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General Information

Rainbow Springs State Park
Copyright: Florida Division of Recreation & Parks
Rainbow Springs State Park
Description - Rainbow River has attracted and sustained human inhabitants for over 10,000 years. The crystal clear water, abundant wildlife and the discovery of hard rock phosphate began attracting residents and tourists as early as the late 1880s. When Interstate 75 was built, the area declined; however, 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 of Florida purchased the site in 1990 and with the help of volunteers, the site opened for weekend visitation on March 9, 1995.

Rainbow River pours 500 million gallons of fresh water daily into the river, which eventually spills into the Withlacoochee River. The park encompasses 1,000 acres comprised of 826 upland acres, 79 wetland acres, and 15 submerged acres. Within the park are nearly a dozen distinct natural communities including sandhill, flatwoods, upland forest, and hydric hammock. Once the site of extensive formal gardens, a variety of wildflowers and trees remain for the visitors' pleasure. Wildlife is equally attracted to the area.

Attractions - This biologically diverse park offers the outdoor enthusiast a variety of recreations. There are trails that lead to 60-foot cascading waterfalls, a swimming platform, and a butterfly garden. Anglers, swimmers and snorkeling enthusiasts share clear water with largemouth bass and bluegill. Canoeists find the trail to the campground only 1.5 miles away while enjoying wildlife views of wading birds and the American alligator. Traveling to the large campground via car is a longer trip, approximately 6 miles. The park is not yet a contiguous unit. Canoe and inner tube rentals are available from the park office and campground. Bathhouses and fresh drinking water are added creature comforts.

Recreation - Visitors to Rainbow Springs State Park enjoy swimming, picnicking, nature study, walking, camping, and canoeing. The park is known for its bountiful azalea garden. Paths stay occupied during the February and March blooming months. The park offers canoe rental at the headsprings day use area, and canoes and inner tube rental at the campground.

Seasonal special events include Spring in the Springs, Santa Over the Rainbow, Earth Day, guided canoe trips, and a variety of musical presentations.

Climate - Florida experiences mild, comfortable winters and warm to hot, humid summers. Summer Fahrenheit temperatures average in the mid to high 80's (28 - 29 Celsius). Winters are mild and dry with temperatures averaging 58 - 64 degrees Fahrenheit (14 - 18 Celsius). Precipitation for the central area averages anywhere from 56 inches to less than 52 inches per year. The region offers a great warm escape for outdoor recreation during the cold northern months. August and September are peak months of the hurricane season that lasts from June 1 through November 30.

Location - Rainbow Springs State Park is located three miles north of Dunnellon on the east side of U.S. Highway 41. The camping entrance is located 2 1/2 miles north of County Route 484 off S.W. 180th Avenue Street.


Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
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Filed By: Mac (Bradenton, FL)
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: My first experience at Rainbow Springs was during a Scout outing this past September and I am going with family and friends this weekend (Dec. 29). In order to get a 'good' campsite (with trees and near the water), one must arrive early otherwise you might end up in the 'parking lot' campsites which are devoid of trees and privacy. If tubing down the river, make sure that you understand that the springs (located several miles upstream of the campground) are of the vent variety. The flow of water from vented springs is extremely dependent on rainfall and the amount of ground water available. The float time from the campgrounds to the take-out about 3.5 miles downstream can take anywhere from 2-5 hours. Be sure to take water (in plastic containers...no glass allowed) and plenty of sunscreen. The river is gorgeous and we saw plenty of wildlife including about a dozen otters.


More Information

Contact Information:
Rainbow Springs State Park, 18185 SW 94th Street , Dunnellon, FL, 34432, Phone: 352-489-8503

Additional Information:
Central Florida - Central Florida was once the cattle and citrus farming capitol of Florida. Today, it is well known for its high-tech theme parks. However, outdoor enthusiasts need not search far to find an extensive list of natural attractions.
Florida Lakes, Rivers & Springs - The lakes, rivers and springs in Florida range from huge fresh water lakes to spring-fed serpentine rivers to year-round naturally warm swimming holes.
Florida State Parks - The mission of the Florida Park Service is to provide resource-based recreation while preserving, interpreting and restoring natural and cultural resources.

Links:
Florida Division of Recreation & Parks - Official agency website.

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