Florida
1
www.stateparks.com
'Mockingbird' © stateparks.com
upload your photos

USA Parks
Florida
Central Region
Rainbow Springs State Park
RAINBOW SPRINGS STATE PARK
RAINBOW SPRINGS STATE PARK
19158 S.W. 81st Pl. Rd.
Dunnellon, Florida   34432

Phone: 352-465-8550
Reservations: 352-465-8550
Archaeological evidence indicates that people have been using this spring for nearly 10,000 years. Rainbow Springs is Florida's fourth largest spring and, from the 1930s through the 1970s, was the site of a popular, privately-owned attraction. The Rainbow River is popular for swimming, snorkeling, canoeing, and kayaking. Canoes and kayaks can be rented at the headsprings. A picnic area at the spring includes tables, grills, and pavilions. For large gatherings, private pavilions can be reserved. Tubing is not allowed in the headsprings area of the park. Tubers can launch at the Tube Entrance on SW 180th Avenue Road. The Campground Entrance with a full-facility campground is about nine miles from the day use area. The Headsprings Entrance is located three miles north of Dunnellon on the east side of U.S. 41. The campground is located on S.W. 180th Avenue Road about two miles north of County Road 484 and two miles south of State Road 40. The Tube Entrance is located 1.4 miles south of the campground Entrance on SW 180th Avenue Road.
Nature of the Area
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.
History of the Area
The crystalline waters of Rainbow Springs and Rainbow River have undergone many name changes throughout its history. Wekiwa Creek, Blue Spring, and Blue Run are just some of the names we have assigned this magical body of water. Since this place has attracted and sustained human inhabitants for over 15,000 years, it is very likely that many other names we will never know once described these waters in terms equally attractive. The crystal clear water, abundant fish, wildlife and vegetation has attracted a number of activities.

The springs became popular in the late 1880's when hard rock phosphate was discovered in the area. A small community called Juliette flourished near the springs during this "boomtown" era. In the 1930s the spring was developed as a tourist attraction. Sea walls, a lodge, gift shop, the waterfalls, and a reptile exhibit were developed. It was during this time that the name was changed to Rainbow Springs and Rainbow River because of the prism of colors visible when the sun's rays shot through the sparkling water. It was also due to the fact that there were some 30 different "Blue Holes" in Florida and this would help visitors find their way!

Under new ownership, the real heyday for the attraction occurred in the 1960s. During that time, activity greatly increased with glass-bottomed boat rides, riverboat rides, a log raft ride, a gift shop and cafe, an aviary, a leaf-shaped gondola/ monorail system, a rodeo, and submarine boat tours. When I-75 was built however, traffic was diverted away from this area and tourists began heading to a new attraction called Disney World. Rainbow Springs Attraction closed in 1974.

The entire Rainbow River was designated as a Registered Natural Landmark in 1972, an Aquatic Preserve in 1986, and an "Outstanding Florida Waterway" in 1987. The state purchased the original area that was the Rainbow Springs Attraction in 1990. Volunteers cleared the overgrown park and opened the park on weekends to the public in 1993. The Florida Park Service officially opened Rainbow Springs State Park on a full time basis on March 9, 1995.
FACILITIES AND ACTIVITIES OVERVIEW
Day-UseFishingyes
 Hiking Trailyes
 Swimming Beachyes
 Bike Trailsyes
BoatingLaunch Rampsyes
CampingWater/Electric Sitesyes
 Full Hookup Sitesyes
WinterActivitiesyes
Camping
The Rainbow Springs State Park campground is located on the river about a mile and a half downstream from the main headspring and day use area, a driving distance of approximately 6 miles. All sites have water and electric (20, 30, and 50 amp), and are equipped with sewer hook-ups. Most sites will accommodate a 40-foot RV with slide out. A dump station is located between the upper and lower campgrounds. A campground store, recreation hall, showers & restrooms, laundry, pool, and playground complete the amenities offered.
Accommodation Availability Calendars
Swimming
The cool, clear waters of the headsprings attract swimmers from late spring through fall. Swimming and snorkeling are restricted to the buoyed swimming area. The average depth in the swimming area runs from 5 to 18 feet; the water temperature averaging 72 degrees year round. Swimming hours are from 8 am to one hour before sunset. The swimming area is closed during thunderstorms. All inflatables, including rafts, tubes and balls are not allowed in the park. Swimmers may wear life preservers or use the popular " swim noodles."

During the busier summer season lifeguards may be on duty. 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.
Canoeing
Starting at the state park and flowing into the Withlacoochee River at Dunnellon, the 5.6 mile long Rainbow River is truly an outstanding waterway. The crystal clear water flowing past moss-draped cypress trees competes for your attention with the river otters and large numbers of wading birds. Launching access to the river is somewhat limited. Many boaters launch at the popular KP Hole County Park, approximately 1-? miles downstream from the park. Privately owned boats launched at the headsprings must be carried from the parking area approximately 1000 feet to the canoe launch. Campers may rent or launch their own canoes or kayaks at the state park campground. Canoes and kayaks, including paddles and all safety equipment, are available for rent from our Visitor Service Provider, Dragonfly Watersports. A number of special regulations apply to the Rainbow River, so be sure to review the river rules prior to any boating activities.


Get directions
to this park:

by Town and state
OR
by zip code

Nearby Parks


Picnicking
Picnickers may enjoy a view overlooking the main spring basin and swimming area. Picnic tables, grills, and three covered picnic pavilions (one may be reserved, special fees apply) surround the " bowl" area, a grassy basin sloping down to the headsprings itself. Picnic items must be carried up the long entrance walkway and through the tollbooth in order to reach the picnic area. Larger groups may wish to rent the more private Felburn Pavilion, ideal for those wanting a special location for a family reunion, wedding reception or other gathering. Contact the park for details.
Trails
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. While every season has much to offer, the February and March bloom of azaleas is a popular time to visit the park. 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.
Area Attractions
Tubing the Rainbow River is a wonderful experience, but, tubing is not allowed within the headsprings area of the park. The park's Tube Entrance is located on SW 180th Avenue Road 1.4 miles south of the Campground Entrance. The trip takes about two hours to complete and is a loop system; you start and end your float from the same location. Tube rentals and a shuttle service that takes you upstream two miles are available from our Visitor Service Provider Dragonfly Watersports. For those wanting a longer tube float there is a four hour trip that starts at the K.P. Hole county park. For information about K.P. Hole County Park call the park at 1-352-489-3055. NOTE: K.P. Hole is not associated with Rainbow Springs State Park. The trip that originates at K.P. Hole starts and terminates outside the state park.
Things To Do in the Area
Cactus Jack's Trail Rides - Ocala, FLHorseback Riding
We offer trail rides to singles, couples, or groups. All rides are guided to assure safety for rider and horse. There are trails through the Florida Horse Park and into the Cross Florida Greenway Trail system. Most trails are shaded and quite scenic.
Web Site: cactusjackstrailrides.com/
17.8 miles from park*
Flatwater Adventure Tours - Brooksville, FLFishing Charters
Flatwater Guide has two astonishing adventures to choose from. Bass Fishing and a Nature/Scenic tour. Fish for Largemouth Bass in remote areas of the Withlacoochee River, where it's not uncommon to fish all day and not see another living soul. You could also choose a lazy canoe tour up and down the pristine Weeki Wachee Springs canoe trail where you can see tons of different fish, wildlife and see the amazing Manatees in their natural habitat.
Web Site: flatwaterguide.com/Home_Page.html
39.1 miles from park*
Riverscape Boat Tours LLC - Ocala, FLBoating
Ride silently on nature tours on the silver river. The most beautiful river in the world. We transport guests back in time to wild Florida as it was thousands of years ago - untouched and untamed. Sparkling clear water that has over a hundred feet visibility. Book the Silver River trip now as the boats fill fast.
Web Site: riverscapesboattours.com
18.6 miles from park*
Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
June 12 One of the most beautiful springs by Mr and Mrs Thomas P. Stokley
The beauty of the natural spring is breathtaking and the natural surrounding vegetation is well cared for and inviting to stroll through. The ammenities are everything you could ask for at a park and the drive to and from is easy. All in all one of the best state parks we have visited.


Area Accommodations (over 15 miles away)
Wynnhaven Riverside RV Park - Bushnell, FLCampgrounds
Wynnhaven Riverside is located on County Road 48 in the small town of Bushnell, Florida. Whether you are visiting Florida and want sun or prefer to camp in the shade of Florida's grand oak trees, we have units available for both.
Web Site: wynnhavenriverside.com
34.3 miles from park*
The Gulf Side Motel - Cedar Key, FLHotels/Motels
The only motel in Cedar Key that is located directly on the Gulf of Mexico and is a short 5-minute walk to downtown shopping and entertainment. You can fish from our private, covered pier and boat dock, relax by the water and enjoy our covered picnic area and swings or rent a bicycle, golf cart or kayak and explore all that Cedar Key has to offer
Web Site: gulfsidemotelcedarkey.com
38.1 miles from park*
Pets
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. Doggie pot bags are provided in order to keep the park beautiful and safe for everyone.

Pet camping is available in our campground. Florida law requires that pets be vaccinated against rabies. Pets must be confined, leashed, or otherwise under the physical control of a person at all times. Leashes must be hand-held and may not exceed six feet in length. Pets must be well-behaved at all times and must be confined in the owner's camping unit during designated quiet hours (11:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m.). Unconfined pets must be leashed and cannot be left unattended for more than thirty minutes. Pet owners are required to pick up after their pets and properly dispose of all pet droppings in trash receptacles. Pets considered a nuisance are not allowed to remain in the park.
Share Your
Rainbow Springs State Park
Photos
(click here)
Weather Forecast, (34432)

Directions
From I-75, exit at the second Ocala exit onto State Road 40. Take State Road 40, west. Drive until it dead-ends at U.S. 41. Turn left, the park entrance is on the left-hand side of the road. From Tampa, take U.S. 41, north. Drive through the town of Dunnellon. The Headsprings Entrance is located on the right-hand side of the road, approximately 2.5 miles north of Dunnellon. From areas in the northwest, take U.S. 41 to the town of Williston. After passing through Williston, you will come to a traffic light where State Road 40 has come to a dead-end. Go through this light; the Headsprings Entrance is on the left-hand side of the road. The Campground Entrance is separate from the headsprings day use area and is located 2.5 miles north of C.R. 484 off of S.W. 180th Avenue Road or 2.5 miles south of Highway 40 off of S.W. 180th Avenue Road.

USA Parks
Florida
Central Region
Rainbow Springs State Park
© 2014 StateParks.com