Rainbow Springs

Useful Information

Location: 5 km north of Dunnellon on the east side of U.S. 41.
Open: All year daily 8-sundown.
Fee: Headsprings Entrance: Adults USD 2, Children (0-5) free.
Classification: KarstKarst Spring
Light: n/a
Dimension: Yavg=20,850 l/s, T=23 °C.
Guided tours:
Address: Rainbow Springs State Park, 19158 S.W. 81st Place Road, Dunnellon, Florida 34432, Tel: +1-352-465-8555.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1880 became popular with people from nearby boomtown Juliette.
1930s developed as a tourist attraction.
1960s new ownership, attraction flourishes.
1972 designated as a Registered Natural Landmark.
1986 designated as an Aquatic Preserve.
1987 designated as an Outstanding Florida Waterway.
1990 acquired by the State of Florida.


Rainbow Spring. USGS, Public Domain.

Rainbow Springs is the fourth-largest spring of Florida. From the 1930s to the 1970s the site was a popular privately-owned attraction. Since then, it is managed as a State Park. It is popular for swimming, snorkeling, canoeing, and kayaking. At the spring there is a picnic area with tables, grills, and pavilions. Canoes and kayaks can be rented.

The spring was known to the native Seminole Indians, archaeological evidence indicates that the spring was used for about 10,000 years. The Seminole called this place Wekiwa. Later it became known under the name Blue Spring by the white settlers. It was renamed in the 1930s when it was developed as a tourist attraction. The reason was simply that both names, Wekiwa and Blue Spring were common in Florida and not distinctive enough for an attraction. So they renamed it Rainbow Spring. The site offers swimming and kayaking.

The blue colour of the water is a result of the high amount of limestone in the water. The karst spring is generally called an artesian spring, which means a spring from a confined aquifer containing groundwater under positive pressure. As a result the water rises in the well until it reaches the hydrostatic equilibrium. In this case the pressure and the rising is rather moderate, but the amount of water is enormous. There are many smaller springs which discharge from numerous caves along the entire length of the river. The Rainbow River is only 10 km long until it merges with the Withlacoochee River at Dunnellon.