Cool, clear swimming holes within easy driving distance of Orlando

Dive in to some of Florida’s beautiful natural springs

Blue Springs
Blue Springs Shutterstock

When looking to jump into some water and cool off, the first thing that comes to mind is usually one of Florida's many beautiful beaches. But most of those are at least an hour away. Swimming pools? Unless you or a friend have one, public options are hard to find. Orlando natives know the best cool-off spots are Florida's beautiful natural springs.

Now is the perfect time to check out some of these scenic swimming holes, and here are a few of them closest to Orlando — none of these are more than 45 minutes away.

Wekiwa Springs State Park
1800 Wekiwa Circle, Apopka
Most Orlandoans are very familiar with the spring at the end of the grassy hill known as Wekiwa Springs, so we won't bore you with the bucolic details. It wouldn't be a proper Orlando summer without at least one day whiled away here, so get some friends assembled and pick your activity for the day: canoeing, swimming, snorkeling or general chillin'.

Wekiva Island
1014 Miami Springs Drive, Longwood
Wekiva Island is a watering hole in both senses: You can dip and soak to your heart's content in the natural spring water, but you can also belly up at the Tooting Otter wine and beer bar and get your drink on (within reason), which makes it one of Orlando's most popular summer get-together spots. Rent a cabana to hang out with pals, or if you're not about that leisurely life, rent a canoe, kayak or paddleboards and go exploring.

Kelly Park/Rock Springs
400 E. Kelly Park Road, Apopka
Kelly Park features a free-flowing natural spring that runs at 68 degrees year-round, so you should definitely keep it in mind for those extra-hot Florida summer days. Tubing is the most common activity, and rentals are available from vendors right outside the park. The park also includes full-service concession, picnic pavilions and a playground for the little ones.

Blue Spring State Park
2100 W. French Ave., Orange City
Blue Spring State Park is the biggest spring on the St. John's River, and probably pretty familiar to most Orlando residents. It's best known for manatee viewing, but if you've got a scuba license, you should definitely check out the underwater cave about 100 feet below the surface.

De Leon Springs State Park
601 Ponce de Leon Blvd., De Leon Springs
De Leon Springs has a reputation for beautiful turquoise water, so grab a canoe and glide through the spring one leisurely stroke at a time. Snorkeling is very popular here, as there are underwater caves hiding in deep water — just don't go exploring in them!


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