Icy, clear water on a hot summer day---what could be better? This is exactly what you'll find when you head to Ginnie Springs in High Springs Florida. The spring-fed swimming hole, surrounded by shady trees, a picnic area and playground is the perfect place to bring the family. Ginnie Springs shows that there is definitely more to do in Florida than just go to the beach.
Navigation to the spring can be a little tricky. But there are signs (look for the brown ones) and the locals in High Springs and the Ocala area are very friendly. Don't be afraid to ask.
How To Get There
- Take 1-75 South into Florida.
- Take exit 399 to US-441 N
- Turn left onto NE 1st Ave
- Turn left onto N Main St
- Turn right onto NW 182nd Ave
- Continue onto NE Co Rd 340
- Turn right onto NE 60th Ave/Ginnie Springs Rd
- Turn right onto NE 62nd Pl/Ginnie Springs Rd 0.2 mi
- Slight left onto NE 60th Ave/Ginnie Springs Rd
Getting In and Paying
If you are going for the day or if you are camping, you will stop at a gate and booth. A person will count the number of people in the car and give you a paper to take into the gift shop to pay for admission into the spring.
Admission for 2013
Adults: $12.00 (there is a discount if you are over 62).
Kids: $3.00 (Ages 7-14)
Kids ages 6 and under are free.
The park opens daily from 8 AM until a half hour before sunset.
What To Bring For The Day
- Bathing Suits
- Tennis Shoes and shorts
- Picnic supplies
- Cooler (Alcohol is allowed)
Tips For A Great Day At The Spring
Get there right after lunch
You still have hours of fun but many people come for morning and leave by early to mid afternoon
Bring a wetsuit if you're cold natured
Wearing a diving suit or short suit will make you warmer. The water can be hard to take at first
Bring extra towels
It's easier to warm up when you have a dry towel. Leave it in the car to keep it extra warm.
Go on a Sunday
Many campers and swimmers leave by mid-day and you'll have the spring almost to yourself
The main spring is Ginnie Springs. It is a large circular swimming hole with an opening on one end that flows gently down to the river.
The water is crystal clear but is very cold (about 72 degrees year round) so it does take some getting use to. There are steps leading down to the spring but there is not a lot of shallow area so children or adults that aren't good swimmers will want life vests or other floating devices.
Once you are in the water for awhile and you get used to the cold, it is fun to swim over to the deeper areas where the caves are located.
Ginnie Springs often has cave divers and swimmer above can watch with goggles as groups come in and out of the underground caves.
Cave diving, of course, is only done with a certification and trained guide. The gift shop can give you more information.
There are picnic tables, bathrooms and showers around the spring. It is very easy to spend a day in and out of the water.
If you prefer, you can rent tubes at the gift shop and float in the spring and down part of the river.
There is also a playground if you have younger kids that need to get out of the cold water, run around and warm up.
Devil's Eye and Devil's Ear
Just down from Ginnie Springs (but part of the complex, your admission gets you into all the springs) is another spring called Devil's Eye and Devil's Ear. This elongated spring also empties into the Santa Fe on one end.
It has less space for swimming around but is also usually less crowded. So if Ginnie seems really busy, try checking this one out. There are also bathroom facilities and picnic areas around the spring and steps going down.
There are some little fish that you can swim with and watch (and sometimes manatees!) and if you swim on down to the portion nearest the river there are some more shallow areas where at least adult swimmers can touch bottom.
We usually end up going to both springs and alternating as one becomes more or less busy.
The Devil springs are the beginning of the tube run as well.
Also in the complex is a smaller spring back among the campsites. Although this spring is shallow and not as conducive to swimming, it may be the better spring if you have young children or unsure swimmers.
This spring rarely has many people in it so it is perfect for getting away from it all and enjoying the peace and quiet of nature and the gurgle of the water.
Campsites range from $25 to $45 dollars depending on the season. During the summer the campground is very active and busy. You will also often find college students camping there in groups.
The camp is not for someone looking for a true backwoods or wilderness experience. But the ability to roll out of your tent and jump in some icy cold water does have its own appeal.
The Ginnie Springs experience is well-worth a trip. Its crystal clear water is unlike any swimming experience you've ever had. There's always room to swim or tube and relax.
The beach is not the only way to cool down on a hot Florida afternoon. Give Ginnie a try!
- Florida vacation for scuba diving, river tubing,&PADI certification
Ginnie Springs Outdoors, in High Springs, Florida.
Mike Robbers from London on May 29, 2013:
Beautiful pictures. The color of the water looks fantastic. Thank you for this informative and interesting hub LCDWriter!
L C David (author) from Florida on April 23, 2013:
Thanks for stopping by. The water goes pretty deep, deep enough for cave divers, but there are more shallow sections as well.
FullOfLoveSites from United States on April 23, 2013:
I wonder how deep the water is in Ginnie Springs... I'd love to go there though. I prefer springs, streams and waterfalls to beaches. Especially if the weather is unbearably sweltering, it's nice to take a cool dip into such bodies of water, surrounded by trees and plants to protect you from the sun. Thanks for sharing some pics as well. Voted up and awesome/beautiful.
L C David (author) from Florida on April 04, 2013:
Thanks TravelinJack and Express 10. It really is a beautiful place to swim and relax.
H C Palting from East Coast on April 04, 2013:
This is an interesting and useful hub. The photos are beautiful and you've provided enough details to help anyone get there and have fun.
Jack Baumann from St. Louis, Missouri on March 31, 2013:
love the turquoise color of the water!