Florida, Itineraries, North America
Tubing Ginnie Springs, the perfect family trip| Florida | USA
Looking for an unforgettable family trip in central Florida? Then you should go tubing on Ginnie Springs. Find out everything to plan your trip right here.
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Springs in Florida
Florida in the United States, AKA the “Sunshine State” is known for its good weather, beautiful beaches, giant theme parks and trendy cities such as Miami. But Florida has much more to offer. In the central part you can still discover beautiful and less known places.
For many local tourists the Florida Springs, natural resources in central Florida, are a tourist attraction during the weekend. But these are often skipped or forgotten by foreign tourists. That is why I would like to generate enthusiasm about adding this destination to your itinerary when you travel to Florida.
Don’t forget to check out the offers of Getyouguide of the most fun things to do in Florida.
Why visit Florida Springs?
Why should a trip to one or more of the many natural resources in Florida not be missing from your itinerary? In the first place, these are beautiful locations where you can soak up the authentic nature of the Deep South and even occasionally spot wildlife. Besides, it’s also a very pleasant trip for young and old, where water fun is guaranteed for the whole family!
Most of the springs are located north of Orlando. Depending on your destination or route you can choose a specific natural source. On this map you will find all of Florida’s springs with the corresponding location. Ginnie springs is my personal fovarite but there are many other beautiful springs in Florida.
Ginnie springs Florida
Before we started planning our “Deep South” road trip, there were a few locations that had been on our bucket list for quite a while. One of them was Ginnie Springs. I don’t really know exactly when or through whom I discovered this location on instagram, but when I saw it I was completely sold. I did some research on other well-known natural sources, which also looked great, but my decision was final. Ginnie Springs was my number 1 choice.
Our trip to Ginnie Springs
Where is Ginnie Springs located?
Ginnie Springs is located in the North of central Florida. It’s a more or less 2-hour drive from Orlando. The closest city is Gainesville about 45 minutes away. We stayed in a gorgeous bed and breakfast ‘The Herlong Mansion’ in Micanopy. That’s a 1-hours drive from the Ginnie Springs. But you can always choose to stay in the vibrant city of Gainesville where there are many things to do. If you like a little bit of adventure, don’t forget to check out the best trails in Gainesville.
We left early in the morning to visit the Ginnie springs. We wanted to be the first visitors with purpose of beautiful photography. When we arrived we had to wait till 8 AM till the park opened. We were greeted by an American tourist who was already in the parking lot as well. She assured us we would be amazed by the beautiful springs.
Renting equipment in Ginnie Springs
As we entered as first visitors we were quite stoked. We received a map of the domain and were amazed at how large it was. The domain consists of multiple natural sources that are connected to the Santa Fé river.
The employee explained us that we could drift down the river via a tube (donut-shaped air cushion) and reach the sources in this way. Jan and I looked at each other and immediately said wholeheartedly “yes”. We opted for a “couples tube” in which we could float in pairs. A day trip can also be a bit more romantic!
In Ginnie Springs you have the option of various water activities: from drifting down the river with a tube to paddle boarding, canoeing and even diving. If you don’t have enough time, you can also camp out in the park or rent a cottage for the night. We paid the entrance fee for 1 day and the rent of our “couples tube”. You can find more details about the Ginnie springs prices and various activities on the official Ginnie Springs website in great detail.
We went to collect our “couples tube” from the rental service by car. Not thinking about how big that thing was, we tried to put it in our trunk. That didn’t work at all. With the trunk open and half our tube hanging out of the car, we slowly drove to the first spring.
Exploring the Ginnie Springs
We decided to discover all the springs first before tubing down the river. These are all accessible by car as well. Parking and sanitary facilities are provided at every spring. Now that it wasn’t busy yet, we eagerly made use of the time to take pictures of these gorgeous locations. We started with the most photographed and popular natural sources, Ginnie spring and Devil’s Eye. Two enchanting locations that really appeal to the imagination. Through the clear blue water you could see the bottom of the springs and even various cave entrances.
The springs are easily accessible everywhere by a pontoon with a wooden staircase. I carefully took the first steps in the water while Jan was already busy setting up the camera. The water was so cold. Even though it was already quite warm in the morning, I still had to bite the bullet to dive in from head to toe. Once in the water it was blissfully refreshing. After swimming a bit, the cold feeling disappeared.
We soon realized that we weren’t alone, some curious squirrels came from their hiding place. The not-so-shy rodents were particularly interested in our equipment and backpack. Just in time we were able to save our camera that was standing on the tripod, from a fall. A squirrel was really eager to jump from its branch to this strange object. With large hand gestures and a lot of splashing, we were able to avoid this disaster.
The first visitors flocked in slowly. Especially people who stayed in the park itself or avid divers. Devil’s Eye is a very famous place among divers. A friendly and regular visitor pointed out that we had to keep an eye on our camera, because a lot gets stolen at busy times such as weekends.
Tubing Ginnie Springs
After photographing the first two springs, we frankly had enough. It was getting warmer and we just wanted to enjoy these beautiful places so we decided to start the tube trail. We drove by car, still with the half tube hanging from the trunk, to the starting point of the tube trail.
We saw families tie their tubes together, with even a few smaller tubes for a cooler. This was apparently not their first time. Jan and I didn’t think of taking anything to eat or drink. We really regretted that. With a little bit of jealousy we watched other tubers enjoying a snack and drink while floating downwards on the river. We quickly forgot our thirsty and hungry feeling while tubing Ginnie Springs tube trail. We enjoyed the beautiful nature. The impressive trees on the banks that leaned over the river, the little turtles that were sunbathing on a tree stump, …
While floating we could enter the coves from the river and reach the springs. Of course this didn’t go without a struggle. Because the river ran downstream, we had to paddle to be able to turn. Of course we hadn’t thought of a paddle so one of us had to go into the water to push our tube while swimming. Jan sacrificed himself and I kept our backpack dry in exchange. Devil’s Eye and Ginnie Spring, that looked so serene that morning, were now brightly colored because of the many different types of tubes. It was difficult to find a way without bumping into other tubers with this crowd.
At the penultimate source “Dogwood spring” we were surprised again. This much smaller but certainly no less beautiful spring was much more quiet. We floated there for a moment just relaxing and enjoying the peaceful setting.
Returning equipment to Ginnie Springs
Once arrived at the end of the tube trail, we followed the path to the rental service. We delivered our tube here and hiked back along a well-marked road to the starting point of the tube trail, where our car was parked. We decided to return to Dogwood Spring by car to take another refreshing dip. Afterwards we enjoyed a nice late lunch at Ginnie’s grill.
A few more tips for a unforgetable family trip to Ginnie Springs
The busiest days are during the weekend. If you don’t want to feel overwhelmed, try to plan your trip during the week.
If you go for the purpose of photography, go as early as possible. It’s also best to go tubing in the morning. It is significantly busier in the afternoon.
Keep in mind that you have to pay an access fee and extra if you want to rent equipment. More info can be found on the official website of Ginnie Springs.
If you rent a ‘couples tube’, remember that it does not fit in a normal car trunk. You can also take your own tube or floatie to float down the river. Check out my favorites below.
- If you want to explore the springs in a more active way. You can opt for some paddle board exercise. A great way enjoy the beautiful area while working out.
Keep all your valuables close to you, don’t leave them unattended.
Do not leave food and garbage for squirrels and other animals.
Take something to drink and snack with you on the tube. You can choose to buy something in a store on the domain before you take off tubing. Or prepare a zero wast picnic for after tubing.
Take a waterproof bag /barrel with you to store your valuables and towels while tubing. Check out these awesome waterproof bags below.
We look back with great pleasure to our amazing visit to Ginnie Springs. We would definitely recommend it to anyone. The springs are all stunning and situated in an enchanting, authentic natural environment. Tubing downstream the Santa Fé river was an unforgettable experience. In short, the perfect family trip for young and old with a great variety of activities, where both action and relaxation alternate.
Did I convince you to visit Ginnie Spings? Let me know in the comments below. If you want to explore more of Florida, don’t forget to read my travel tips for Miami, the Everglades and Sanibel Island. Or check out some of my favorite travel guides that I used to plan my trip to Florida.
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61 thoughts on “Tubing Ginnie Springs, the perfect family trip| Florida | USA”
Ginnie Springs looks like so much fun! I’ve only been to Florida once but would love to go back and experience floating in those tubes! ?
It was my second time in Florida and hadn’t experienced central Florida before. I fell in love with this part of the sunshine state.The nature, the springs, the food, … everything you need for an unforgettable trip. And floating those tubes was EPIC!
I will be there the last weekend of May with some friends tent camping. I’m really looking forward to my first time there. I’ve seen all the youtube videos on Ginnie springs.
OMG! You are so lucky! I whish I could go too. It’s one of the most beautiful springs I have ever seen. I hope you’ll have a blast! 🙂
They are amazing, aren’t they?!
I keep telling my fam we gotta goo! But only my mom is on board haha! Hope you had a blast ?
We did! And you should definitely go, it’s so much fun!
I live 20 mins from ginnie and not more than an hour to all the other springs. Absolutely prefer the springs over the beach.
I would too if I lived there. Too bad I couldn’t stay longer to explore the other springs as well. You live in such a beautiful area of the united States. I absolutely fell in love with central Florida!
Looking for a multi-genetational vacation spot. This looks perfect! Thanks!
Hope you enjoy it!
Fantastic Sarah. Thank u 4 sharing. Took some recommendations from your article for our Ginnie Springs visit. Thanks again!
Oh, so happy that my article was helpful to plan your visit 🙂 Thank you for letting me know!
Hi.! We are headed to Florida soon and I’m trying to access the map with all the springs and their locations but it’s not showing up. Can you please send me the link or the map? Thank you!! Love all you’re pictures and info!
I’m so sorry for this late reply. I was traveling. Here’s the link: https://floridasprings.org/florida-springs-map/ I will change it in the blog as well. I hope you have a great trip in Florida!
I have been to Florida numerous times and I never knew this existed. I’m either been confined to the Mouse House or Miami. Foreign tourist – your point proven. I’m going to try to hit this if I go back this winter!
I really hope you’ll get to visit. There are many springs located in Central Florida and I wish I could have visited them all.
We were limited in time and chose for the Ginnie Springs, and we are so happy we did. These springs are GORGEOUS!
I’ve never been to Florida but looks like a great day out, and it’s so pretty. I could relax in that water all day
Yes, it was such an epic day trip.
Thanks for sharing! I have been wanting to go here, I saw some photos on social media and was instantly sold as well! It looks like a beautiful destination, and your post makes me want to go even more!
It’s absolutely a must do when you’re in Florida. The springs are so gorgeous.
Sadly the natural beauty of this spectacular natural wonder is being rapidly destroyed by the hoards of partygoers who overwhelm its serenity and charm. Might as well just go to a water park. In fact, please do. This place will never be able to sustain the raucous human traffic that has been promoted here. The mismanagement is a disgrace that is purely the Disneyfication of a natural treasure.
Ah! I love Ginnie Springs! Looks like I’ll need to make a visit when I visit in a few months. 🙂
Yes, please do! You’re not going to regret it.
Wow your photos are amazing!! It makes me want to plan a trip!
Thank you. An I hope you do. Ginnie Spring is such a great place!
Your photos are stunning! I love how this place looks kinda like the Mexican cenotes! xx
Thank you. And yes they look a bit like the cenotes. They are so stunning.
Such a gem, it seems like there are not many tourists there. Also I absolutely adore how blue the water is!
There are a lot of tourist, but the pictures were taken when the park just opened. We are always super early to shoot 🙂
wow, such a beautiful place! well, when you mentioned the cold water, I’m totally not surprised, as I imagine our last trip to a small river/spring hidden inside the countryside of Italy, it was in Aug, and it was around noontime, the water was like from the fridge!!!
Haha, It was super cold, but in the end so refreshing. I just love swimming in natural springs. 🙂
It seems you had a great time.
Yes, we had the best time, definitely one of the highlights of our trip.
Wow! love the pictures. Definitely adding it my list 🙂
Thank you! I hope you can visit in the future!
Absolutely love this hidden gem in Florida. We did a bunch of springs on a Florida trip last year but missed this one. We will be back!
Oh yes, definitely one to add to your bucket list 🙂
Oh my goodness I want to go here now! Definitely adding this to my Florida bucket list. Your photos are gorgeous!!
Thank you so much! Hope you get to visit soon!
This looks like the perfect slice of paradise! I’ve never been to Florida before, but I’ll make the Ginnie Springs a must when I get there!
Yes, these springs are definitely the place to go on a trip through Florida.
Omg how do people not know about these springs! They are so gorgeous!!
I know right? They are so gorgeous!
I would love to try this! It looks like so much fun.
Nicola, hope you do. It’s awesome 🙂
I was just there. It is beautiful but definitely not fun trying to chase children around there. Or trying to explain thongs and and strings cover nipple top. I would absolutely love to go back, without kids. Its a great trip for gal pals or a group of couples, but wouldn’t recommend it for families with children under the age of 8.
Haha, really? When I was there it was ok, but I went during the week on slower day. 🙂
Me and my family went there this past weekend. Although I feel your statements are accurate you left out a lot. This place is full of drunk, weed smoking and rowdy crowds. AND, I don’t know how you forgot about the temperature of the water. I found it quite Impossible. There were kids in the water but there little lips were blue. My sons entire body was shaking from the water temperature. It is defined as a cold water spring. Please don’t go there expecting a pleasant day tubing. You will be disappointed. It’s unorganized and confusing to navigate. The staff are not helpful. I would not recommend anyone travel to this place. If your in the area it’s good to swing by. But don’t go out there just for this unless you like cold water and rowdy crowds.
Hi Evette, so sorry you feel this way and that it wasn’t a pleasant experience for you and your family. When I was there, it was not like that at all. And of course I can only write about my own experiences. Good that you share yours here as well.
It looks so serene there!! I have to ask though. And gators in the area. I always here about them in Florida. I even here about the Santee lake in SC… I’m a ks boy, not used to those. Thank you for sharing!!
No, there were no gators in the Ginnie Springs. 🙂
There are Alligators in the Santa Fe River adjacent to the Springs. I’ve seen one as long as 6 foot within 100′ of Springs. This place is definitely not for kids. Very crouded, party scene. Loud music, thousands of tubers, garbage dropped and left in river, no respect for the environment.
Really? When I visited it wasn’t like that at all. There were a lot of families with childeren, but no parties at all. I was there during the week, and I was told that weekends are quite busy, maybe that’s the difference. This blog is based on my experiences, so it’s subjective. Everyone has different experiences and opinions.
First time their a couple of days ago. Loved it had an awesome time with the family ???
So glad to hear that!!! 🙂
Amazing pics and very detailed explanation about Gennie springs which will make us feel to go right away and dive in. Can you suggest nearby place that we could stay since I am coming from other state driving 12-14 hrs. ? I am planning to reach Gennie at around 8:00 am. I would also like to know the tubing is recommended for 8 year old ? Will there be 3 seater tube or do we need to purchase from outside ?
Hi Dolly, we stayed in B&B Herlong Mansion in Micanopy, as I mentioned in the article. It’s not so close to Ginnie Springs (about 1 h drive) but definitely recommended. We had a great time there. You can also camp in Ginnie Springs of rent a cottage. Or stay a bit further in Gainesville. I think it’s best to check Ginnie’s springs official site to see if they have the right equipment for tubing with 3 or tubing with kids.
Sorry if I missed it, but how long did you spend at the Springs total? From taking pictures, touring the springs and tubing?
Hi Amanda, we did Ginnie Springs in one day. We were there when it opened and we left in the early evening. We took the photos in the morning when there was almost noone and around noon we went tubing, afterwards we spend a little bit of time swimming. So it’s definitely possible to visit Ginnie Springs in 1 day.