North Central Florida is host to a trove of natural springs, many of which are open to the public any day of the week. Knee-deep in crystal-clear water, with lush foliage and wildlife abound and the sun glittering off the waves, you’re experiencing the best that Florida has to offer. Anyway, it’s a good way to take your mind off of exams or taxes or our wildly conservative state senate.

We’ve gathered some basic info for you on a few good springs to check out, but each has a lengthy, informative write-up on  www.floridastateparks.org. Check that out for more info.

And since spring’s well on its way, it’s about time to shake off the winter blues, peel off your coat and dive into some magically temperate waters.

SPRINGS key spring 2015

Activities Key

Poe Springs

poespgs

                • Address: 28800 NW 182nd Ave., High Springs, FL 32643
                • Drive time: 30 minutes
                • Phone: 352-374-5245
                • Admission fee: Free
                • Hours: Thursday to Sunday; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
                • Activities: swimming, snorkeling, kayaking/canoeing, hiking, cycling, volleyball, soccer, softball, picnicking, wildlife viewing, nature trails
                • No pets, no scuba diving, no onsite camping, no alcohol

Ginnie Springs

ginniespgs

                • Address: 5000 NE 60th Ave., High Springs, FL 32643
                • Drive time: 40 minutes
                • Phone: 386-454-7188
                • Admission fee: General admission: $12, divers: $22-30; $6 to rent tube. Pavilions cost $50 Sunday to Friday and $75 on Saturday.
                • Hours: Monday to Thursday: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday & Saturday: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
                • Activities: swimming, snorkeling, scuba/cave diving, river tubing, kayaking/canoeing, camping, volleyball
                • No pets
                • Offers instructors for scuba and cave diving; five outdoor pavilions with grills

Blue Springs

bluespgs

                  • Address: 7450 NE 60th St., High Springs, FL 32643
                  • Drive time: 40 minutes
                  • Phone: 386-454-1369
                  • Admission fee: $10; all-day tube rental $5, 2-hour kayak rental $10, 2-hour canoe rental $15
                  • Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
                  • Activities: swimming, snorkeling, kayaking/canoeing, tubing, diving, fishing, hiking, camping, picnicking, volleyball, horseshoes
                  • No pets, no scuba diving,

Ichetucknee Springs

itchspgs

                  • Address: 12087 SW U.S. 27, Fort White, FL 32038
                  • Drive time: 50 minutes
                  • Phone: 386-497-4690
                  • Admission fee: $6 per vehicle of 2 to 8 people, $4 per vehicle of 1 person; river use fees: $5 per person canoeing, $5 per person tubing from north or south entrance
                  • Hours: opens at 8 a.m. daily, north entrance closes 30 minutes before sunset, south entrance closes at sunset
                  • Activities: swimming, snorkeling, kayaking/canoeing, tubing, scuba diving, picnicking, hiking, wildlife viewing, nature trails
                  • Bonus: full-service concession stand, playground,
                  • They do not rent out kayaks, canoes, tubes, masks or snorkels

Rainbow Springs

rainbowspgs

                • Address: 19158 Southwest 81st Place Road, Dunnellon, FL 34432
                • Drive time: 1 hour
                • Phone: 352-465-8555
                • Admission fee: $2 per person, $5 per vehicle, children under 6 are free
                • Hours: 8 a.m. until sundown daily
                • Activities: Kayaking/canoeing, nature trails, picnicking, swimming, tubing,
                • Bonus: amphitheater with seasonal ranger-led programming, gardens and waterfalls
                • Canoes, kayaks and tubes available for rental

Otter Springs

otterspgs

                • Address: 6470 Southwest 80th Avenue, Trenton, FL 32693
                • Drive time: 1 hour
                • Phone: 352-463-0800
                • Admission fee: $4 per person, $2 for seniors, children 6 and under free; $12 per car
                • Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
                • Activities: camping, pools, cabins, group events, kayaking/canoeing, trails
                • Canoes available for rental
                • Firewood, camping and picnic supplies and ice are available for purchase

Silver Springs

silverspgs

                • Address: 5656 East Silver Springs Boulevard, Silver Springs, FL 34488
                • Drive time: 50 minutes
                • Phone: 352-261-5840
                • Admission fee: $8 per vehicle, $4 launch fee for personal canoe or kayak, Canoe or tandem kayak is $18 for first hour, $9 for every additional hour, $45 for a day pass; single kayak is $14 for the first hour, $7 for each additional hour, $35 for a day pass; boat tours are $11 for adults $10 for seniors and kids 17 and under and free for kids under 5
                • Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
                • Activities: glass-bottom boat guided tours, guided kayak tours, nature trails, cafe, ice cream shop, kayaking/canoeing, horse trails, picnicking, campfire circles, gardens, museum and environmental center

Manatee Springs

manateespgs

                    • Address: 1160 NW 115 St. Chiefland, FL 32626
                    • Drive time: 50 minutes
                    • Phone: 352-493-6072
                    • Admission fee: $6 per vehicle
                    • Hours: 8 a.m. to sundown daily
                    • Activities: bicycling, camping, playground, swimming, boating, camping, fishing, picnicking, scuba diving, guided tours, campfire circles, canoeing/kayaking, nature trails, snorkeling

Fanning Springs

fanningspgs

                • Address: 18020 NW HWY 19, Fanning Springs, FL 32693
                • Drive time: 1 hour
                • Phone: 352-463-3420
                • Admission fee: $6 per vehicle, $2 per person arriving by boat
                • Hours: 8 a.m. to sundown daily
                • Activities: boating, canoeing/kayaking, nature trails, scuba diving, cabins, snorkeling, fishing, picnicking, swimming