Updated: Aug 12, 2019
Paddling up river, surrounded by lush green trees with the sun up above, no one would ever suspect that this could be a challenge! However, we’re sitting on clear kayaks and the water is crystal clear, giving fantastic views of the marine life below. The paddle lasts about 2 to 2.5 hours depending on the speed of the group and any wildlife that we may see along the way, and is a great way to enjoy Florida’s wonderful weather and natural views.
As we enter a tunnel with trees on each side, forming a continuous canopy overhead, we see Rainbow Springs for the first time. Turtles jumping into the water and some basking, looking as if they are doing yoga on top of the branches. Once both rivers meet, cries of “oh wow! The water… it’s so clear. You can actually see through the kayaks!” fill the air. But the tour is just getting started!
Rainbow Springs is a first-magnitude spring - ranked fourth in the state of Florida for its volume of discharge. On average, 800 million gallons of fresh water are pumped daily into the entire length of the river. There are springs located at the headwaters, smaller springs leading out from numerous, hidden caves, rock crevices, and sand boils.
The river has plenty of wildlife as well! There are over 14 types of birds to be seen out there, including Great Blue Herons, Hawks, and Cormorants, as well as some bass and plenty of turtles. We’ve even seen otters catching a breath as they swim right by us! It’s a total adventure!
But it gets better! The farther up river you go, the bluer the water gets. The spring’s clear water is 72 degrees Fahrenheit year-round - always the perfect temperature!
If you're looking for some added excitement, there's even a tree with steps that can easily be climbed and used to dive into the crystalline, fresh water. Snorkelers will pass right by you and you’ll see flags in the water identifying divers in the area. But don’t worry about them, they’re too busy looking for fish than looking at you!
Half way through the tour your guide is going to ask if you want to stop for a swim. Depending on the group’s reaction, he or she will stop at a picturesque spot where you can stay and take pictures.
When the tour is about to end, it’s time to head back to the launch area. The river’s current is steady and precise, pushing everyone downstream at a steady pace. The scenery is breathtaking, and a serene quietness is setting in as you enjoy nature at its prime. Birds are flying right by you, and you’re not even paddling much, you’re just breathing it all in. Perfect day full of beauty and relaxation. Once you start on this journey, be ready for lots of great local nature and wildlife along the way!
What to bring
* Water Shoes
* Swim Wear
For more information:
Address: 20750 River Drive, Dunnellon, FL, USA 34431
Blog written by Ashley Brown
Published by 360° Sensomedia