What to do in Rainbow Springs State Park

Rainbow River has attracted and sustained human inhabitants for over 10,000 years. The crystal clear water, abundant wildlife and the discovery of hard rock phosphate began attracting residents and tourists as early as the late 1880s. When Interstate 75 was built, the area declined; however, the entire Rainbow River was designated as a Registered Natural Landmark in 1972, an Aquatic Preserve in 1986, and an Outstanding Florida Waterway in 1987. The state of Florida purchased the site in 1990 and with the help of volunteers, the site opened for weekend visitation on March 9, 1995.

Rainbow River pours 500 million gallons of fresh water daily into the river, which eventually spills into the Withlacoochee River. The park encompasses 1,000 acres comprised of 826 upland acres, 79 wetland acres, and 15 submerged acres. Within the park are nearly a dozen distinct natural communities including sandhill, flatwoods, upland forest, and hydric hammock. Once the site of extensive formal gardens, a variety of wildflowers and trees remain for the visitors' pleasure. Wildlife is equally attracted to the area.

This biologically diverse park offers the outdoor enthusiast a variety of recreations. There are trails that lead to 60-foot cascading waterfalls, a swimming platform, and a butterfly garden. Anglers, swimmers and snorkeling enthusiasts share clear water with largemouth bass and bluegill. Canoeists find the trail to the campground only 1.5 miles away while enjoying wildlife views of wading birds and the American alligator. Traveling to the large campground via car is a longer trip, approximately 6 miles. The park is not yet a contiguous unit. Canoe and inner tube rentals are available from the park office and campground. Bathhouses and fresh drinking water are added creature comforts.

Visitors to Rainbow Springs State Park enjoy swimming, picnicking, nature study, walking, camping, and canoeing. The park is known for its bountiful azalea garden. Paths stay occupied during the February and March blooming months. The park offers canoe rental at the headsprings day use area, and canoes and inner tube rental at the campground.

Seasonal special events include Spring in the Springs, Santa Over the Rainbow, Earth Day, guided canoe trips, and a variety of musical presentations.

Rainbow Springs State Park is located three miles north of Dunnellon on the east side of U.S. Highway 41. The camping entrance is located 2 1/2 miles north of County Route 484 off S.W. 180th Avenue Street.

Florida experiences mild, comfortable winters and warm to hot, humid summers. Summer Fahrenheit temperatures average in the mid to high 80's (28 - 29 Celsius). Winters are mild and dry with temperatures averaging 58 - 64 degrees Fahrenheit (14 - 18 Celsius). Precipitation for the central area averages anywhere from 56 inches to less than 52 inches per year. The region offers a great warm escape for outdoor recreation during the cold northern months. August and September are peak months of the hurricane season that lasts from June 1 through November 30.

18185 SW 94th Street
Dunnellon, FL 34432

Phone: 352-489-8503

  • Rainbow Springs State Park Travel Q&A