Rainbow Springs State Park Florida

By Holly Giles | Florida

As an Amazon Associate, I may earn commissions from qualifying purchases from Amazon.com

Rainbow Springs State Park in Florida

Rainbow Springs was a destination for a family getaway. We spent one day touring the park. It was fascinating to see the remnants of the old roadside attraction that it was in the 1930s. Florida does a great job of transforming important springs that were once attractions back into natural habitats. The state always leaves some remnants of the past to see how we, as humans, sometimes exploit natural beauty for monetary gain.

Gian moss-laden oak trees and palms will take you back to old Florida. There were once botanical gardens when the park was an attraction. The azaleas and other native plants will draw you into the park’s splendor.

Where is Rainbow Springs?

Dunnellon is the small town where the park is located. Marion County has several state parks with natural springs: 19158 S. W. 81st Place Road, Dunnellon, FL 34432. The phone number at the park is 352-465-8555, and the website is Florida State Parks.

Rainbow Springs is the fourth largest magnitude spring. Even though it seems tucked into a small town, it is easy to get to and close to major cities. Several rental homes are in the area, along with hotels for your trip.

How much does it cost to go to Rainbow Springs State Park?

Florida State Parks do a great job of making our natural resources available to the public. Each park has its own entrance fee. Rainbow Springs charges $2 per person at the time of this writing.

Tubing is a popular activity at the park, and tube rentals are available. At this time, the cost of a tube rental is $20, which includes the shuttle ride back to the park from the tuber’s exit point downstream.

How early should you get to Rainbow Springs?

The earlier, the better. Rainbow Springs opens at 8 am, and the crowds gather by mid-morning. The tubing is spread out, so most times of the day are good for floating down the spring. Tubing does close earlier than the park, so be sure to check the times on the day you would like to visit.

The park is open year-round, opens at 8 am, and closes at sunset except for the tubing. Four picnic pavilions are on a first-come, first-serve basis. On our visit, it was pretty busy. We hung around the picnic area until a table opened for our family to have lunch.

Concessions are available. Please verify they are open for your visit. Some parks only have food concessions on weekends.

Can you swim in Rainbow Spring?

Swimming is encouraged at Rainbow Springs. Our boys enjoyed the water most of the afternoon. This park is a large open area with roped-off points that keep swimmers from going too far into the river. Like most springs in Florida, the temperature is around 72 degrees year-round.

I was distracted by azaleas and butterflies, along with many native plant species, while the boys swam. I enjoyed watching all the families have fun in the water and enjoy a simple time swimming in a natural spring.

How long is the tube ride at Rainbow Springs?

The ride is about 4 hours, depending on the weather and how long you want to meander. There is a shuttle that will pick you up at the tubing exit. That is included in your tube rental price. The pickup is generally available from May 1 to September 30th each year.

How many waterfalls are at Rainbow Springs?

There are three man-made waterfalls throughout the park. The park was once a privately owned attraction popular for the glass bottom boat rides and the aerial tram that went through the park. The waterfalls are visible on a hike through the park. There are many meandering sidewalks. You can take short walks or a 2.5-mile hike to see all three waterfalls.

Does Rainbow Springs have alligators?

The number one question most visitors who are not from Florida ask about alligators. The answer is always yes. The waters of Florida are their natural habitat. However, they do not want to be around people. The chances of an alligator being near the spring are slim when swimmers, tubers, and people are in kayaks. Always be aware of your surroundings in Florida. Remember, we share nature with many creatures.

See our park gear picks

Our experience

Our visit was in early April before the tubing was open. We enjoyed the swimming area and walking around the park. This was my first visit, although not for most of my family members. My husband came several times growing up. The weather was excellent, and I will come back in other months to experience all the activities there are to do in Rainbow Springs State Park.

It seemed tucked in a small town that took back roads to get there. You know I love back roads and not busy highways. I still think there is plenty of old Florida to share with visitors. Experiencing the beauty of nature is the only way we will protect it for future generations. I have been able to share so much of it with my boys. I plan on doing the same someday with my grandchildren. The Florida State Park system does a great job, and I know there will be plenty to share with the next generation.

images from Florida Memory



Florida Vacation Rental

When you plan your trip to Florida, book your home away from home at River City’s Retreat. Nestled in a central location to all Florida has to offer visitors. River City’s Retreat


About the Author

Holly Giles is a wife, mother, and storyteller. As an author and Florida Master Naturalist, she writes about heritage homemaking skills, motherhood, and why Florida offers the best hidden natural gems to explore as a family.