Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Loving these springs and their rivers

Rainbow Springs State Park Site #46
Dunnellon, FL

We improved our put in time by an hour and were on the Rainbow River by 10:00 having put in at K.P. Hole County Park which we found was less than ¼ mile down river from the Campground put in.   We’d driven about 8 miles from the campground to the park believing we would be increasing the length of the paddle.  But the increase turned out to be just around the corner so to speak.  SO if you decide to kayak the Rainbow River from down stream to the headwaters and are staying in the State Park Campground, just take your kayak down with their great new kayak cart to the put in and paddle the 3 miles up to the headwaters.   The next put in spot beyond the county park downstream makes it an 8 mile paddle up.  We may do that one before we leave since our paddle today was just beautiful and we’d like to be on this river again.

I am becoming addicted to these Florida Springs and the rivers they have created.  Rainbow is the 4th largest and a “first-magnitude” spring as were Weeki Wachee and Silver Spring.  I think I could just stay here and kayak all 27 of the First Magnitude springs.   Amazingly, there are a total of more than 700 freshwater springs in Florida.

Rainbow Springs produces an average of over 490 million gallons of water daily and forms the headwaters of the Rainbow River which empties into the Withlacoochee River.   The paddle up stream was not difficult and the springs are spread out over the river and are less “powerful” than those at Weeki Wachee.   But the river is beautiful and here they do not allow power boats to go over idle speed in the entire river.  Why they allow them at all is a mystery to me and to the Ranger at the campground with whom I chatted.

We were out on the river a tad earlier than usual.  Getting better all the time.   As you can see it was a clear river, a blue sky and puffy white clouds.  About as perfect as things can get.   We passed a few tasteful houses on the river banks across from the wild park lands that lined the opposite side until we got into the park lands on both sides of the water.

I know you can't tell from this far away how much I'm enjoying this place but trust me on it!

 When I looked at the pictures afterwards, I noticed numerous duos........

Two river residents sunning side by side

 A pair of trees reflected in the clear waters

Turtles on their way to a sunny spot

Cormorants chatting

On up the river toward the headwaters

It looked like a river of waving green grass beneath the boat

Isn't this color just incredible?  We're up by the headsprings now.

These elephant ears are along the banks at the headsprings and just opposite the swimming site pictured in yesterday's blog

Water so clear you can take pictures of the fish swimming through it.

Heading back down the river the scenery was just magnificent.  It sure has been difficult picking through the pictures to choose some of this great paddling day.

 I am just loving these springs and their rivers so tomorrow is going to be the 3 Sisters Springs in Kings Bay at the head of the Crystal River.  It is too early to find the manatees wintering there since they come in late November and stay through March but who knows, maybe they don't keep strict time tables.  :-)


  1. I love the way the sky and trees reflect in the water on all your photos. We're making "loose" plans for next winter in Florida. The springs are high on the list.


  2. absolutely gorgeous... thanks for sharing

  3. Thanks Heyduke. I only wish I could have posted all the pictures.

    Gin & Syl - I'm making more than loose plans to spend next winter here since it is clear without plans you may or may not be able to have a site. So hopefully we'll cross paths. We'll have to "plan" on that too. :-)


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