September 02, 2016

23 Central Florida springs you should be camping at this fall

Pitching a tent at one of Florida's many natural springs is easily one of the most underrated things to do in the Sunshine State. What follows are a few of Florida's best swimming holes, and how to camp there.

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Weeki Wachee Springs
Estimated driving distance from Orlando: 1 hour 43 minutes
Famous for its enchanting mermaid show, these springs have brought many visitors over the years wanting to see the unique performance. Tubes, canoes and more outdoor activity rental equipments are available onsite. Although no camping is available onsite, there are many near options including: Cody’s RV park, Camp-A-Wyle Lake resort, and Hawks Nest RV Park & Campground.
Photo via Camilogx/Instagram
Weeki Wachee Springs
Estimated driving distance from Orlando: 1 hour 43 minutes
Famous for its enchanting mermaid show, these springs have brought many visitors over the years wanting to see the unique performance. Tubes, canoes and more outdoor activity rental equipments are available onsite. Although no camping is available onsite, there are many near options including: Cody’s RV park, Camp-A-Wyle Lake resort, and Hawks Nest RV Park & Campground.

Photo via Camilogx/Instagram
Otter Springs
Estimated driving distance from Orlando: 2 hours 23 minutes 
Flowing into the nearby Suwannee River, this 636 acre spring area offers fishing, hiking and other outdoor activities. There is also an enclosed pool pavilion and primitive tent areas or cabins with air conditioning, kitchens and more.
Photo via raudiom/Instagram
Otter Springs
Estimated driving distance from Orlando: 2 hours 23 minutes
Flowing into the nearby Suwannee River, this 636 acre spring area offers fishing, hiking and other outdoor activities. There is also an enclosed pool pavilion and primitive tent areas or cabins with air conditioning, kitchens and more.

Photo via raudiom/Instagram
Salt Springs
Estimated driving distance from Orlando: 1 hour 32 min
With the largest camping grounds in Ocala National Forest, this spring area is the only to offer RV camping. Freshwater fishing and boating is allowed along the Salt Springs run. Camping ranges from $20.50 with no hookups and $29 for a full-hookup campsite. 
Photo via jonmonfishimagery/Instagram
Salt Springs
Estimated driving distance from Orlando: 1 hour 32 min
With the largest camping grounds in Ocala National Forest, this spring area is the only to offer RV camping. Freshwater fishing and boating is allowed along the Salt Springs run. Camping ranges from $20.50 with no hookups and $29 for a full-hookup campsite.

Photo via jonmonfishimagery/Instagram
Fanning Springs
Estimated driving distance from Orlando: 2 hours 17 minutes
Located near the Suwannee river, this state park has a boardwalk through cypress trees overlooking the river where many furry creatures can be seen as well as some under the water. Weddings can also be held here so you may be able to crash one if you get lucky. Primitive camping is $5 per person while cabins are $100 per night. 
Photo via K_shred88/Instagram
Fanning Springs
Estimated driving distance from Orlando: 2 hours 17 minutes
Located near the Suwannee river, this state park has a boardwalk through cypress trees overlooking the river where many furry creatures can be seen as well as some under the water. Weddings can also be held here so you may be able to crash one if you get lucky. Primitive camping is $5 per person while cabins are $100 per night.

Photo via K_shred88/Instagram
Alexander Springs Recreation area
Estimated driving distance from Orlando: 1 hour 10 min.
Located in the Ocala National forest, these springs are surrounded by forest animals and a ton of activities including snorkeling, swimming, canoeing and more. Camping is first come, first serve for $22 a night. 
Photo via ayce09/Instagram
Alexander Springs Recreation area
Estimated driving distance from Orlando: 1 hour 10 min.
Located in the Ocala National forest, these springs are surrounded by forest animals and a ton of activities including snorkeling, swimming, canoeing and more. Camping is first come, first serve for $22 a night.

Photo via ayce09/Instagram
Blue Springs
Estimated driving distance from Orlando: 45 min.
A manatee refuge during winter time, this 2,600 acre park fills up pretty quickly. It offers visitors chances to go on boat tours, fishing, snorkeling, swimming and more along the St. John’s river. Cabins and camping are available and reservations can be made up to 11 months in advance. 
Photo via woodshm1/Instagram
Blue Springs
Estimated driving distance from Orlando: 45 min.
A manatee refuge during winter time, this 2,600 acre park fills up pretty quickly. It offers visitors chances to go on boat tours, fishing, snorkeling, swimming and more along the St. John’s river. Cabins and camping are available and reservations can be made up to 11 months in advance.

Photo via woodshm1/Instagram
Ginnie Springs
Estimated driving distance from Orlando: 2 hours
Nearby college students in Gainesville love these 7 springs where they can tube down a river as they drink their weekend away. The 7 springs also offer swimming, snorkeling, scuba and cave diving with multiple picnic areas around with some volleyball courts. Families or visitors can camp out in sites with electricity & water with reservations or day of in wooded acres for $21.34. 
Photo via alexcyrino1970/Instagram
Ginnie Springs
Estimated driving distance from Orlando: 2 hours
Nearby college students in Gainesville love these 7 springs where they can tube down a river as they drink their weekend away. The 7 springs also offer swimming, snorkeling, scuba and cave diving with multiple picnic areas around with some volleyball courts. Families or visitors can camp out in sites with electricity & water with reservations or day of in wooded acres for $21.34.

Photo via alexcyrino1970/Instagram
Hart Springs
Estimated driving distance from Orlando: 2 hours and 26 minutes 
Located under a canopy of granddaddy oaks, Hart Springs gives camping goers the chance to test our their primitive camping skills. Located close to the Florida Greenway trail, this spring provides a vary of options along with a low cost of camping for $20. An RV campground with large sites and full hookups (water, sewer, electric), is  also available for just $4 more.
Photo via spicy_texan220/Instagram
Hart Springs
Estimated driving distance from Orlando: 2 hours and 26 minutes
Located under a canopy of granddaddy oaks, Hart Springs gives camping goers the chance to test our their primitive camping skills. Located close to the Florida Greenway trail, this spring provides a vary of options along with a low cost of camping for $20. An RV campground with large sites and full hookups (water, sewer, electric), is also available for just $4 more.

Photo via spicy_texan220/Instagram
Ichetucknee Springs State Park
Estimated driving distance from Orlando: 2 hour 14 
Flowing six miles until it meets with the Santa Fe river, this spring is great for tubing, fishing, wildlife viewing, hiking and canoeing. Canoeing through the Ichetucknee river, white-tailed deer, wild turkeys and more can often be seen. Camping is available nearby in River Run campground, Ichetucknee Family Canoe and Cabins, and Ichetucknee Springs campground. 
Photo via chunk_sta/Instagram
Ichetucknee Springs State Park
Estimated driving distance from Orlando: 2 hour 14
Flowing six miles until it meets with the Santa Fe river, this spring is great for tubing, fishing, wildlife viewing, hiking and canoeing. Canoeing through the Ichetucknee river, white-tailed deer, wild turkeys and more can often be seen. Camping is available nearby in River Run campground, Ichetucknee Family Canoe and Cabins, and Ichetucknee Springs campground.

Photo via chunk_sta/Instagram
Juniper Springs Recreation Area
Estimated driving distance from Orlando: 1 hour 19 min
Created by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, Juniper Springs has swimming, camping, hiking trails and a famous 7-mile canoe run that’s pretty hard to accomplish. Canoe rentals are available as well as camping for $21 + tax per night.
Photo via thematosshow/Instagram
Juniper Springs Recreation Area
Estimated driving distance from Orlando: 1 hour 19 min
Created by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, Juniper Springs has swimming, camping, hiking trails and a famous 7-mile canoe run that’s pretty hard to accomplish. Canoe rentals are available as well as camping for $21 + tax per night.

Photo via thematosshow/Instagram