Top 5 Beaches and Springs to Visit in Florida

Top 5 Beaches and Springs to Visit in Florida

 

As a Florida native, I’ve become very accustomed to visiting beaches and springs. But there seems to be a common pattern within most “Top 10” travel lists for Florida. It is always the less authentic, tourist-based places that seem to be advertised, while the sometimes more beautiful, less recognized areas seem to be ignored. Places like Devil’s Den Spring and Siesta Key Beach are constantly put on travel lists. Don’t get me wrong, Devil’s Den and Siesta Key Beach are great. But, for one, Devil’s Den takes weeks in advance of planning, including making a reservation since it is visited so often, and Siesta can get really overcrowded with people. Here is a list of the top 5 beaches and springs in Florida to visit for an authentic, local approved experience. This list of beaches and springs can serve for those making a last-minute trip to Florida, without time to make month ahead reservations and definitely for those who do not want to wait in long lines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Devil’s Den Spring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Siesta Key Beach

1.)    Kelly Park Rock Springs, Apopka

 

 

Kelly Park Springs is amazing! I have witnessed it personally, and it is by far the most beautiful spring I have gone to. None of the pictures on google images does it justice. This spring is clean, not too populated, but maintains a rustic feel to it. In the summertime, it can reach maximum capacity quickly, but this applies to any spring in Florida during the summer. This spring has everything, a swimming hole, a lazy river that you can float down on with tubes, even an area to kayak. What made it different for me, was the floor of the spring. It had beautiful white sand covering the ground, with patches of sea grass on the floor that reflected beautifully off the clear, blue water. There were lily pads, and you’re surrounded by lovely green trees while going down the narrow “river”. The prices for this spring are unbelievable considering how magical it is!

http://www.ocfl.net/cultureparks/parks.aspx?d=22&m=dtlvw#.WrAivXXyuCQ

 

2.) Beer Can Island, Longboat Key

 

Beer Can Island, also known as Dead Tree Beach is a hidden gem worth visiting on Florida’s Gulf Coast! When you look it up on google it says that people usually arrive on boat, but this is very untrue, a lot of young people go, and have created a little path between the trees to reach the coast. Just ask the locals once you park how to get there. The water in this beach is especially beautiful. When I went, there were not as many trees in the water as the photo shows, and it is crystal clear, with not a fish or seaweed in sight. An important tip when visiting is to wear shoes, the path to get there has hidden roots in the sand that can pinch you! I highly recommend this place for all younger crowds looking to meet other young people.

 

3.) Ichetucknee Springs, Columbia

 

I  personally haven’t visited this spring, but my friend has and judging from the pictures it looks incredible! It is close to the Gainesville area so expect college students. This is one of the widest lazy rivers I’ve seen. It has a swimming, snorkeling, and canoeing area, along with the lazy river that you go down on with tubes! The lazy river is about 30-40 minutes, so it is on the longer side. The prices are reasonable because it is not a tourist attraction. It is definitely on my list of springs to visit!

https://www.floridastateparks.org/park/Ichetucknee-Springs

 

4.) Juniper Springs, Ocala

 

I have tried going here before in the summer, but it was at maximum capacity, which is understandable because people camp in the forest it is located in. Juniper Springs is located inside of Ocala National Forest, which is known to have many hidden gems hidden inside. I highly recommend going for the canoeing trail and then taking a dive in the swimming hole pictured here! What makes this spring special is how preserved it is, because it is located in a national forest it has a very rustic, wild feel to it. If you go, be sure to visit Fern Hammock Springs! Fern Hammock is not for swimming, it is preserved for the alligators.

https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/ocala/recarea/?recid=34064

5.) South Lido County Park, Sarasota

 

This is one of the cutest beaches you’ll ever visit! The sand is white, and the water clear, the view is full of islands with houses and people boating. The actual coast is small, so it is perfect for those who get panicky about theft. This is a beach that the locals go to, and the park is full of people barbecuing. It does not get overpopulated, it is free, and parking is a breeze!

Florida is a lovely state full of tropical, aquatic wonders. Whichever location one chooses, it will surely not disappoint. However, it is definitely worth trying out different spots every once in a while. Florida has much more to offer than Disney, crowded beaches, and tropical resorts. Florida has hidden gems in every city that many look past and miss out on. Therefore, next time you head down to Florida make sure to check these hot spots out!