Rainbow Springs State Park

Quick Facts

Rainbow Springs State Park

Florida

(352) 465-8555

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Archaeological evidence indicates that people have been using this spring for nearly 10,000 years. Rainbow Springs is Florida's fourth largest spring and, from the 1930s through the 1970s, was the site of a popular, privately-owned attraction. The Rainbow River is popular for swimming, snorkeling, canoeing, and kayaking. Canoes and kayaks can be rented at both the headsprings and the campground. A picnic area at the spring includes tables, grills, and pavilions. For large gatherings, private pavilions can be reserved. Tubing is not allowed in the headsprings area of the park, but tubers can launch at nearby K.P. Hole County Park. The full-facility campground is about six miles from the day use area. The day use area is located three miles north of Dunnellon on the east side of U.S. 41.

Map of Rainbow Springs (FL)

Latitude, Longitude: 29.103524, -82.439129

READ MORE

Activities

  • Boating

    Starting at the state park and flowing into the Withlacoochee River at Dunnellon, the 5.6 mile long Rainbow River is truly an outstanding waterway. The crystal clear water flowing past moss-draped cypress trees competes for your attention with the river otters and large numbers of wading birds. Launching access to the river is somewhat limited. Many boaters launch at the popular KP Hole County Park, approximately 1-¼ miles downstream from the park. Privately owned boats launched at the headsprings must be carried from the parking area approximately 1000 feet to the canoe launch. Campers may launch their own canoes or kayaks at the state park campground. A number of special regulations apply to the Rainbow River, so be sure to review the river rules prior to any boating activities.

    Tubing the Rainbow River is a wonderful experience, but, tubing is not allowed within the headsprings area of the park. The park's tube entrance is located on SW 180th Avenue Road 1.4 miles south of the campground entrance. The trip takes about two hours to complete and is a loop system; you start and end your float from the same location. Tube rentals and a shuttle service that takes you upstream two miles are available.

  • Camping

    Rainbow Springs State Park's newly renovated campground is located on the river about a mile and a half downstream from the main headspring and day use area, a driving distance of approximately six miles. All sites have water and electric (20, 30, and 50 amp), and are equipped with sewer hook-ups. ADA accessible restrooms are available. A dump station is located between the upper and lower campgrounds. Amenities include a campground store, recreation hall, showers and restrooms, laundry, pool (We apologize for the inconvenience, but the pool is closed until further notice) and playground. Pets are welcome in the campground but are not permitted in swimming areas or buildings.

    Fishing for largemouth bass and other fresh water species is also popular from the campground. Canoes, including paddles and all safety equipment, are available for rent. The swimming area is a popular part of the campground. The campground is separate from the headsprings day use area.

  • Fishing

    Fishing is available in designated areas; please contact the park.

  • Hiking

    Rainbow Springs State Park offers leisurely strolls through shady gardens laced with azaleas, oaks and magnolias. The walkways pass by three man-made waterfalls and a native plant garden. Benches located along the paths offer the visitor an opportunity to rest while enjoying the sounds of birds and flowing water. While every season has much to offer, the February and March bloom of azaleas is a popular time to visit the park. The walkways are a mixture of brick, concrete and asphalt surfaces. While historically unique and offering great views of both river and gardens, the pathways were constructed prior to ADA guidelines and are steep and uneven in places. A native garden, which is a special attraction to butterflies and hummingbirds, lies behind the cultural gardens.

    A nature trail winds back behind the gardens through natural oak hammock and sandhill communities. This trail offers both river and phosphate pit overlooks and is approximately 2.5 miles long from the visitor center.

  • Picnicking

    Picnickers may enjoy a view overlooking the main spring basin and swimming area. Picnic tables, grills, and three covered picnic pavilions (one may be reserved, special fees apply) surround the "bowl" area, a grassy basin sloping down to the headsprings itself. Picnic items must be carried up the long entrance walkway and through the tollbooth in order to reach the picnic area. Larger groups may wish to rent the more private Felburn Pavilion, ideal for those wanting a special location for a family reunion, wedding reception or other gathering. Contact the park for details.

  • Water Sports

    The cool, clear waters of the headsprings attract swimmers from late spring through fall. Swimming and snorkeling are restricted to the buoyed swimming area. The average depth in the swimming area runs from 5 to 18 feet; the water temperature averaging 72 F year-round. Swimming hours are from 8 a.m. to one hour before sunset. The swimming area is closed during thunderstorms. All inflatables, including rafts, tubes and balls are not allowed in the park. Swimmers may wear life preservers or use the popular "swim noodles."

    During the busier summer season lifeguards may be on duty. Other than a small wading area for toddlers, the water is over five feet deep. Please be prepared to carefully monitor your own children and non-swimmers.

    Snorkeling the headsprings of the Rainbow River is a favorite activity but is only allowed in the buoyed swimming area. However, it is allowed from the campground or from boats once you are outside of the headsprings. Please be aware that state law requires dive flags for all snorkelers. Another way to enjoy snorkeling is to sign up during the summer for a ranger-guided tour. You will learn what you are looking at and be allowed access to the otherwise protected headsprings area.

Park Partners

Directions

Driving

From I-75, exit at the second Ocala exit onto State Road 40. Take State Road 40, west. Drive until it deadends at U.S. 41. Turn left, the park entrance is on the left-hand side of the road. From Tampa, take U.S. 41, north. Drive through the town of Dunnellon. The park is located on the right-hand side of the road, approximately 2.5 miles north of Dunnellon. From areas in the northwest, take U.S. 41 to the town of Williston. After passing through Williston, you will come to a traffic light where State Road 40 has come to a deadend. Go through this light; the park entrance is on the left-hand side of the road. The campground is separate from the headsprings day use area and is located 2.5 miles north of C.R. 484 off of S.W. 180th Avenue or 2.5 miles south of Highway 40 off of S.W. 180th Avenue.

The Tube Entrance is located 1.4 miles south of the Campground Entrance on SW 180th Avenue Road.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(352) 465-8555

Links