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.
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.
CRYSTAL CLEAR & 72 DEGREES ALL YEAR ROUND
The Rainbow River, from which the park derives its name, begins at the park from numerous spring vents that issue an average of 500 million gallons of pure crystalline water every day at a year-round temperature of 72 degrees. The clear waters of Rainbow Springs come from several vents, not one large bubbling spring. The park is a popular destination to swim, snorkel, canoe, picnic, or stroll on the walking paths to enjoy the many plants and animals that abound here. The river itself supports a wide variety of fish, wildlife, and plants - many within easy viewing by visitors.
BIOLOGICALLY DIVERSE PARK
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.
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.
Dive at Rainbow River - $79.95
Includes: Boat trip, 1-tank (2 dives), snacks and beverages.
Snorkel at Rainbow River - $69.95
Includes: Boat trip, snacks and beverages
Discover Scuba Diving at Rainbow River - $179.95
Includes: Boat trip, 1 classroom session, 1 confined open water dive, 1 tank dive.
Underwater Naturalist Specialty - $149.95
Includes: 1 classroom session, 1 confined open water dive, boat trip on Rainbow River, 1 tank dive and PADI Speciality Certification Card.