“No wind, no waves, and visibility forever”—Jacques Cousteau describing the springs at Ginnie Springs
My wife and I took a trip to Ginnie Springs and it is one of our favorite trips we have ever taken. The absolute beauty of nature is on display at it’s finest in this gem of a campground.
Ginnie Springs Campground is about 45 min NW of Gainesville, FL. It’s also easily accessible from most other parts of Florida as it is just 20 min off Exit 399 on I75. It took us about 2.5 hrs to get there from Tampa.
The price of admission to camp for the night was $22/ person so we paid a total of just under $50.
We drove up on a Saturday morning and found a camp site directly on the Santa Fe River (marked by the RED dot).
Once we finished setting up camp we put on our snorkels, masks and fins then made our way to the 1st of 5 springs located at the campground, “Ginnie Spring”.
Ginnie Spring is one of the 2 best springs at the campground. It has crystal clear water and a large opening cave that is easily reachable with a deep breath and a dive mask. There were a few divers working there way into the caves but I was also able to get down into the mouth of the cave by just holding my breath.
After spending some time at Ginnie Spring, we mad our way to the next spring titled “Devil Spring”. This spring was the other of our 2 favorites.
Devil Spring actually has 2 separate caves that can be explored. The first one is a narrow crack in the ground that is fun to dive down and provides spectacular views on the way up if the sun is in the right spot. The crack is just a couple feet below the surface so all you need is a mask in order to enjoy the view down the crack.
The other cave requires a slight dive down a large opening which then filters into a small crack that leads down a dark cave. I did not venture far into this cave as it was very dark and I did not have a light. I would highly recommend bringing a waterproof light for this trip.
After spending a few hours in these two springs we made our way back to camp. Our site included a picnic table and grill. We cooked up our soup and veggie dogs then made our way up to the campground store for some bug candles and s’mores ingredients. The bugs did get pretty bad as we were right by the river but the bug candles helped make it a bearable experience.
That night there was quite a bit of hooting and hollering coming from near by camp sites. As I mentioned, this campground is not far from Gainesville (home of the University of Florida Gators) so there were plenty of college students to be found. Thankfully, the noise only lasted until about 10pm and then subsided for the most part.
The next morning we rented a couple Stand Up Paddleboards (SUPs) for $10 each. We paddled upriver (East) to Blue Springs. The trip along the river was gorgeous and sprinkled with wildlife. We saw TONS of turtles, some fish and a few birds.
Blue spring itself was a great sight to see. The narrow creek that connects the spring to the river is crystal clear and the place where the creek met the river created an amazing underwater barrier!
After our trip to Blue Spring, we had a quick lunch at the campsite deli then explored the other 3 springs before heading out. Deer and Twin springs were unimpressive compared to the rest while Dogwood was beautiful in it’s own right.
Dogwood had a small cave/crack to be explored compared to Ginnie and Devil but it was still worth the time to visit.
The water in all of the springs was 72 degrees as it is all year long. This was cold compared to the air temperature so I would recommend bringing a wet suite if your afraid of getting chilly. All in all it was a great trip and definitely worth taking 2 days to explore!