Rainbow Springs was a highlight of our Florida holiday.
We did not camp there, but did spend an afternoon exploring the springs and the trails of the park. The property was a popular theme park from the 1930s-1970s, until losing favor to newer attractions like Disneyworld (c.1970) and other Orlando locations.
Florida State Parks purchased the land in the '70s and have allowed it to revert to the wild, though there are still relics of its theme park days evident throughout the park. Ruins of a small zoo, rodeo grounds, and man-made waterfalls are interesting footnotes to its former life. There used to be glass bottom boat tours and an aerial tram way, both long gone. However, you can rent canoes and kayaks at a concessionaire inside the park, and cruise the beautifully clear blue-green springs. There's a buoyed-off swimming area for easy access to the year-round 72 degree water. Lots of fish can be spotted by the naked eye, because the water is so amazingly clear. (Note: there are also warning signs about alligators!)
Other hightlights: Beautiful dense tropical forests, and interesting birds. Plus a butterfly garden. The visitor center is well-stocked with park history, books and souvenirs and the staff is helpful and informative.
We really enjoyed Rainbow Springs State Park and will be sure to visit again next time we're in the vicinity.
- Also Known As:
- Rainbow Springs State Park Hotel Dunnellon
- Rainbow Springs State Park Dunnellon, Florida