Rainbow Springs State Park is in Dunellon, Florida southwest of Ocala and is known for its headspring basin which produces up to 600,000,000 gallons of fresh water per day forming the Rainbow River. This park has a variety of activities such as swimming, snorkeling, canoeing, kayaking, and wildlife viewing. There are 3 waterfalls of which 2 where not running when we were there.
Yes there are 3 entrances to this state park so make sure you know where you are going before you go. There is the tubing entrance, the campground entrance, and the Headsprings entrance. AND these are 3 separate areas. We went to the campground entrance first to check in and get parked. We had read that you need a gate code to enter. Our reservation paperwork did not state that so we called the park and asked about as we drove there and they provided it to us. If you don’t have a gate code then when you get to the campground entrance you will have to call (while potentially blocking other campers) to get the code. Interesting.
After getting through the gate we meandered on to the camper registration area and checked in and on to our site.
Site: Site 3 (Loop B) – pull-thru
Comments: A lovely campground and a great site (long site at 90 feet). Our site was directly across from the restrooms AND they had a washer and dryer outside. I certainly made use of that. I could see it from our site so I could see if anyone else was using it.
There are a few short trails in the campground and a canoe launch/amphitheater area along the Rainbow River.
The Headsprings entrance is about 6 miles from the campground and takes about 10 or 15 minutes to drive. You will need your campground car pass to enter the Headsprings pedestrian entrance for free. We just took a cell phone picture of the car pass after we parked at Headsprings and showed it to the man at the kiosk at the Headsprings Visitor Center and got in without any problems.
There is a swimming area with lovely clear water and lots of people standing on a deck and a few people in the water.
Click here for a video showing the springs and how clear the water is.
There are a few paved trails that meander through the park with views of the water and the vegetation. It is an old and tired state park, very little signage/maps, and a few areas that have been abandoned and grown over. There used to be zoo here and we think we saw some of the remnants of it but we weren’t sure. We saw a few dried out waterfalls and one running water but nothing to explain when they operate and why they weren’t operating now. It seems their main business is the kayaking, canoeing, swimming, and tubing. But it is probably a beautiful area in the spring with flowers in bloom. We read that the park can become quite crowded on weekends and the park will close the Headsprings entrance when it gets full.
As tired as this state park is we still enjoyed walking around the Headsprings area and taking in the sights and we really enjoyed the campground.
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