Tuesday morning we spent relaxing at our hotel on the beach, and I took a walk with my camera on the beach. After packing everything up, we were on the road to Fanning Springs by noon. We arrived a couple hours later to our state park cabin, which was GREAT. We stayed at Fanning Springs State Park, and loved the cabin there. It was nice and roomy, with a full kitchen, living/dining room, screened in porch and two bedrooms.
Look at that clear, aqua-blue water! It’s about 15′ deep here.
They have a diving platform over the deepest spot.
After swimming in Fanning Spring, which was just a couple minutes’ walk from our cabin, we went about 15 minutes away to Manatee Spring, which is much deeper but about the same size. What great snorkeling! The water is crystal clear, and a refreshing 72° (22° C) degrees. I will update with some photos from the underwater camera when we get home, but I don’t have a card reader with me for that memory card :(
On Wednesday we visited Hart Spring (pictured above) to swim, and stopped at Otter Spring, but didn’t swim there. They are both much smaller, private springs that you have to pay to enter. ($12/car load) I wasn’t that impressed with Hart Spring after snorkeling the gorgeous Manatee and Fanning Springs. They were also doing some construction and the sprinklers were on, which didn’t add to the atmosphere. We talked to some people who were also swimming there, and they said the spring is drying up, and didn’t used to be this shallow. There was also a lot of alge that occupied area that could have been good for swimming.
While we were at Hart Spring, we did get to see three divers surface. It was pretty cool to see them come up! There is an underground cave in the deepest part of the spring-fed pool, which leads to an extensive cave system, they told us. You can see the cave snorkeling, the entrance is only about 11 feet under…. Kinda creepy looking down into the blackness if you ask me!
Otter Spring was really small, but would have been a better place to swim than Hart, I thought. It had a deeper, larger pool where the spring came out of the ground, and was surrounded by grass and live oaks.
There are lots more springs in this area, but the ones close to our cabin were “blacked out”, or flooded while we were there. There were a couple about an hour away from our cabin, but after all the driving we had already done we decided to stick around Fanning Spring and swim there instead of trekking around more. If you go here, don’t miss Fanning and Manatee Springs!
Read about the springs…
You can read more about Florida’s Springs here.
Another great resource, here. “Underwater Florida”
Fanning Spring’s State Park Website.