Rainbow Springs Kayak Guide (10 Best Kayak Adventures)

Rainbow River is a beautiful, crystal clear, 72-degree, 5.7-mile-long river near Dunnellon, Florida that joins into the Withlacoochee River. It’s also a National Natural Landmark, an aquatic refuge, and a Florida Waterway of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Rainbow River is a pristine piece of history that can’t be found anyplace else on the planet. If you wonder what to with Rainbow springs kayak, continue to read. We will be sharing 10 of the best kayak adventures available for you to secure as of now.

1.  Take a Jump from the Floating Dock

At the entrance to the headsprings, there is a large floating pier where you may jump or dive. My father and brother compete to see who can create the biggest splash in the springs by jumping or diving from the massive floating pier.

If you don’t want to leap from the dock, there are stairs on the other side of the dock that go into the frigid water (there is a tiny drop off on the final step). If you’re traveling with tiny children, keep an eye on them and make sure they’re wearing life jackets. Because there is no shallow water for them to swim in, they are not good swimmers. The water is really deep!

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2. Headsprings Swimming

On a scorching hot Florida summer day, nothing beats swimming in a cool 72-degree river. It’s invigorating! Go for a swim or bring a pool noodle to lounge on as you take in the gorgeous ambiance after gathering the confidence to leap from the floating pier and dive into the frigid water (depths vary from 5-18 feet).

Even though the river is crystal clear, the majority of it has a lot of vegetation on the ground, making it difficult to see the true bottom. Swimming in the roped-off headsprings has the advantage of removing all vegetation from inside the ropes, allowing you to view the ground! If you’re anything like me, you’ll be relieved to know that there’s nothing hiding in the weeds that you can’t see. From the nature walk, a view of Rainbow Springs State Park’s headspring and floating pier. Bring pool noodles to float on; rafts and blow-ups are not permitted, and the water is deep!

3. Headsprings Snorkeling

The water is very clean, making it ideal for snorkeling. Even though the main swimming area of the headsprings has been cleared of most vegetation, there is still much to see! There are rock formations, fish, turtles, and even an underwater spring near the swimming area’s far end.

We usually carry masks, flippers, and snorkels with us so that we can swim underwater and observe the fish and plants; you never know what you’ll see! Be warned that snorkeling is only permitted inside the headsprings’ buoyed swimming area. Snorkeling may be done from a boat or from the campsites while on the river. If you’re snorkeling outside of the buoyed swimming area, you must wear a diving flag by regulation.

While snorkeling, please do not collect any souvenir rocks or shells from the ocean. “How long would it take to replace the springs if everyone removed one piece of the spring?” the park rangers explained. It won’t be long! Let’s preserve the springs looking as lovely and natural as they are right now.

4. Take a Lunch Picnic

After swimming all day, you’ll probably build up an appetite, so bring something to eat for lunch. If you’re visiting during the summer or on a vacation, I suggest arriving to the state park as soon as it opens to ensure that you get a table under one of the three enormous shelters. During the summer, the park becomes quite crowded.

Rainbow Springs State Park has three huge, covered pavilions atop the slope. Each shelter includes a grill and many picnic tables for you to use if you want to grill some burgers (or vegetarian burgers!). We usually carry a watermelon, bottles of water, and snacks to keep us hydrated throughout the day.

Don’t worry if you can’t get to the park early enough to obtain a table under the cover. There are some trees beneath which you may spread blankets in the shade, as well as a few scattered tables. If you’d like, you may also bring in your own folding seats and tables. The only drawback is that if there is an afternoon rainstorm (which occurs often during the summer), you’ll have to pack up your belongings and return to the gift shop area or your vehicle. At Rainbow Springs State Park, a family enjoys burgers at a picnic table beneath the pavilion. If you’re throwing a party or celebrating with a large group, you may contact ahead and rent a shelter for $100.

5. Kayaking, SUPing, or Canoeing at Rainbow Springs

Guest Services, Inc rents kayaks and SUPs for 1-2 persons for $16 per hour or $50 for the whole day. Alternatively, a three-person canoe may be rented for $22/hour or $60 for the day. You may reach them at (352)-533-4305 if you have any more inquiries.

6. Rainbow Springs Tubing

I’ve gone river tubing many times, and it’s a lot of fun to do with a bunch of friends or family! Tubing the whole length of the river takes two hours. You won’t be able to get off halfway through, so plan on being on the river from beginning to end.

S.W. 180th Avenue Rd, Dunnellon, FL 34432 is where you’ll find the tubing entry. The admission charge to the park is $2 per person, and tube rentals are $20 each (tax included). Guest services, Inc will transport you two miles upstream and drop you off at a point where you may join the river and float back to your vehicle.

7. Rainbow Springs Campgrounds

You may spend the night and camp if you can’t get enough of the gorgeous river! The campsites are located within a short distance from the state park. The entry is located at 18185 SW 94th St in Dunnellon, FL 34432.

8. Visit the Waterfalls and Gardens

Set aside some time to stroll around the lovely, shaded gardens surrounding the headsprings. Oak trees, magnolias, azaleas if you come in the early spring, you’ll be in for a colorful treat! and man-made waterfalls abound throughout the gardens. Weddings are even conducted near Rainbow Falls, which is a waterfall. There’s also a walkway that leads to the headsprings, where you can capture some stunning photos of the turquoise water!

A photo collage of Rainbow Springs State Park’s waterfalls and a joyful couple strolling on the nature path. Because walking all of the paths is a bit of a trek, carry a necklace fan, sunscreen, and a water bottle to remain hydrated. You’ll be itching to plunge in the chilly water after you’ve finished strolling the paths!

9. Keep an eye out for wildlife

I’m not a bird specialist, so I can’t tell you which bird species I saw in the state park, but there were a lot of them flying about. On the route, there was a sign that claimed you may view woodpeckers, wading birds, raptors, singers, and owls!

10. Play Frisbee on the Big Hill

It is possible to pack a frisbee to throw around between the shelters and the head springs on the large hill. As soon as you enter the park, you’ll understand what I’m talking about. It’s the ideal spot for a game of frisbee with the entire family or any new acquaintances you may make.

How much does entrance cost?

The cost of admission to the park for the whole day is merely $2 per person.

Are you able to swim in rainbow springs?

Yes, the headsprings are swimmable. For visitors’ enjoyment, there is a floating dock and a roped-off swimming area.

Manatees are there in the springs?

I’ve been coming to the springs for over 20 years and have never seen a manatee at the headsprings or sail down the river. However, when stand up paddle paddling on the Weeki Wachee river, i saw many manatees. I conducted some research and discovered that the canal between the Gulf of Mexico and the rainbow river has an outdated lock mechanism that prohibits manatees from accessing the river.

Are you allowed to bring your own tube?

When you float down the river, you may bring your own tube or float. The float, however, must not exceed 60 inches in length.

What is the weather like right now?

The weather in Florida may be fickle, and afternoon thunderstorms are common throughout the summer. If a storm begins while you’re tubing down the river, you’re not permitted to depart the river at any location other than the tubing exit since you’d be trespassing on private property.

Check the weather forecast before you go and allow enough time to float down the river before any storms are expected to arrive. If you’re in rainbow springs state park, you have the option of waiting out the storm in one of the shelters or making a hasty retreat to your vehicle.

Do the springs have alligators?

Yes, there are alligators in rainbow river, and there are signs telling you to be cautious everywhere. I wouldn’t be worried if there were any alligators at the headspring since I’ve been visiting the springs for over 20 years and have never seen one. One of the reasons i love swimming in the headspring is that you can see the river’s bottom. If it helps, there has never been a documented alligator attack on the rainbow river.

Do the state park have public bathrooms?

Rainbows springs park does have two public restrooms. One restroom is at the concession stand at the park’s entrance, while the other is near the headsprings, a little beyond the floating dock.

Final words

On your next visit, you must visit Rainbow Springs State Park and enjoy kayaking. The State Park is about a 10-minute drive up the road from the Get Up and Go Kayaking Rainbow Springs launch spot at KP Hole. When you arrive at the State Park, you must pay a $2 admission charge to have access to all of the park’s amenities. As soon as you enter the park, you will be overwhelmed by the beauty and natural surrounds. A picnic on the grass, a trek, a visit to the waterfalls, or a dip in the crystal clear waters of the freshwater spring are just a few of the things we recommend. Being surrounded by nature and taking in the breathtaking views that Rainbow Springs State Park has to offer is really relaxing!