I've been visiting the clearwater springs in Florida since I was about twenty years old. I never get tired of them. Because there are so many springs there, Carole and I are far from visiting them all. In fact, we haven't even visited all of the 33 first-magnitude springs there. I think we're only halfway down that particular list. Then there are the many second and third-magnitude springs, many of which are spectacular and worth seeing. We've been to a number of those, also.
We're gearing up for our first big vacation of the year. This one, like many of our other trips, will feature visits to big springs. We'll be seeing two we've spent time at before: Ichetucknee Springs and Salt Springs. Those are two of our favorites and well worth the time we'll spend on them.
Ponce De Leon Springs. This one used to be a county park, but is now a State Park. Not the biggest spring, but we had a great time swimming there.
Rainbow Springs. This one is pretty darned big. I took this composite shot from a high bluff above the head spring. It was once a private amusement park but when Disney World killed off the clientele for many of the mom 'n' pop amusement parks in Florida, the state was able to step in and buy up most of the ones that had scenic, historical, and environmental value. Thus it was with Rainbow Springs.
Manatee Springs, another absolutely striking first-magnitude spring. And, yes, it is frequented by manatees.
This is Blue Springs. Another of my favorites. It's a big hangout for manatees seeking warmer waters when the St. John River gets too cold for them. This is where I was when two manatees swam up to me a few years ago.
Rock Springs Run. This one was also once a private property that ended up in the hands of the State of Florida.
Carole took this shot of me at De Leon Springs. Not to be confused with the much smaller Ponce de Leon Springs. This is another really big spring that was a private amusement park in its day and which the state was able to purchase and convert to a state park.