Those without the need for speed will tell you one of the best ways to enjoy the state's waterways is completely motor free. The state of Florida is host to over 700 freshwater springs and boasts the largest concentration of fresh water springs on earth.
One of the best ways to experience one of these fresh water springs, is by floating down the Rainbow River in an inner tube. This is why every year many Floridians and some smart tourists make their way to Dunnellon, Florida to one of the many parks that allow you to tube the Rainbow River. Rainbow River is the fourth largest spring system in Florida with over 500 million gallons of crystal clear fresh water flowing each day to the river.
If you are planning on making a trip to the Rainbow River, there are a few things you should know before plopping yourself into your inner tube and setting float.The Rainbow River is spring fed so the temperature of the water is almost always 72 degrees. On most days you can see down to the bottom of the river no matter its depth. It is a good idea to bring a mask and snorkel so you can see the fish and springs better than simply floating above them. The Rainbow River is also home to tons of wildlife, manatees, birds, fish and even a few otter can usually be seen when tubing the river. Don't worry, alligators are extremely rare to be seen on the tubing part of the Rainbow River.
The good news for Rainbow River tubers is that recently, the state of Florida has added a tuber's park. The entry fee is $5.00 per car. The park has a free shuttle service that brings you and your tube up river. After about two hours of floating you will end up by your car. If you would like to float down the river again you can simply take another shuttle up the river for free. The state has also contracted with a local water sports service to have tube rentals available at the park. The park is open from May until the end of September.
Want to try it for yourself? Head to Marion County Park on the Rainbow River
, about 20 minutes up north of Inverness.