Florida is known for its pristine beaches and salty air. It’s a hot spot for family and friends looking to vacation at the ocean and soak up some sun. While Florida does provide some fantastic ocean beach hubs, it is also home to some excellent river-tubing.
Tubing is a popular summer activity in the mid-western states and is not commonly known as a southern state attraction. Florida offers a wide variety of floats on rivers, creeks, and even springs. Some of these floats originate at state parks; others begin on a side road pull-off that may even have a picnic table or parking spot.
Inflate your inner tubes to pull out the credit card for a tube rental and hit some of the best tubing spots in Florida. Don’t forget to pack a snack and some water!
- Hit Up These Tubing Spots in Florida For Fantastic Family Fun
- Top Tips for Safe Tubing
Hit Up These Tubing Spots in Florida For Fantastic Family Fun
If you’re familiar with the waterways of Florida, you know that tubing floats are plentiful. But are you aware of the top tubing spots in Florida and what they have to offer for you and your floating companions?
Whether you are planning on hitting the river for a slow, relaxing float, or you’re planning on partying on the water with friends, here are the top 11 of the best places to go tubing in Florida.
Rock Springs Run at Kelly Springs
Rock Springs Run, located at Kelly Park, is one of the most popular springs in Florida. This is due to its proximity to Orlando in the Northwestern part of Orange County. With a central location, Orlando visitors and residents do not have direct access to travel to the beach on a hot afternoon. Tubing at Kelly Park is a great way to cool off and enjoy the water.
With a total run of three-quarters of a mile, the Rock Springs Run at Kelly Springs is a short, peaceful float. It takes approximately 20 -30 minutes but is filled with natural beauty and calm waters.
Kelly Park does not offer tube rentals, so before entering the park, purchase a tube to float on or rent one from a tube rental spot just down the road.
Because of the popularity of the park, it regularly reaches capacity at an early hour. When this happens, the park closes for late arrivals, and you cannot enter. To ensure entrance to the park, make sure you arrive early.
With rates at $3 for two passengers in a vehicle or $5 for a carload, the Rock Springs Run float is very affordable.
Ichetucknee Springs State Park
Ichetucknee Springs State Park is open from 8 a.m. to sunset and is in Fort White, FL. While it is best known for its tubing experience, the Ichetucknee Springs State Park is home to wildlife like turkey, ducks, otters, and beaver and is a National Natural Landmark.
Ichetucknee Springs State Park offers two different tube launch options: the Midpoint Tube Launch and Dampier’s Landing. Both floats range from 45 minutes to an hour, and the park rents tubes on a first-come, first-serve basis. The park offers a tram and rental service for tubers to make the most of the tubing adventure.
The tram service and tube rentals are available at the General Store, at the park’s South Entrance. The General Store offers a wide variety of tube rentals to fit any rental needs. Tubes such as double tubes, headrest tubes, rafts, and inflatable kayaks are all available to rent. The type of tube rental and whether or not you decide to utilize the convenient tram service determines the overall cost of the float.
If you’re looking for a tubing spot where you can leisurely enjoy a nice long float with friends and family, the Ichetucknee Springs State Park float is a noble choice.
KP Hole and the Rainbow River
Located an hour and 40 minutes north of Tampa in Dunnellon, FL, the KP Hole on the Rainbow River is a must for tubing on a hot summer day. Due to its spring-fed water source, the Rainbow River stays at a refreshing temperature of just over 70 degrees.
Tubing adventures at KP Hole on the Rainbow River are ideal from April 1 – September 30. Beautiful views make this float one of a kind and perfect for a weekend getaway.
The tubing adventure on the Rainbow River at KP Hole is a lengthy 4.5-hour float, so ensure to apply sunscreen and bring snacks to hold you over. Please note that alcoholic beverages are not allowed on this float.
You have the option to purchase the full tubing package, which is $25 a person. This includes entry to the park, a tube, and the shuttle service to take you back to your vehicle once you complete your float.
You can also bring your own tube, bringing your total to $17 a person with the shuttle service and park entry. If you plan on utilizing your own tube and transportation method, the cost is $10 a person.
Ginnie Springs is located in High Springs, FL, and feeds off of multiple different springs. Since this is a spring, the water temperature remains cool, and the impeccably clear water is a sight to see. Ginnie Springs is open year-round for tubing due to Florida’s warm climate. The park opens at eight, and closing time changes from season to season.
Admission to the park runs at $15 during the off-season and $20 during the in-season. An additional $6 fee is processed if renting a tube from the guard shack. You do have the option to bring a tube, and the park even provides an air station if your tube needs a little more air before the float.
This float takes about an hour if floating from Devil’s Spring to Twin Spring and a 15-minute walk back to your starting destination. Because no return transportation is available, make sure to bring some sandals with you for your walk back.
A unique feature of the Ginnie Springs float is the ability to bring alcoholic beverages along on your float. Ginnie Springs is one of the few springs in the area that allow alcoholic beverages. So take advantage and get ready to have a good time with a beer in hand!
Blue Springs State Park
Another spring-fed tubing option in the sunshine state is Blue Springs State Park in Orange City, FL, just 28 miles southwest of Daytona Beach. The park is home to the historical Thursby House and a protected part of the spring where manatees gather in the winter months.
Blue Springs State Park is reasonably priced at $6 per vehicle or $4 if you arrive on your own. Tube rentals are $6 for the first hour and an additional $3 for each additional hour. The float is only ⅛ mile which takes around 15 minutes to complete.
This peaceful float is perfect if you require sunshine as the river width provides little shade from the sun. However, if you do not wish to soak up so much sun, be sure and bring a hat and sunscreen for protection.
Springs Creek is a two-mile stretch of water that receives water from Merritt’s Mill Pond. The creek is in Jackson County, FL, and eventually enters the Chipola River,
Floating from Spring Creek to Magnolia Road will take you several hours as it is a 4-mile float. The sandy creek floor makes it easy on your feet if moving slowly and choose to walk your tube.
Tube rentals are available through Bear Paw Adventures in Marianna, FL. Rates depend on the size of the tube but range from $15 to $60. You also have the option to rent a float for your cooler. If you choose to bring a floatation device, the fee is only $10 per person. This fee includes tube inflation, a shuttle pass, and a parking pass.
The four-hour tubing adventure on Coldwater Creek is calm with steady, shallow waters. The float is approximately four miles; a reservation is necessary if planning a trip in June or July due to the high volume of floaters.
Pricing for tube rentals on Coldwater Creek is pricier than other floats we have discussed. Single tubes start at $23 a person, and a single tube with a bottom and seat back is $28 per person. No double tubes are available for rent. You do, however, have the option to rent a tube for your cooler for just over $15.
Due to the shallow nature of the creek during certain seasons, it may be a good idea to bring along some water shoes just in case you end up having to walk your tube. This float also provides multiple sandbars to stop off and enjoy a snack or splash in the water.
The Blackwater River is 56.6 miles long and flows from southern Alabama through Florida’s panhandle, then down into the Gulf of Mexico. Due to the length of the river and its tubing attraction, there are multiple outfitters ready to rent you the equipment you need and help you get the most of your tubing adventure.
Two such rental outfitters are Blackwater Canoe Rental and Blackwater Joe’s. Blackwater Canoe Rental and Blackwater Joe’s are both priced at $20 a tube. However, Blackwater Joe’s advertises a $15 tube price for any additional tube rentals.
Blackwater River floats range from two to five hours depending on river levels and provides sandy beaches to stop and take a swim or enjoy a packed picnic. One important rule to be made aware of is that state law prohibits using styrofoam coolers on the black river. So be sure to pack your picnic in a suitable cooler.
As previously mentioned, Chipola River is fed by Springs Creek and is an excellent tubing adventure. Springs Creek is not the only freshwater spring that flows into the Chipola as sixty-three other springs all contribute.
Chipola River Outfitters, located west of the small Florida town of Altha, offers two tubing trips, one that takes you from Johnny Boy Landing to Lamb Eddy Landing and another that flows from Willis Bridge to Lamb Eddy Landing. If put in at Johnny Boy Landing, the float is approximately four miles long with an average float time of five hours. Entering the river at Willis Bridge cuts the float in half, offering a two-mile, one-and-a-half-hour float.
Tubes are rented daily at a $15 rate; cooler floats are available for $10. The rental cost includes a drop-off and pick-up service for your rental equipment. For an additional fee, you have the option to use a shuttle service.
You need to make reservations for groups of twelve or more participants at least four days before your scheduled float.
Wakulla Springs State Park
As the name implies, Wakulla Springs State Park is located in Wakulla Springs, FL, and is open from eight to sundown, three-hundred and sixty-five days a year. A $6 fee is required to enter the park but is well worth it. The wildlife and swampy landscape attracted filmmakers to Wakulla Springs State Park as Tarzan’s Secret Treasure (1941) and Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) was filmed on-site.
While the history and beauty of the park are immaculate, Wakulla Springs State Park also provides an opportunity to tube. You have the choice to either float freely on a tube in the swimming hole or float downstream on the river.
The best option for tubing in this area is to purchase a tube at a nearby convenience store and enjoy the spring as long as you wish without worrying about being charged extra for missing a rental return.
Madison Blue Spring State Park
With its picturesque views and blue water, it’s no wonder USA Today voted Madison Blue Springs State Park the No. 1 swimming hole in the country. The State Park is located in Lee, FL, and is open from eight to sundown for the entire year. The fee to enter the park is $5 per vehicle.
No food or drink is allowed on the water to protect the spring. Tubing in the state park is permitted, but no rental services are available. You can either bring a tube or purchase a flotation device from one of the private vendors in the park. These vendors are open May – September, but only on the weekend.
While the Madison Blue Springs State Park tubing adventure is the most strict out of the entire list, it offers beautiful views that you don’t want to miss.
Top Tips for Safe Tubing
Tubing is a summertime activity that is sure to keep the family reminiscing for years to come. However, a typical tubing float can become dangerous if you are not practicing safe tubing. Here are some top tips for a safe tubing adventure.
- Wear sunscreen – The warmth of the sun on your skin and that golden tan can quickly turn into a sunburn; severe cases can cause skin cancer. Ensure you lather up on sunscreen before you get in the water and bring some extra just in case it washes off in the water and you need to reapply.
- Bring water and snacks – Some floats are short and only last 15 – 20 minutes. But some can last up to 5 or 6 hours. Prepare for those long floats by packing some snacks and water for the trip.
- Wear bug spray – Even when you are in the water, bugs can bite and cause irritation for weeks to come. Wearing waterproof bug spray can help prevent this.
- Pack a waterproof bag with emergency essentials – We don’t want to think about having an emergency while enjoying a summertime float. But the reality is that waterways can be dangerous and unpredictable. Pack a waterproof bag with emergency essentials such as a first aid kit and a cell phone if you need to contact emergency officials.
- Check water levels – Last but certainly not least, check the water levels before entering the water. Storms and heavy rainfall can change the course of a waterway in minutes. A rising water level can cause faster currents and can turn your leisurely float into a dangerous quest.
Whether you are a native to the sunshine state or are visiting on vacation, Florida has multiple springs, rivers, and creeks to enjoy a peaceful tubing venture. While Florida may not necessarily remain known for its interstate waterways, they are sure not to disappoint any tubing enthusiast.
Which of the 11 best places to go tubing in Florida will you try first?
More about our TFVG Author
A seasoned traveller, Dad, and avid sports tourist, James foundered The Family Vacation Guide to share his expert vacation experiences- especially when it comes to being a travelling family man.
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