Ginnie Springs Tips: Tubing Kayaking Swimming and More! (2023)

Thinking to visit Ginnie Springs? Good Choice!

From the moment we read you could consume a beer or two while floating down the lazy Ginnie Springs river we were sold – Ginnie Springs in High Springs Florida had officially made it on our Florida bucket list!

Heading up to Atlanta, and feeling rather thirsty, we decided to stop in for a float (and beer!!!) down the lazy river.

Here’s everything you need to know about the springs and why you should visit this Summer!

Ginnie Springs Tips: Tubing Kayaking Swimming and More!

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Why Visit?

Okay so, we are far from Florida Spring newbies. A few years ago we visited Alexander Springs.

On this trip we visited Rainbow Springs, Crystal River/Three Sisters Spring where we swam with manatees, popped our tubing cherry at Kelly Park and continued the tubing fun at Blue Spring finally stopping off at Juniper Springs and Silver Springs before finally making our way here.

If you want to compare these springs, you can click on the links or check out our ultimate guide to the Best Springs in Florida.

The big difference between these springs is that the aforementioned Springs are all State owned and operated and do not allow you to bring alcoholic beverages inside.

Being a privately owned spring, alcohol is permitted in and around the springs so you can enjoy a cold one while you float down the river on a tube or kayak. This is one of the only springs that permits alcohol currently.

I must say, sipping an ice cold beer as I floated down the river was a bit of a treat!

This does mean that apon occasion, especially during Spring break, the spring can attract a younger crowd heading to the spring for a weekend of hardcore partying.

If you want to avoid the youngsters our best tip is to avoid spring break or the various alcoholic festivals held at the spring. While we were there, beerfest was on.

Just in terms of crowds, it may be also advisable to avoid Ginnie Springs memorial day weekend.

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High Springs Weather: when is the best time to visit?

As Florida is warm and sunny year round, weather-wise, it is always a good time to visit the springs.

As it is a natural spring, Ginnie Springs water temperature remains at a constant 72 F (22 C) year round.

That being said, the outside temperature would make tubing the springs a little more uncomfortable in the winter months. During winter there is also reduced Ginnie Springs hours.

Where is Ginnie Springs?

Located in High Springs, a little further north than Ocala National Forest, it is a bit of a mission from most places so most people visit from the bigger cities as a weekend trip.

If you are visiting from interstate or abroad, it’s best to Fly into Orlando as opposed to Miami if you wish to visit the Springs as Orlando to Ginnie Springs is only a 2 hour drive.

From Miami you are looking at a 5 hour drive. It’s 4.5 hours from Palm Beach. It is a 2.5 hour drive from Daytona Beach and around a 3.5 hour drive from Sarasota Beach.

It is also a popular spring to visit from Tampa being around 2 hours away.

Use this address for your GPS: 7300 Ginnie Springs Road, High Springs, FL 32643

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About the Park

Unlike the other springs we had visited in Florida, Ginnie Springs State Park is a private business. This means it is not really a State Park after all!

One would imagine there is only 1 spring but in fact there are several springs: Devil’s Eye, Devil’s Ear and Devil Spring.

Fun Fact: These springs producenearly 80 million gallons of water daily.

(Video) Camping, Night Diving and Kayaking at Ginnie Springs | GoPro

No ranger station as you drive through the gates, this spring is a full on institution.

Entering the main reception area there is about 10 registers with staff waiting to serve you. By the way, the reception is a full blown shop with drinks, food, floaties and other things to buy.

We quickly got diverted to the “camping line”. Sign in was a bit of a process. We needed to sign Ginnie Springs liability waivers.

This task can actually be done in advance. If we had our time again, we would recommend signing the waiver in advance. You can access the waiver on the Ginnie Springs website.

After you sign the waiver, they give you a map which is surprisingly helpful – it is quite impressive how big the area is!

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Tubing – An alcoholic tube Run!

The main reason we were drawn to these springs was the ability to have a beer as we floated along.

Ginnie Springs are definitely are some of the best tubing in Florida.

We are not heavy drivers by any stretch but the thought of enjoying a cold one as we floated along did it for us.

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The tube run at Ginnie was the longest run we have experienced (around 1 hour from start to finish).

In comparison, Blue Spring was a 15 minute tube run and Kelly Park a 30 minute tube run.

There is a VERY long tube run you can complete on the Rainbow River (4 hours). This is far too long to be tubing for us.

The Tube run current was also faster than other Springs we have experienced, a big win.

The negative was that on the actual Santa Fe River, it is deep and you cannot see the bottom.

I actually quite enjoy watching fish swim beneath me as I tube along. The water in the Santa Fe River is too dark to see anything beneath you.

The freaky thing about this is what lies beneath – DUN DUN DUN.

I know exactly what you are thinking! Alligators! Truth be told, I was too.

It is technically possible for there to be alligators. I wouldnt have a clue if they are there or not as the water is quite murky.

As I’m writing these words – dark, murky – I’m screwing up my face, thinking why on earth did I get in that water!

In reality you need not worry as many, many people will be doing the tube run with you and as far as I’m aware, there has been no recorded Ginnie Springs alligator attacks.

Plus, it is super fun & very relaxing AND you can have a beer. What’s not to love?

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I bring my own tube?

Yes, it is totally fine to bring and use your own tube. In fact most people do!

At State Run Parks, there is a limit on the size of your tube (at Blue Springs it was 6 ft, at Kelly Park 5 ft) but nup, not here!

Feel free to bring the most gigantic floatie you can find!

A 10 man floatie for all your mates to sit in as they sip beer and float along together? Totally acceptable.

If you don’t want anything crazy, we would recommend this one.

(Video) Ginnie Springs - High Springs

Don’t worry about pumping your giant floatie with air before arrival. There is an awesome air pump which you can use for free.

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If you are on holidays and don’t want to buy a tube, you can rent one directly from the shop – $6 for a single tube and $12 for a double tube.

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What time does Ginnie Springs Open/Close?

Ginnie Springs Outdoors hours of operation differ depending on the season.

In summer, GS is open from 8.00am – 7.00 pm in the evening Monday to Thursday, on Friday and Saturday from 8.00am – 9.00pm. It closes at 8.00pm on a Sunday.

In winter, opening hours are 8.00am – 4.00 pm Monday to Thursday, on Friday and Saturday from 8.00am – 8.00pm

As it’s a private business, there is 24 hour maned access for campers.

Price List

It is one of the most expensive springs to enter.

For a day pass, it costs $14.02 for adults, $3.73 for children, children 5 and under are free.

If you would like to scuba dive the spring it costs, $22 for certified divers and $30 for all other divers. If you are super serious about diving it is possible to get an annual dive pass for $330.

We would personally recommend camping which costs $22.43 per adult, $6.54 per child with children 5 and under free. If you want to upgrade to full powered RV sites, it costs an extra $10.28 per RV site per night.

If you want to spend multiple days at the spring we would highly recommend camping. Firstly, you can beat the crowds, secondly, it is more affordable than 2 days entry and thirdly, you don’t have to worry about driving back to the spring the next day.

Truth be told, camping here is not for the faint of heart. It is a dirty ground and the toilet blocks tend to get quite muddy from the spring.

For a bit more comfort, we would recommend this place nearby or there are Ginnie Springs cabins available for rent at $175 a night (sleeps 8, fee for 4 people, additional people additional fee)

Hey, its no $3 Kelly Springs people!

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Can I bring a picnic?

Another popular activity is picnicking.

It is a big space with many picnic tables so need to fight for a spot (unless it is 4th of July in which case it might be necessary to fight to the death!)

Most people brought with them a full BBQ lunch. If you don’t want to bring food with you there is a well stocked canteen where you can buy food.

The canteen is a good place to chill out between tubes as it has blazing fast wifi, even better than starbucks!

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What Sports Facilities are there?

This is a big place with a lot of room to enjoy ball sports.

People were really making good use of the volleyball court.

Bring your own ball or the shop have some for rent. What did I tell you, this is no State Park! Pretty well everything you can think of is available for rent.

(Video) Florida Travel: Camping & Snorkeling at Ginnie Springs with Friends

Kayaking, Canoeing and Stand up Paddle Boarding

We noticed that many families preferred to canoe or kayak the tube run as opposed to tube.

We commented to each other that kayaking or canoeing would be a much safer option if you have young children and want to get out on the Santa Fe River.

For people who love stand up paddle boarding, this activity is also particularly popular. We tried stand up paddle boarding for the first time in Scotland and loved it!

You can bring your own equipment or you can rent them from on premises shop. A 3 hour canoe, kayak or paddle board is $12 to hire. It costs $20 if you want it for 6 hours.

Note: paddle upstream when you start as there is no pick up service.

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Swimming and Snorkeling

One of the most popular activities in the springs is swimming and snorkeling.

While the Sante Fe River is dark and musky, the many springs that lead out to the river are crystal clear and a beautiful blue colour making them the ideal place to go swimming or snorkeling.

As the river is a constant 72 degrees year round, swimming and snorkeling is possible year round. Truth be told, 72 degrees is a little chilly for us.

We visited in late October and the Santa Fe River was quite murky. We did read however, that it clears up in summer and early fall and provides for good snorkeling.

You can see large gar, bass, mullet, catfish, turtles snorkeling the Santa Fe River. I can attest to the accuracy of this information as we saw a turtle pop his little head up as we floated along in our tubes.

If you decide to snorkel the Santa Fe River in summer, State law requires you to use a divers flag. If you don’t have one, like most other things, you can rent one direct at the shop for $5.

To rent a mask and snorkel it costs $6, including fins will set you back $10.

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Can you Scuba Dive?

Ginnie Springs is an extremely popular dive site in Florida.

Like Blue Springs, there are some tricky cavern dives at Ginnie for the experienced diver.

If you don’t have your diving gear with you, surprise surprise, you can rent virtually anything you need at reasonable prices at the shop.

Divers have died completing these dives so we would suggest only doing the cavern dives if you are an experienced diver.

You cannot use a light while Ginnie Springs diving unless you are a certified diver entering the cavern or cave system. The reason for this is for the protection of unexperienced divers.

Two of the most popular dives are Devil Spring and Devil’s Ear.

Are there alligators in Ginnie Springs?

Technically, there are alligators. Anywhere with water in Florida has the risk of alligators.

Occasionally there are alligator spottings but their sightings are rare.

If you are interested in seeing an alligator, I would highly recommend a visit to the Everglades. The Anhinga TrailorShark Valley Trailif you like to bike is best for alligator spotting.

Are there manatees in Ginnie Springs?

Occasionally, there are Ginnie springs manatee sightings in winter but I wouldn’t say it is their favourite place to hang out by any stretch.

(Video) Ginnie Springs tubing 4th July fireworks

In winter, you have a near guaranteed chance to see a manatee in Blue Springand year round at Crystal River.

If you want to see manatees the best place to see them in our opinion is Crystal River. See our guide to all the places you can see manatees in Florida.

Are dogs allowed?

No, any dogs or pets are not permitted to bring with you unless they are a service animal.

We did see a few sneaky stowaway doggies at Ginnie. I don’t think they were service dogs so they must have snuck in.

Ginnie Springs Outdoors Camping

Tent camping and RV camping is VERY popular to say the least.

Some very serious campers make their way to Ginnie Springs campground. These campers seriously have the whole kit and kaboodle.

If you want to go all out with some cool camping gear, this is a great place to do it!

As stated above, camping costs $22.43 per adult, $6.54 per child with children 5 and under free. If you are looking for full powered sites, it costs an extra $10.28 per site per night.

There are numerous camp bathrooms all over the spring but as it is a bit of a party place, they can get a bit messy and muddy.

What’s cool is there is a very hippie style of camping. Basically, you just find a site that is free and pitch your tent/ set up your campervan.

Note: Ginnie Springs camping reservations are only needed for water and electric campsites. Unless it is a popular weekend, or maybe the Jun/July holidays I would expect you are pretty safe just to show up. If you would like to book in advance, you can do so here. The website provides helpful coronavirus updates.

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Camping set up at Ginnie Springs

Hotels Near High Springs

If you don’t want to camp (aka not up for the muddy showers!!), there are a few hotels near High Springs in Gainesville and the other surrounding towns nearby.

The best accommodation near High Springs is in Gainesville as not only is there really great hotel options but there is great facilities like Walmarts and Starbucks. The downside is that Gainesville to High Springs takes around a 40 minute drive.

There are also a few closer towns which have less facilities but have a few good hotels in town. See our post on the best Ginnie Springs hotels for more details.

Insider Camping Tips

If you decide to visit, here are our insider tips:

  • Alcohol is allowed so bring a cooler and fill it up!
  • Leave your furry friends at home, sadly they are not welcome
  • You can bring a tube with you or hire one, the bigger tube the more fun!
  • If you want a romantic picture or just an Instagram snap, early morning morning or late afternoon when most of the day trippers have left is best.

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What to bring with you?

Here is what we would recommend bringing with you:

Deaths?

There are no reported alligator deaths however, divers have died completing the cavern dives at the Springs. For this reason, we highly recommend you take extra care if you chose to dive Ginnie Springs.

When to Capture the best Pictures

If you would like to take beautiful photography with not many people around you will either need to be at the springs very early in the morning or wait until late afternoon, just before close time.

Summary

That’s all from us folks.

We were drawn to visit due to its alcohol friendly policy but a day at Ginnie Springs turned out to be so much more!

The crystal clear water, the antics of people in their oversized floaties and the picturesque springs will keep us coming back for more! It truly is a state favorite and a locals delight!

Exploring Florida further?

If you are on vacation in the Sunshine State, you might also like to check out our other posts to help you plan your trip:

(Video) GINNIE SPRINGS | Best Spring In Florida

  • Florida Foods you Must Try!
  • Best Everglades Airboat Tours

FAQs

How long does it take to float down Ginnie Springs? ›

Ginnie Springs Tubing

The float down the river, depending on the current, is about an hour from Devil's Spring to Twin Spring. If the water is a bit higher than normal with a stronger current you may have to exit earlier. The walk back is about fifteen minutes along a sandy road.

How long is the tube ride at Ginnie Springs? ›

The tube run at Ginnie was the longest run we have experienced (around 1 hour from start to finish). In comparison, Blue Spring was a 15 minute tube run and Kelly Park a 30 minute tube run. There is a VERY long tube run you can complete on the Rainbow River (4 hours).

Are there water snakes at Ginnie Springs? ›

You can always expect gators and snakes in any open water in Florida.

Can you bring your own kayak to Ginnie Springs? ›

Canoes, Kayaks, & Stand Up Paddle Boards

There is no better way to get in touch with nature. You can bring your own canoe, kayak or stand up paddleboard. No worries if you don't have one, we've got you covered with a rental.

How cold is the water at Ginnie Springs? ›

Water Temperatures At Ginnie Springs

The seven springs found at Ginnie Springs maintain a temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit or 22 degrees Celsius all year round – the perfect temperature for a refreshing plunge into the water on a hot summer's day!

What is the clearest spring in Florida? ›

For visitors in pursuit of pure Florida, it doesn't get much better than Ginnie Springs, which has some of the clearest waters of all the natural springs in Florida. Located within a two-hour drive of major hubs like Orlando, Jacksonville, and Tallahassee, it's off the beaten path yet easy to reach.

Does Ginnie Springs have a lazy river? ›

Bring your tubes or rent them there - get on the river with friends and just float your worries away. Tie yourself up to your buddies and really live the lazy life. Bring music and refreshment and enjoy lunch under the trees.

Can you drink alcohol at Ginnie Springs? ›

The consumption of alcoholic beverages is permitted. Keg beer is permitted with written permission from Ginnie Springs Outdoors. No glass containers in common areas or river. Guests consuming alcoholic beverages are expected to do so in moderation and to behave responsibly.

Can I bring my own tube to Ginnie Springs? ›

One of the most popular things to do at Ginnie Springs is to go tubing down the river. You can bring your own tube, raft, paddleboard… basically anything that floats will work.

Are there alligators in Ginnie spring? ›

Expect to see animals in and out of the springs such as manatees, alligators, different types of turtles, tortoises, snakes, birds and more. Cypress and other hardwood trees line the waterfront, and about 600 acres of woods surround Ginnie Springs.

Do alligators go in spring water? ›

Alligators certainly come into springs. I grew up in DeLand Florida and in 2015 a 61 year old man was killed in Blue Springs by a very large gator. There are even videos on YouTube showing the alligator resting under a log in Blue Springs.

Do alligators swim in the springs in Florida? ›

Any body of fresh or brackish water in Florida potentially has an alligator in it, though they tend to be wary of people and usually retreat or keep their distance. If you see an alligator at a spring, if there has been a recent report of one, or there are “No swimming” signs up, then do not swim.

What should I bring to Ginnie Springs? ›

What to Pack for Ginnie Springs
  1. Lighting. Our campsite was LIT this year, and not just because some of our acquaintances are basically wild animals. ...
  2. Towels. One for the spring/river and one for the shower. ...
  3. Clothesline. ...
  4. Plastic bins. ...
  5. Sunscreen, extra sunglasses, & a big sun hat. ...
  6. Board games. ...
  7. Hammocks. ...
  8. Packing Cubes.
21 May 2018

What is off season at Ginnie Springs? ›

If you're up for a trip in the off-season (late fall through early spring), you will be rewarded with no crowds and warm water - the springs are 70-72 degrees F year round. They cool you off in the summer, and warm you up when it's 40 degrees F outside.

Is Ginnie Springs crowded? ›

Crowds At Ginnie Springs

It is usually always pretty family friendly, especially if you are on the river, there are just more people! Unlike other springs in Florida, Ginnie Springs rarely fills to capacity so there is no need to rush there super early to make sure that you get in.

How deep are the springs at Ginnie Springs? ›

The Ginnie Spring basin is a large, bowl-shaped depression measuring over 100 feet across and 15 feet deep. A 150-foot long run connects the basin to the nearby Santa Fe River. The chief attraction here is the Ginnie Cavern, whose wide, open entrance can be found at the bottom of the basin.

How Deep Is Ginnie Springs Florida? ›

The Ginnie Springs basin appears as a large depression measuring approximately 100 feet (30 m) across and with a maximum depth of 20 feet (6 m). The basin connects to the Santa Fe River via a channel, through which the spring pumps a staggering 35 million gallons of water every day.

Can you drink Florida spring water? ›

Springs Quick Links. Florida is home to more large (first- and second-magnitude) springs than any other state in the nation. Springs are the window into the health of our groundwater, which is the source of 90% of drinking water for Floridians.

Where is the water the bluest in Florida? ›

Siesta Key

The sand is powdery white, the breeze soft and the water some of the most crystal blue water in Florida.

What is the prettiest springs in Florida? ›

Rainbow Springs near Dunnellon often is considered the most beautiful of the state's 33 first-magnitude springs, more than any other state and more than any nation can boast. A few hours' visit to any of Florida's bubbling wonders can reveal a living composition of wildlife and plants.

What is the bluest springs in Florida? ›

Silver Springs State Park

Silver Springs is hands down one of the pretties and bluest head springs in the state.

What is the longest lazy river in Florida? ›

The Holiday Inn Resort at Orange Lake is located in Kissimmee, just outside Orlando. The resort's lazy river is a whopping 1,200 feet—that's the length of more than 3 football fields!

Is it safe to go tubing in Florida? ›

Safety & Tips for Natural River & Springs Tubing in Florida. Tubing in these major Florida's state parks and natural springs is generally considered quite safe.

How many springs are at Ginnie Springs? ›

A cool dip in the crystal clear water of one of our seven springs will ease your worries and help you recharge from a busy schedule. Enjoy time surrounded by family and friends in an outdoor escape that isn't too out of reach.

Does Ginnie Springs have a rope swing? ›

No rope swings allowed. No air horns or loud car horns allowed. No glass in common areas, springs or river.

Does Ginnie Springs have WIFI? ›

Ginnie Springs offers amenities such as volleyball courts, covered pavilions, playground, and even wifi-access.

Are there fish in Ginnie Springs? ›

About Ginnie Spring

Ginnie Spring is near Gainesville. The most popular species caught here are Largemouth bass, Suwannee bass, and Bluegill.

What city is near Ginnie Springs? ›

Ginnie Springs is a privately owned park in Gilchrist County about 6.5 miles (10.5 km) northwest of High Springs, Florida, USA. It is located on the south side of the Santa Fe River, to which it is connected.

What springs in Florida allow alcohol? ›

And now you can purchase beer and wine at Wekiwa Springs State Park. The Central Florida spot began selling alcohol at its concession stand in April, the Orlando Sentinel reported. The park also added a larger food menu with items like pizza, burgers, ice cream and sodas.

How much does it cost to float down the Rainbow river? ›

Tubing price is $20 per person with or without your own tube. We are currently accepting all types of payments.

How deep are the springs at Ginnie Springs? ›

The Ginnie Spring basin is a large, bowl-shaped depression measuring over 100 feet across and 15 feet deep. A 150-foot long run connects the basin to the nearby Santa Fe River. The chief attraction here is the Ginnie Cavern, whose wide, open entrance can be found at the bottom of the basin.

How Deep Is Ginnie Springs Florida? ›

The Ginnie Springs basin appears as a large depression measuring approximately 100 feet (30 m) across and with a maximum depth of 20 feet (6 m). The basin connects to the Santa Fe River via a channel, through which the spring pumps a staggering 35 million gallons of water every day.

Can you drink alcohol at Ginnie Springs? ›

The consumption of alcoholic beverages is permitted. Keg beer is permitted with written permission from Ginnie Springs Outdoors. No glass containers in common areas or river. Guests consuming alcoholic beverages are expected to do so in moderation and to behave responsibly.

How much does it cost to float down the Rainbow river? ›

Tubing price is $20 per person with or without your own tube. We are currently accepting all types of payments.

Are there any alligators in Ginnie Springs? ›

Expect to see animals in and out of the springs such as manatees, alligators, different types of turtles, tortoises, snakes, birds and more. Cypress and other hardwood trees line the waterfront, and about 600 acres of woods surround Ginnie Springs.

What is the best spring in Ginnie Springs? ›

Devil's Eye/Ear and the main Ginnie Spring are the most popular, but don't forget to check out July Spring (a quick swim across the river from Devil's Eye/Ear), Dogwood Spring (my personal favorite), Twin Spring, and Deer Spring - they're all smaller but pretty!

How many caves are in Ginnie Springs? ›

PROFILE: The four diving caverns at Ginnie Springs reach a maximum depth of 60 feet. Explore the cavern area that's illuminated by light from the surface, but never advance any farther. Only certified cavern and cave divers can carry lights and advance beyond ambient light into the cave system.

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