Signature Event Cancellation
It is DEP’s priority to protect the health and safety of our visitors, staff, volunteers and concessions. To support safe social distancing, the following events have been canceled: Santa Over the Rainbow (December 2020) and Cracker Days (Feb. 27-28, 2021). We appreciate your cooperation and understanding as we continue to review and make additional operational changes deemed necessary for the protection of public health. For additional updates, please visit our Safety Updates Page.
BUSY TIME FOR RAINBOW SPRINGS
Rainbow Springs has very high visitation on weekends and holidays. The park will close when it reaches capacity and no vehicles, cyclists or pedestrians will be allowed to enter, except for registered campers. If you are renting a pavilion, hosting an event or have been invited to an event, please plan accordingly. Once the park reaches capacity, the park will close for the day. If you leave the park you will not be allowed to re-enter until the following day. For safety reasons, you will not be allowed to wait in line in the park when we are closed, nor can you park on the roads adjacent to the park. Vehicles left outside the park on the road or private property may be towed at the owners expense.
Exact Change Only
In an effort to reduce contact and ensure the safety of our visitors, we ask that all cash transactions be with exact change for our $2 per person entrance fee. We do accept major credit cards as well.
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 has served as an important natural resource for humans and animals for many years. At one time, mastodon and mammoth fossils were found in the Rainbow River, along with relics of the American Indians who used the river for transportation and fishing. Much later, in the early 20th century, the surrounding area was mined for phosphate. The new industry brought a boom and the towns of Juliette and Dunnellon were founded. Juliette, once located on what is now park property, no longer exists.
In the 1930s, Rainbow Springs became a privately owned theme park. Most freshwater springs tourist attractions around Florida offered some form of glass bottom boat ride. But at Rainbow Springs the distinctive sub-boats had stairs that went below the waterline and visitors could look out at eye level. Waterfalls were built on piles of phosphate tailings, and a zoo, rodeo, gift shops and a monorail with leaf-shaped gondolas were also added.
The development of the interstate highway system in Florida eventually led to the demise of Rainbow Springs. The interstate passed by the small towns that hosted such attractions, and newer, modern attractions in Orlando drew many away from the older parks. By 1974, Rainbow Springs was closed.
It reopened as a state park in the 1990s. Area residents who supported the acquisition of the park soon formed the Friends of Rainbow Springs, the park's citizen support organization. The group led the way in opening the park by physically clearing paths and bringing life back to the gardens and other features.
Today, the Rainbow River is a designated National Natural Landmark, a Florida aquatic preserve and an Outstanding Florida Water. The park consists of more than 1,470 acres and has three main entrances: the head-springs day use area, the tubing facilities and the campground.
Visitors from around Florida and the world visit Rainbow Springs State Park to swim in the crystal-clear water, tube down the peaceful Rainbow River, and enjoy picnicking with friends and families.