Summer seemed to have flown by and is almost over! Forget beach days, these natural springs driving distance from Tampa should be on your summer bucket list. Why go to the crowded beach filled with tourists when you can explore some of Florida’s natural beauty instead. Many of these state parks are cheaper to visit than a day of parking would cost you on Clearwater beach and are usually less populated, especially if you head there on a weekday. Cool down in the 72-degree water year round, if you’re lucky enough you may even spot some manatees. If you really want to make the most out of your trip, consider renting a kayak to get around the river more quickly! It’s definitely an underrated work out, plus when you get tired of rowing, you can sit back in your water craft and enjoy the clear water and vegetation around you.
There are so many gorgeous springs and state parks in Florida, but with help from Creative Loafing, we kept our list condensed to areas that are just under a two hour drive out of Tampa. That way you don’t have to worry about any overnight fee’s or hotel costs. If you plan on making it out to one of these springs, we recommend heading there early as some parks close when the reach capacity.
Have you ever gone tubing down one of these springs? Or had an interaction with the manatees that flock there for the warmer waters in the winter time?