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The Natural Springs of Marion County

Marion County has more than 600 lakes, rivers, and springs, including those in Rainbow SpringsSilver SpringsJuniper SpringsSilver Glen Springs, and Paradise Springs. Each one features special activities that are ideal for nature lovers of all ages.

The closest Springs to the farm is Silver Springs- only 5 minutes away!

Description from VisitFlorida.com:

Clearly beautiful! One of Florida's first tourist attractions, Silver Springs is where Florida's ancient and modern history meet. As one of the largest Artesian springs ever discovered, visitors have long been captivated by the springs' natural beauty and vibrant clarity.

As Florida's oldest attraction, the world famous Glass Bottom Boats showcase the crystal-clear springs and underwater life that naturally inhabit Silver Springs. See below the surface of the water and enjoy the river's wildlife, vegetation and historical and cultural artifacts. Boat tours run every 30 minutes beginning at 10 am.

Relax and explore the real Florida paddling in Silver Springs State Park. Kayak, stand-up paddleboard and canoe rentals are available, including new clear bottom kayaks. Spend a couple of hours paddling along the tree-shaded Fort King Waterway and discovering the springs on the Silver River. Or journey five miles from Silver Springs to Ray Wayside Park with return transportation provided. Rentals are available at the in-park launch at the SR 40 entrance.

Unique options at the other Springs in the county:

1. FLOAT ON A TUBE FROM RAINBOW SPRINGS

Throughout the summer, people come early in the morning for a two-hour float along the Rainbow Springs. Even though tubing is not allowed at the headsprings of the state park, the crystal waters are so popular that the park often reaches maximum capacity by mid-morning on weekends and holidays. Tubes — and shuttles back — can be rented from the Marion County Parks Department, called The K.P. Hole. Rainbow Springs is the fourth largest in the state and is popular for snorkeling, swimming, and picnicking too.

 

2. SCUBA DIVE IN PARADISE SPRINGS

Featuring cavern walls covered with prehistoric fossils, Paradise Springs is an amazing scuba dive spot. In clear waters that hover around 72 degrees, divers can discover an underground stream as well as fossilized sand dollars, sea biscuits, and other marine life remains. The cavern is interesting for both newly certified open divers and experienced cave divers alike. Learn more about diving here.

 

3. RIDE A GLASS-BOTTOM BOAT IN SILVER SPRINGS

Want to explore underwater without getting wet? Take a tour of Silver Springs on the park’s famous glass-bottom boat. The clear spring water allows for a majestic view of marine life in this national natural landmark. With one restaurant in the park and plenty of lodging nearby, Silver Springs is also a popular wedding destination.

 

4. Canoe near Juniper Springs

Named one of the top 25 canoe runs in America by Reserve America, Juniper Run is just one of the highlights of Juniper Springs. Rent a canoe from the recreation area after a jump in the springs or camping in the private, lush grounds, which feature trails constructed in the mid-1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The historic Juniper Springs Millhouse is also noteworthy, with its functional and charming wooden waterwheel.

5. SEARCH FOR FOSSILS IN SILVER GLEN SPRINGS

For thousands of years, Native Americans created piles of oyster shells at the site of Silver Glen Springs. Today, visitors can be amateur archaeologists and look for stone tools or historic shells near the natural spring, which is also a popular swimming area. Be sure to take photos of the trees that once grew over shell deposits but today seem to start growing in mid-air.

Search for fossils in Silver Glen Springs

For more information about natural springs and recreation areas, please visit these helpful resources: