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Rainbow Springs State Park

 Activities at Rainbow Springs State Park

Amphitheater

Amphitheater

There is an amphitheater in the campground.  Seasonally ranger led programs are given here for our registered campers. It is also available to registered campers for their own use when not being used by park staff.   

Birding

Birding

Rainbow Springs is an outstanding birding area and is part of the Great Florida Birding Trail.  Various species are commonly seen here including woodpeckers, wading birds, hawks, songbirds and owls.

Camping, Full Facility

Camping, Full Facility

Rainbow Springs State Park’s newly renovated campground is located on the river about a mile and a half downstream from the main headspring and day use area, a driving distance of approximately six miles. All sites have water and electric (20, 30, and 50 amp), and are equipped with sewer hook-ups. ADA accessible restrooms are available. A dump station is located between the upper and lower campgrounds. Amenities include a campground store, recreation hall, showers and restrooms, laundry, pool (WE APOLOGIZE FOR THE INCONVENIENCE, BUT THE POOL IS CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE) and playground. Pets are welcome in the campground but are not permitted in swimming areas or buildings.

Fishing for largemouth bass and other fresh water species is also popular from the campground. Canoes, including paddles and all safety equipment, are available for rent. The swimming area is a popular part of the campground. The campground is separate from the headsprings day use area.

Maximum RV length = 103 ft.  There are laundry rooms (2 washers, 2 dryers) located in each of the camp loops.

Reservations: Reservations may be made up to 11 months in advance through ReserveAmerica. Book Online or call (800) 326-3521 (8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.) or TDD (888) 433-0287.

Canoeing & Kayaking

Canoeing & Kayaking

Enjoy one of the most beautiful natural resources of the park by canoe or kayak on the Rainbow River.  Immerse yourself in the Real Florida as you leisurely pass through moss-draped cypress trees, river otters, wading birds and numerous other sights and sounds along the crystal clear water way.  Visitors may launch privately owned canoes or kayaks from the headsprings launch area; but should be prepared to portage their vessel 1,800 feet from the parking area to the launch area, due to no vehicle access to the river within the park.  For those who want the experience without the hassle, daily canoe and kayak rentals are available from our concessionaire.  Visit their website, Nature Quest, Inc., or call them at (352)465-3211.  Due to the environmental sensitivity of the Rainbow River, visitors are strongly encouraged to review special regulations and ordinances established by Marion County, Florida prior to any boating activities.

Family Reunions

Family Reunions

With four pavilions at the headsprings, two available to reserve, Rainbow Springs is an excellent location for a family reunion.  The group can spend the day swimming, canoeing, kayaking, exploring the gardens and nature trails or viewing the three waterfalls.  Another fun way to hold a family reunion is to reserve some campsites so the family can enjoy the park for a few days.

Gardens

Gardens

The gardens and waterfalls at Rainbow Springs State Park are cultural assets that remain from the days when the headsprings were a private attraction. They have been renovated and replanted while preserving their historical significance. In early spring the entire headsprings area bursts into pinks, purples and whites with its famous azalea blooms.

Hiking/Nature Trail

Hiking/Nature Trail

Rainbow Springs State Park offers leisurely strolls through shady gardens laced with azaleas, oaks and magnolias. The walkways pass by three man-made waterfalls and a native plant garden. Benches located along the paths offer the visitor an opportunity to rest while enjoying the sounds of birds and flowing water. While every season has much to offer, the February and March bloom of azaleas is a popular time to visit the park. The walkways are a mixture of brick, concrete and asphalt surfaces. While historically unique and offering great views of both river and gardens, the pathways were constructed prior to ADA guidelines and are steep and uneven in places. A native garden, which is a special attraction to butterflies and hummingbirds, lies behind the cultural gardens.

A nature trail winds back behind the gardens through natural oak hammock and sandhill communities. This trail offers both river and phosphate pit overlooks and is approximately 2.5 miles long from the Visitors' Center.

Pets

Pets

Well-behaved dogs are welcome at Rainbow Springs State Park. They must be kept on a 6-foot leash at all times and they are not allowed to enter the water, including headsprings, swim areas, river and ponds. Doggie pot bags are provided in order to keep the park beautiful and safe for everyone.

Picnic Pavilion

Picnic Pavilion

We have four picnic pavilions at the headsprings, three at the campground for registered campers only and two at our tube facility.  All provide a place to meet and enjoy the day or a meal with family and friends.  Two of the pavilions at the headsprings are available for reservation (rental).  All of the other pavilions are available on a first come first served basis.  If you are interested in reserving a pavilion, call (352) 465-8555.  All pavilions have picnic tables and water available.  The headsprings pavilions also have electricity available.

Rainbow Springs State Park Pavilion Fee Schedule

Rainbow Springs State Park Pavilion Agreement

Picnicking

Picnicking

Picnickers may enjoy a view overlooking the main spring basin and swimming area. Picnic tables, grills, and three covered picnic pavilions (one may be reserved, special fees apply) surround the " bowl" area, a grassy basin sloping down to the headsprings itself. Picnic items must be carried up the long entrance walkway and through the tollbooth in order to reach the picnic area. Larger groups may wish to rent the more private Felburn Pavilion, ideal for those wanting a special location for a family reunion, wedding reception or other gathering. Contact the park for details.

Snorkeling

Snorkeling

Snorkeling the headsprings of the Rainbow River is a favorite activity but is only allowed in the buoyed swimming area. However, it is allowed from the campground or from boats once you are outside of the headsprings. Please be aware that state law requires dive flags for all snorkelers.

Swimming

Swimming

The cool, clear waters of the headsprings attract swimmers from late spring through fall. Swimming and snorkeling are restricted to the buoyed swimming area. The average depth in the swimming area runs from 5 to 18 feet; the water temperature averaging 72 degrees year round. Swimming hours are from 8 am to one hour before sunset. The swimming area is closed during thunderstorms. All inflatables, including rafts, tubes and balls are not allowed in the park. Swimmers may wear life preservers or use the popular " swim noodles."

During the busier summer season lifeguards may be on duty. Other than a small wading area for toddlers, the water is over 5 feet deep. Please be prepared to carefully monitor your own children and non-swimmers.

Tubing

Tubing

Tubing the Rainbow River is a wonderful experience, but is not allowed within the headsprings area of the park.  The park’s Tube Entrance is located on S.W. 180th Avenue Road, 1.4 miles south of the Campground Entrance.  The trip takes about two hours to complete; you start and end your float from the same park location.

 

Tube rentals and a shuttle service that takes you upstream two miles are available from our concessionaire – Nature Quest, Inc.  With the concessionaire provided shuttle service you do not need to worry about having a vehicle at each end of your float.  Just come prepared to have a great experience tubing the beautiful Rainbow River!

 

The tube facilities are open on weekends only starting the first Saturday of April until Memorial Day weekend.  From Memorial Day until Labor Day the facilities are open seven days a week.  After Labor Day weekend the facilities remain open on weekends only through the month of September.  During the months of October through March the facilities are closed.

 

We recommend avoiding the weekends if possible or arriving early on weekends and holidays.  The park is closed when we reach our maximum carrying capacity.  Call the park at 352-465-8525 to check the tubing availability status or follow us at www.twitter.com/FLStateParks or on www.facebook.com/FLStateParks

 

For more information about tubing, visit Tubing at Rainbow Springs - Some FAQs (PDF - 1.89KB)

Note: Only registered campers may tube from the campground using their own tubes or tubes rented from our Concessionaire.

Weddings

Weddings

Mostly on weekends, and even during the week, especially in the spring and fall, Rainbow Springs is the site of many weddings.  The scenic waterfalls make a great setting for the ceremony and the pavilions are often reserved for the reception afterwards.    Call the park at (352) 465-8555 to learn more details.

Wildlife Viewing

Wildlife Viewing

Throughout the park, on all of the Nature Trails and along the river exist many wonderful birding opportunities. A brand new park birding list has been created and a guided bird walk is offered the second Saturday of every month except June, July and August. Please call the park for more details.