The water is extraordinarily clear, offering a window into a diverse aquatic habitat. The flow of the spring is the fourth highest among all the springs in Florida.
The cool, clear waters of the headsprings are incredibly refreshing to swim in. The average depth in the natural swimming area runs from 5 to 18 feet, and the water temperature averages 72 degrees year-round. Underwater, swimmers and snorkelers can see turtles, fish and forests of aquatic grass that provide food and habitat for many of the creatures that live here.
The clear blue waters of Rainbow Springs have attracted humans and wildlife for a long time. Artifacts like pottery and tools have shown that Native Americans began visiting the spring over 10,000 years ago. Mastodon and mammoth fossils have also been found here.
The water that bubbles up from the spring comes from a 770 square-mile area. Rain water travels down through layers of soil and rock. This process filters the water before it travels through underground caves and surfaces at the spring.
The spring flows into the spring run, also called the Rainbow River. Paddlers and tubers can enjoy the same beautiful water as it flows out of the spring, eventually reaching the Withlacoochee River.