Rainbow Springs State Park is an Idyllic recreational area located 3 miles north of Dunnellon in Marion County, Florida. The park, only 90 miles northwest of Orlando, borders 20 miles of northern Gulf Coast and features a crystal clear aquatic preserve.
In addition to the spring, this Florida state park has campsites along the river, hiking trails and picnic areas that overlook the gardens and man-made waterfalls. Guests enjoy kayaking, canoeing, snorkeling, tubing, fishing, bird watching along the trails and much more.
Explore the trails and gardens and experience the rustic and colorful Florida woods before having a swim in the refreshing spring. Bring a picnic lunch or stop by the park’s concession and pick up a sandwich, snack or ice cream.
The park’s historic gardens and waterfalls have been maintained since the area was a private attraction. During the springtime the area comes alive with the brightly colored azalea blooms.
Here are some more activities that you can do during your visit to Rainbow Springs State Park:
Boating at Rainbow Springs State Park
Spend a leisurely day paddling down the clear river through cypress trees and past a variety of wildlife. Kayak and canoe rentals are available inside the park or you may bring your own and launch from the designated area at the headsprings. If you do bring your own boat be aware that you will need to carry it across the 1,800 feet from the parking area to the launch area.
Please be aware that Rainbow River is an aquatic preserve and thus follow all recreational guidelines for enjoying the water.
Swimming at Rainbow Springs State Park
The year round 72 degree waters of the headsprings offers a refreshing dip for all guests visiting Rainbow Springs State Park. This natural swimming area contains clear waters and is around 10 to 18 feet deep (keep this in mind when swimming with children). Only life preservers are allowed in the headspring.
Tubing is allowed only from the designated tubing entrance (SW 180th Ave Road).
You may also enjoy snorkeling during your visit. This is a fun way to experience the underwater life inside the springs. And also a fun activity to do while staying in the campground. Snorkeling is allowed from the campground or from boats once you are outside of the headsprings area. Make sure you use a snorkeling flag!
Hiking at Rainbow Springs State Park
Take in the sights at Rainbow Springs State Park as you explore the trails through trees, bushes and wildflowers. The paved walkways pass 3 beautiful man-made waterfalls and breathtaking views of the river.
Here are some of the trails at Rainbow Springs State Park:
Yellow Trail – Easy 1.9 mile loop. This picturesque trail flows through the woods and along the river with views of tropical plants, birds and other wildlife creatures.
Blue Trail – Easy 1.2 mile trail that easily connects with other park trails to extend your hike through the woods and along the river.
White and Yellow Trail – Easy 3.5 mile sandy trail through pine trees, along the river and past dunes and flatlands. Lush and forested with lots of water views including water falls.
Fishing at Rainbow Springs State Park
If you’ll be staying for a few nights inside the park don’t forget to bring your fishing pole and supplies. Fishing is only allowed in the river and from the campground (for registered guests only). Fishing is not permitted in the aquatic preserve in the day use area.
For campers Rainbow River has catfish, bass, crappie, gar and lots of other pan fish just waiting to be caught. Make sure you pick up a Florida fishing license ahead of time.
Birding at Rainbow Springs State Park
As part of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail, Rainbow Springs State Park maintains itself as an excellent birding area. You’ll be sure to see many species of birds both native and migratory such as songbirds, wading birds, waterfowl and raptors during your visit.
Nature and Wildlife at Rainbow Springs State Park
See deer, squirrels, turtles, snakes, river otters, bobcats and possibly a Florida black bear or two during your visit to Rainbow Springs State Park. Remember to be aware of alligators, keep your distance and definitely do not feed!
Pets at Rainbow Springs State Park
Pets are allowed at Rainbow Springs State Park as long as they are leashed, supervised and cleaned up after. Pets are not allowed inside park buildings or in the water anywhere in the park (swim areas, the river or ponds).
Check out this guide for more information.
Camping at Rainbow Springs State Park
Bring your RV, camper or tent and spend the night inside the park! Rainbow Springs State Park has 60 campsites situated along the river just a few miles from the day use area. Guests enjoy the close access to the river and boating, swimming and fishing. Kayak and canoe rentals are available in the camp store.
All campsites have electric and water hookups. The RV sites are close to showers, restrooms, a laundry facility and a camp store. Tent only campsites are hike-in.
Rainbow Springs State Park
19158 SW 81st Pl Rd
Dunnellon, FL 34432
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Rainbow Springs State Park: