranquil oasis you’ll find yourself in. It’s a world away from the hustle and bustle of city life, and you’ll feel a million miles from anywhere as you float along.
The tubing trip at Rainbow Springs State Park typically takes around 2-3 hours, depending on the current and your pace. Tube rentals are available on-site, so you don’t need to worry about bringing your own. However, be sure to pack sunscreen, a waterproof phone case, and any other essentials you may need for a day on the river.
2. Blue Springs State Park
Blue Spring State Park in Orange City is a must-visit destination for those seeking a unique tubing experience less than an hour’s drive from Orlando. The 2,600-acre park is home to the largest spring on the St. John’s River and is renowned as a designated manatee refuge.
The tubing experience at Blue Spring State Park may be relatively short, with a tube run of only about an eighth of a mile. However, the crystal-clear, 73-degree temperature waters offer a refreshing respite from Florida’s hot summers. As you float down the river, you’ll be surrounded by stunning natural beauty, and may even spot some of the park’s resident manatees swimming nearby.
The tube run at Blue Spring State Park leads directly to the park’s main swimming dock, where visitors can enjoy a refreshing swim in the cool waters. It’s the perfect way to cool off after a leisurely float down the river. If you don’t have your own tube, rentals are available on-site, making it easy to plan a spontaneous tubing adventure.
Be sure to check the park’s website for tubing rental options and any other important information before you visit. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing solo float or a fun day out with friends and family, tubing at Blue Spring State Park is an experience to be added to your bucket list in Florida.
3. Madison Blue Springs State Park
Madison Blue Spring State Park is one of the newest state parks in Florida, and this hidden gem in Florida is located between Jacksonville and Tallahassee. It boasts a stunning first magnitude spring, with an impressive 82-foot width and 25-foot depth. The spring’s limestone basin is situated on the west bank of the Withlacoochee River, making for a picturesque setting perfect for a day of tubing in Florida.
You can bring your own inflatables and tubes or rent them from local vendors within the park. The park opens on weekends from May to September, and it is a perfect location for families, offering opportunities for picnicking, paddling, and wildlife viewing. To help protect the spring and river, no food, drink, pets, tobacco, alcohol, or disposable items are allowed, and pets are welcome at the park in the picnic areas only.
Besides tubing here, you can also go scuba diving as here you can find one of the largest cave systems in the area, making it a favorite destination for divers from all around the world. But please note that it is open to certified cave and cavern diving only; no open water diving or free diving is allowed. Visit their website for more information on other activities.
4. Ginnie Springs
As a local who loves to go tubing in Florida, I have to be honest to say that Ginnie Springs is a beloved tubing spot for the people of High Springs and beyond. I highly recommend it to anyone seeking a unique tubing experience. The park offers a one-hour float down the Santa Fe River, with most tubers starting at Devil’s Spring and leisurely drifting through the serene waters. Exiting at Twin Spring, the tubing trail back to the springs takes only about 15 minutes, so you can quickly hop back in and float again.
Ginnie Springs is the perfect destination for those looking to spend a day or more in the natural beauty of North Florida. The park has free air stations available in case your float needs a refill, and you can also rent tubes on-site. The crystal-clear waters are ideal for a refreshing dip on a hot summer day, and the surrounding natural beauty is a sight to behold.
In addition to tubing, Ginnie Springs offers a variety of other activities, such as camping, hiking, and snorkeling. Whether you’re looking for a few days of camping with friends or family or just a day trip for tubing and relaxation, Ginnie Springs has something for everyone. Before you visit, be sure to check the park’s website for important information, such as park hours, admission fees, and any special events or activities.
5. Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park
Now, if you are looking for an off-the-beaten-path place to go tubing in Florida, Gilchrist Blue Springs is the place for you! The park is nestled in a serene rural area, just four miles west of High Springs, Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park, formerly known as Blue Springs, and only 10 minutes from Ginnie Springs, but here is a quieter location to go tubing.
The Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park is spread over 250 acres, the park is blessed with crystal-clear, 72-degree water that beckons visitors to take a dip. You can bring your own tube or rent one on-site and spend a relaxing afternoon floating under the shade of majestic oak trees.
This is a great place for families, as you can enjoy the open-air pavilions, perfect for a picnic or a quick snack, as well as the park’s concession stand, serving up tasty treats and refreshing drinks. Also, the park allows for RV and primitive camping. I recommend you check their website for further information before your visit.
6. Weeki Wachee Springs State Park
This is my top dear place to go tubing in Florida, and this is because of how close it is to my home in Clearwater, and the breathtaking scenery! Nestled just 30 minutes from Ocala, Rainbow Springs State Park is a historic and stunning natural oasis. The park is divided into three parts: the main “headsprings” entrance, the tubing entrance, and the campground. With a history that dates back almost 10,000 years, Rainbow Springs has been a beloved escape from Florida’s heat since the 1800s.
The highlight of the park is its 6-mile-long river, which winds through lush vegetation and provides the perfect escape for tubing enthusiasts. The nature-made course offers a leisurely pace and breathtaking scenery, making it one of the top hidden gems in Florida. The best time to go tubing is during summer, but the park is open year-round.
The tubing trip takes around 2-3 hours, and tubes are available to rent on-site. As you float down the crystal-clear waters, you can expect a relaxing and refreshing experience that is sure to soothe your soul, and depending on the time of the year, it is easy to see families of manatees just peacefully swimming along with you.
Also, Weeki Wachee river is one of the best places to go kayaking in Florida.
And if you need a break from the river, you can check out the park’s botanical gardens, which feature over 20 acres of native plants and wildlife, and also, you can visit the enchanted live mermaids. Before you visit, be sure to check the park’s website for important information, such as park hours, admission fees, and any special events or activities.
7. Ichetucknee Springs State Park
Now if you are seeking the ultimate tubing experience in Florida, Ichetucknee Springs State Park is a must-visit destination. Boasting a six-mile stretch of pristine, spring-fed waters surrounded by lush greenery, this park is widely regarded as the crown jewel of Florida tubing. The crystal-clear waters and peaceful scenery make for a truly relaxing experience, allowing visitors to fully unwind and soak up the natural beauty of the area.
Expect to be surrounded by breathtaking natural scenery and an abundance of wildlife, including white-tailed deer and great blue herons. The park is incredibly popular, so it’s advisable to arrive early to ensure a spot. Picnic tables are also available for families with children, making it a perfect spot for a day of fun and relaxation.
The tubing trip takes around 3-4 hours, and tubes are available for rent on-site. Keep in mind that the park has a limit on the number of 3,000 tubers allowed each day, so make sure to check their website for information on reservations and availability. With its tranquil waters and stunning surroundings, Ichetucknee Springs is an ideal destination for nature lovers and tubing enthusiasts alike.
8. Kelly Park, Rock Springs
Located just a short 30-mile drive from Orlando, Kelly Park is a hidden gem in the heart of Florida. This 325-acre park boasts one of the most beautiful springs in the state, Rock Springs. The spring is perfect for tubing with its average flow of 26,000 gallons per minute, providing a refreshing and relaxing float down its nine-mile course to the Wekiva River.
I suggest bringing your own tube or pool noodles, but tubes are available for rent outside the park, but they aren’t available from inside Kelly Park. If you are looking for a more active adventure, Kings Landing offers kayak and canoe rentals, allowing visitors to paddle down the nine miles of the Wekiva River. Although the park encompasses a vast area of 7 miles of hiking trails, the tubing experience is not as extensive as other Florida locations.
The spring run, which is only 3/4 of a mile long, is perfect for multiple runs, which means you can have several tubing sessions. With an average time of 20-30 minutes to complete, it’s a great option for those who prefer shorter tubing experiences and don’t want to spend hours on a tube.
This stunning park is surrounded by serene and beautiful nature, making it an ideal destination for a day of outdoor fun and relaxation. Keep an eye out for the local wildlife, including deer and great blue herons. Kelly Park truly has something for everyone, from families with kids to adventure seekers.
9. Blackwater River State Park
Now if you are looking for a very unique to-go tubing in Florida, Blackwater River State Park is a must-visit destination. But despite the name, the Blackwater River is normally a transparent golden brown when seen against the white sandbars. Situated in the Panhandle region, less than an hour’s drive from Pensacola, this state park offers a picturesque setting for a tubing adventure.
The park is home to one of the nation’s purest sand-bottom rivers, the Blackwater River, which spans over 600 acres of untouched nature. The river features white sandbars where you can take a quick dip or stretch your legs while enjoying the scenery. You will notice that the water is different than the other freshwater rivers in Florida. Water seeping from this forest is as pure as it comes, merely tinted with tannins from leaves and roots of shoreline vegetation.
The tubing route at Blackwater River covers a four-mile stretch of water, and visitors usually spend around 3-5 hours exploring the beautiful natural landscapes. This is a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the tranquility of the river and enjoy a leisurely day of tubing. The park also provides picnic areas, restrooms, and outdoor showers for visitors’ convenience, you can check their official website for more information.
10. Alexander Springs
Last but not least on this incredible list of best places to go tubing in Florida, is Alexander Springs. Located in the heart of Ocala National Forest, Alexander Springs is one of the most scenic spots for tubing in Florida. The crystal-clear waters of the spring are ideal for tubing, which makes for an unforgettable experience.
The tubing run stretches for about a quarter of a mile and takes roughly 30 minutes to complete, making it perfect for families with children or anyone who wants a short, leisurely tubing adventure. The spring’s gentle flow, along with its stunning surroundings, will have you in awe throughout your entire tubing experience. You can bring your own tubing, or you can rent tubes, snorkels, and other equipment needed for a fun day in the water.
Aside from tubing, you can also enjoy swimming, fishing, and hiking in the surrounding forest. The park offers great amenities, with picnic areas, grills, and restrooms, making it a great place for a family day visit, you can check this official website for more info. With its natural beauty and ample amenities, Alexander Springs is one of the best places to go tubing in Florida and a must-visit destination for any outdoor enthusiast.
Essential Packing to Go River Tubing in Florida
- Inflatable Tubing: This inflatable tubing is one I have and love, it is a great option for portability and it weighs only 20 lbs.
- Sunscreen: While you are out exploring, make sure to protect yourself from the sun. I recommend the Stream 2 Sea Sunscream and they are reef-safe
- Sunglasses and hat: Don’t forget to pack your pair of sunglasses, you will need them to go tubing in the Sunshine State!
- Swimsuit: This should be the first and most important item you really need, so pack that travel bag!
- Beach Towel: This travel towel is a must to be used at the beach, on a picnic, or even as a blanket.
- Dry Bag: This dry bag is a must on your packing list if you are planning to go tubing and keep your belongings safe and dry.
- Reusable water bottle: Never travel anywhere without a reusable water bottle. Remain hydrated without wasting single-use plastic bottles!
- Bring your Camera: The sites you will be doing tubing in Florida are stunning, so don’t forget your waterproof camera!
River Tubing in Florida Conclusion
In conclusion, river tubing in Florida offers a unique and exciting way to explore the state’s natural beauty. With a variety of options to choose from, including the crystal-clear waters of Ichetucknee Springs or the lush scenery of Rainbow River, there is a tubing adventure suitable for everyone.
Whether you’re seeking a relaxing float down the river or a thrilling ride through rapids, tubing in Florida is an experience not to be missed. So, grab your sunscreen and swimsuit and get ready for an unforgettable adventure on the fresh-water rivers of Florida!
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