Experiences & Amenities
Habitat Restoration in Progress
The park is in the process of restoring sandhill habitat next to the tubing facility off 180th Avenue Road. The long-term restoration project includes non-native tree removal, prescribed burning, invasive plant control, and replanting of tree species and native ground cover. For details, please review the Frequently Asked Questions.
Rainbow Springs is an outstanding birding area and is part of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail. Various species are commonly seen here including woodpeckers, wading birds, hawks, songbirds and owls.
Rainbow Springs State Park’s campground is located along the Rainbow River at a separate facility a few miles from the main headspring and day use area.
- All sites have water and electric (20, 30, and 50 amp), and are equipped with sewer hook-ups. Maximum RV length = 103 ft. ADA accessible restrooms are available. A dump station is located between the upper and lower campgrounds. Pets are welcome in the campground but are not permitted in swimming areas or buildings.
- Amenities include a recreation hall, showers and restrooms, laundry and playground. Access the river from the campground to fish, swim or paddle. Canoes and kayaks are available for rent from the campground office.
- Reservations may be made up to 11 months in advance through ReserveAmerica.
Immerse yourself in the Real Florida as you paddle through moss-draped cypress trees, river otters, wading birds and numerous other sights and sounds along the crystal clear water way.
- Daily canoe and kayak rentals are available within the park.
- The Rainbow River is an aquatic preserve. Visitors are encouraged to review recreational rules and guidelines before proceeding. This includes the prohibition of disposable food and beverage containers on your person.
Concession and Restaurant
Guest Services Inc. runs a concessions stand in the headsprings entrance of the park. Visitors may enjoy sandwiches, snacks, ice cream and soft drinks.
With four pavilions at the headsprings 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.
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.
Geocaching is an outdoor game using hand-held global positioning systems (GPS) devices. It's effectively an inexpensive, interactive, high-tech treasure hunt that's a great way to learn geography. Participants use location coordinates to find caches. Some caches are easy to find; others are more difficult.
The biggest reward is the thrill of the search and the discovery of a place where you have never been. Geocaching should have minimal impact to the environment and conscientious land use ethics should be followed.
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. 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.
Uncovered picnic tables and grills are available for visitor use on a first come, first serve basis. Please do not move picnic tables. Personal chairs, tables, and tents may also be brought into the park.
- All picnic items must be carried up the long entrance walkway and through the tollbooth in order to reach the picnic area.
- Covered picnic pavilions may be reserved in advance. If a pavilion is not reserved or not yet occupied by the party with the reservation, picnickers may use the pavilion and share it with others on a first come, first serve basis.
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.
The cool, clear waters of the headsprings are refreshing for swimming. The average depth in this natural swimming area runs from 5 to 18 feet, and the water temperature averages 72 degrees year round.
- All inflatables, including rafts, tubes and balls are not allowed in the park for safety reasons. Swimmers may wear life preservers or use noodles.
- 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. There is no lifeguard on duty and all swimmers do so at their own risk.
Tubing the Rainbow River is a wonderful experience, but is not allowed within the headsprings area of the park. Instead, visit our Tubing entrance located on S.W. 180th Avenue Rd, Dunnellon, FL 34432.
There is a park entrance fee of $2 per person. Once you park at the tubing entrance, visit our concessionaire to rent your tubes and receive shuttle service. The cost for shuttle service is the same even if you bring your own tubes. Tube Rentals are available for $20 (tax included), 7 days a week.
- Guest Services, Inc. will shuttle you upstream two miles, where you enter the Rainbow River and float leisurely back to your vehicle. The trip takes about two hours to complete.
- We recommend avoiding the weekends, if possible, or arriving early on weekends and holidays.
- Only registered campers may tube from the campground using their own tubes.
- If you are interested in shuttling two or more of your own vehicles to tube, please find a location along the Rainbow River other than Rainbow Springs State Park to do so.
*Registered campers only: If you're a registered camper and using your own tube to float on the Rainbow River, you may exit the river via the State Park tube take-out and ride the tram back to the campground for $10.00 per person (tax included). *Available only during normal shuttle service hours*
Parking convenience fee for visitors parking in the tube lot and exiting at the State Park tube take-out via their own personal launch location.
- On arrival Guest will disclose the amount of individual tubers that will exit at the State Park take-out.
- The guests who want to use the facility to exit, will have to fill out waivers.
- They will then be charged a $20 convenience fee per vehicle as well as $2 State Admission fee per person.
- Guest will then receive a parking pass that is dated for that day, to hang in their vehicle.
- All vehicle must be out of the parking lot by 6:00 pm
Soon-to-be married couples are welcome to reserve our Overlook that is surrounded in a forest canopy alongside the 60 foot tall Rainbow Falls and serene gardens below.
Wedding parties may also choose to reserve one of the park's pavilions for the reception for an additional fee. All Wedding and Pavilion reservations must be made in advance in person or by calling 352-465-8555.
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.
Rainbow Springs State Park is committed to providing a variety of amenities accessible to all of our visitors.
These amenities include:
- Lift chair for swimming in the spring. The water is 12 to 16 feet deep. Personal flotation devices are encouraged if you are not a strong swimmer.
- Ornamental gardens.
- Campsites with concrete pad, picnic table, ground grill and nearby restrooms.
- Picnic facilities with tables and grills.
- Visitor Center.
- Interpretive exhibits.
Service animals are welcome in all areas of Florida State Parks. However, in the swim area, the incline is steep and the water depth ranges from 12 to 16 feet. As a natural area, alligators do sometimes visit the swim area and are naturally drawn to such animals as dogs. Therefore, we discourage visitors from taking services animals into the swim area.
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.
Canoe Kayak Launch
Visitors may launch privately owned canoes and kayaks from the headsprings launch area; but should be prepared to port their vessel 1,800 feet from the parking area to the launch area, due to no vehicle access to the river within the park.
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. Pet waste bags are provided in order to keep the park beautiful and safe for everyone.
For large gatherings, covered pavilions may be rented. These pavilions include picnic tables and grills, electric and water and must be reserved in advance.
Visitors are encouraged to reserve a pavilion far in advance, particularly for weekends and holidays. Reservations may be made in person or by calling 352-465-8555.