Florida June 13, 2017
8 Lazy Rivers In Florida That Are Perfect For Tubing On A Summer’s Day
It’s no secret that Florida summers can be unbearably hot. This time of year, Floridians begin a season-long conquest for fun ways to get out of the house without melting into a puddle. Sure, swimming pools and water parks are fun, but nothing beats the beauty of Florida’s natural lazy rivers.
Because we have readers from other states, we want to give a warning that, yes, there are alligators living in every one of these places. They usually prefer to stay clear of these busy areas. Nonetheless, it’s always wise to stay alert and aware of your surroundings when exploring pretty much anywhere in Florida.
1. Ichetucknee, Fort White
Ichetucknee might be the most well-known tubing spot in Florida, and with the gorgeous scenery here it's easy to see why. Memorial Day to Labor Day marks the summer tubing season here when visitors are allowed to launch from the north end. There are daily limits on the number of tubers and this popular park can reach maximum capacity easily in summer months, so arrive as early as possible. This park, located northwest of Gainesville, is open from 8:00 a.m. until sundown every day of the week. The north launch closes at 2:00 p.m., or earlier if the 750-person limit has been reached. Address: 12087 SW U.S. Highway 27, Fort White, FL 32038.
2. Rainbow Springs State Park, Dunnellon
Rainbow Springs State Park is beloved for its beautiful manmade waterfalls and historic footpaths through lush Florida foliage, but tubing is another great way to experience the park. Visitors start at the tubing entrance and take the shuttle upstream. Then they relax and enjoy the two-hour float downstream back to the parking area. Memorial Day through Labor Day, the tubing entrance is open seven days a week, from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The tubing entrance is located at S.W. 180th Avenue Rd, Dunnellon, FL 34432.
3. Kelly Park, Apopka
Kelly Park - The most popular activity in this Orange County park is tubing down Rock Springs Run. The trip is about a mile long and takes about 30 minutes to complete. If you want a longer float, you can always walk back upstream and go again and again. The park is open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. every day of the week during the summer, but it often fills up by mid-morning. As with all of these popular parks, arriving early is your best bet. Address: 400 E Kelly Park RD, Apopka, FL 32712.
4. Blue Spring State Park, Orange City
Although this run is on the shorter side, at only 1/8 of a mile, it's still lots of fun to go tubing and swim in the springs on a hot summer day. Even though swimming and tubing are only allowed in the summer, be sure to return in the winter when this is one of the best spots in the state to see manatees. Address: 2100 W. French Avenue, Orange City, FL 32763.
5. Madison Blue Springs, Lee
Tubing in the beautiful crystal-clear springs and adjacent river at this state park is offered weekends only, May through September. Madison Blue Springs is an internationally celebrated cave diving destination and was named the best swimming hole in the country by USA Today in 2015. Come check it out and see what all the fuss is about. Address: 8300 NE State Road 6, Lee, FL 32059.
6. Ginnie Springs, High Spring
Ginnie Springs - Drift down the lovely Santa Fe River on this hour-long trip from Devil's Spring to Twin Spring, then take the 15-minute walk back on the trail. This is one of the few places that allow alcoholic beverages while tubing, which could be a good or bad thing. If you have small children, you might want to consider going during the week, as weekends can draw a more rowdy crowd. Address: 7300 Ginnie Springs Rd, High Springs, FL 32643.
7. K.P. Hole County Park, Dunnellon
Another park located in Dunnellon, here you can enjoy a nice, long 4-hour float down the Rainbow River. Due to the length of the run, children under three are not allowed to participate. Visitors are allowed to bring food and beverages for this lengthy float, but they must be in reusable containers. If four hours seems daunting to you, you can hire a local boat to take you up the river so you can take a two-hour float down to K.P. Hole.
8. Blackwater River State Park, Holt
Although it might not be crystal-clear like some other rivers (due to tannins in the water), the Blackwater River is actually one of the purest sand-bottom rivers in the country. Plus this park in northwest Florida has some very beautiful and different scenery from what you'll find at the parks in Central Florida. Kayaking and canoeing are very popular activities here, but tubing is allowed in designated areas also. The park is located at 7720 Deaton Bridge Rd, Holt, FL 32564, but follow the brown signs to avoid confusion with navigation systems. Tubing (among other activities) on the Blackwater River is also offered at Adventures Unlimted Outdoor Center, located at 8974 Tomahawk Landing Rd., Milton, FL 32570.
Tip: For longer trips, bring a floating cooler and rope to tie your floats together so you don’t get separated.
Have you gone tubing at any of these Florida parks? What’s your favorite place to spend a hot summer day in the Sunshine State?