19 underrated swimming holes within driving distance of Orlando

When looking to jump into some water this summer, the first thing that comes to mind is usually one of Florida's many beautiful beaches. But there are actually plenty of other cool-off spots, including tons of beautiful lakes and springs. Now is the perfect time to check out some of these swimming holes that the state has to offer.

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Alexander Springs Recreation Area
49525 County Road 445, Altoona | Distance: 1 hour 15 minutes 
The shallow waters of Alexander Springs are ideal for lazy afternoon dips. When you’re looking to dive right in with, say, a rope jump, they’ve got plenty of deeper water to explore. The springs also have a mile-long trail that follows a path once travelled by early Native Americans.
Photo via Adobe.

Alexander Springs Recreation Area

49525 County Road 445, Altoona | Distance: 1 hour 15 minutes
The shallow waters of Alexander Springs are ideal for lazy afternoon dips. When you’re looking to dive right in with, say, a rope jump, they’ve got plenty of deeper water to explore. The springs also have a mile-long trail that follows a path once travelled by early Native Americans.

Photo via Adobe.
Blue Spring State Park
2100 W. French Ave., Orange City | Distance: 50 minutes 
Blue Spring State Park is the biggest spring on the St. John’s River, and probably not a stranger to many 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 lingering about 100 feet below the surface.
Photo via Adobe.

Blue Spring State Park

2100 W. French Ave., Orange City | Distance: 50 minutes
Blue Spring State Park is the biggest spring on the St. John’s River, and probably not a stranger to many 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 lingering about 100 feet below the surface.

Photo via Adobe.
De Leon Springs State Park
601 Ponce de Leon Blvd., De Leon Springs | Distance: 1 hour 12 minutes 
De Leon Springs has a reputation for beautiful turquoise water, so grab a canoe and wade through the spring one 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!
Photo via Adobe.

De Leon Springs State Park

601 Ponce de Leon Blvd., De Leon Springs | Distance: 1 hour 12 minutes
De Leon Springs has a reputation for beautiful turquoise water, so grab a canoe and wade through the spring one 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!

Photo via Adobe.
Devil’s Den Spring
5390 NE 180th Ave., Williston | Distance: 1 hour 40 minutes 
You can’t exactly work on your tan here, but how could you possibly turn down a dip in a dry cave’s underground spring? At Devil’s Den, you can paddle around 33-million-year-old fossil beds or snorkel the stalactite formations.
Photo via Adobe.

Devil’s Den Spring

5390 NE 180th Ave., Williston | Distance: 1 hour 40 minutes
You can’t exactly work on your tan here, but how could you possibly turn down a dip in a dry cave’s underground spring? At Devil’s Den, you can paddle around 33-million-year-old fossil beds or snorkel the stalactite formations.

Photo via Adobe.
Dinky Dock
410 Ollie Ave., Winter Park | Distance: 20 minutes 
Located right on the Rollins campus in Winter Park, Dinky Dock is more than the name would suggest. You can sit at a bench or picnic table and look out across the water, dig your toes into the sand, or hop right into the lake to cool off. You can even bring your pet, as long as it’s on a leash. 
Photo via Adobe.

Dinky Dock

410 Ollie Ave., Winter Park | Distance: 20 minutes
Located right on the Rollins campus in Winter Park, Dinky Dock is more than the name would suggest. You can sit at a bench or picnic table and look out across the water, dig your toes into the sand, or hop right into the lake to cool off. You can even bring your pet, as long as it’s on a leash.

Photo via Adobe.
Fanning Springs State Park
18020 Northwest U.S. 19-98, Fanning Springs | Distance: 2 hours 11 minutes 
Fanning Springs used to be a roller rink in the 1950s, but now it’s just a chill little hangout when you’re looking for a shady gazebo on the Suwannee River. Multiple sand boils trickle into the main pool, which is about 20 feet deep. A cannonball off the boardwalk sounds pretty good right about now.
Photo via Adobe.

Fanning Springs State Park

18020 Northwest U.S. 19-98, Fanning Springs | Distance: 2 hours 11 minutes
Fanning Springs used to be a roller rink in the 1950s, but now it’s just a chill little hangout when you’re looking for a shady gazebo on the Suwannee River. Multiple sand boils trickle into the main pool, which is about 20 feet deep. A cannonball off the boardwalk sounds pretty good right about now.

Photo via Adobe.
Ginnie Springs
5000 NE 60th Ave., High Springs | Distance: 2 hours 10 minutes 
Located on the Santa Fe River, Ginnie Springs is one of the clearest bodies of water in Florida. Choose one of the seven different springs for your afternoon splash-around or try to find a grotto hidden beneath the water’s surface -- there are plenty for you to discover.
Photo via Adobe.

Ginnie Springs

5000 NE 60th Ave., High Springs | Distance: 2 hours 10 minutes
Located on the Santa Fe River, Ginnie Springs is one of the clearest bodies of water in Florida. Choose one of the seven different springs for your afternoon splash-around or try to find a grotto hidden beneath the water’s surface -- there are plenty for you to discover.

Photo via Adobe.
Poe Springs Park
28800 Northwest 182nd Ave., High Springs | Distance: 1 hour 58 minutes 
Poe Springs is a local favorite among families. The rope swing should definitely keep the kids occupied in one corner of the springs while the ‘rents chill out on floats just about anywhere else. There’s also a playground on the premises, so don’t forget to bring a volleyball. However, the Springs are only open Thursday through Sunday, so don’t try to come through on any other weekday.
Photo via Adobe.

Poe Springs Park

28800 Northwest 182nd Ave., High Springs | Distance: 1 hour 58 minutes
Poe Springs is a local favorite among families. The rope swing should definitely keep the kids occupied in one corner of the springs while the ‘rents chill out on floats just about anywhere else. There’s also a playground on the premises, so don’t forget to bring a volleyball. However, the Springs are only open Thursday through Sunday, so don’t try to come through on any other weekday.

Photo via Adobe.
Manatee Springs State Park
11650 NW 115th St., Chiefland | Distance: 2 hours 20 minutes 
At Manatee Springs, you get what you expect, which is a ton of manatees swimming around you. This spring is a water activity paradise, with canoeing and snorkeling on tap all year round. Manatee Springs also offers moonlight paddleboarding on the Suwanee River when the sun goes down.
Photo via Adobe.

Manatee Springs State Park

11650 NW 115th St., Chiefland | Distance: 2 hours 20 minutes
At Manatee Springs, you get what you expect, which is a ton of manatees swimming around you. This spring is a water activity paradise, with canoeing and snorkeling on tap all year round. Manatee Springs also offers moonlight paddleboarding on the Suwanee River when the sun goes down.

Photo via Adobe.
Lithia Springs Regional Park
3932 Lithia Springs Road, Lithia | Distance: 1 hour 30 minutes 
With the 72-degree water, Lithia Springs is a nice place to splash around all year long. If you bring your little ones and want to relax, there’s even a bath house for adults and a playground that’ll keep the kids occupied with a fun time.
Photo via Adobe.

Lithia Springs Regional Park

3932 Lithia Springs Road, Lithia | Distance: 1 hour 30 minutes
With the 72-degree water, Lithia Springs is a nice place to splash around all year long. If you bring your little ones and want to relax, there’s even a bath house for adults and a playground that’ll keep the kids occupied with a fun time.

Photo via Adobe.