By the time we visited Ginnie Springs, we had been in Florida for a while. Heading up to Georgia, and feeling rather thirsty, we decided to stop into Ginnie Springs for a lazy float (and beer!!!) down the river.
Ginnie Springs Florida Tubing – An alcoholic’s delight!
We are far from Florida Spring newbies. A few years ago we visited Alexander Springs in Florida.
On this trip we visited Rainbow Springs, Crystal River/Three Sisters Spring where we swam with manatees , popped our tubing cherry at Kelly Park and continued the tubing fun at Blue Spring finally stopping off at Juniper Springs and Silver Springs before finally making our way to Ginnie Springs.
With all this spring action, we were feeling rather thirsty. The aforementioned Springs are all State Park owned and operated and do not allow you to bring alcoholic beverages inside.
Being a privately owned spring, Ginnie Springs is different. Alcoholic tubing is permitted so groups of rebellers head to the spring for a weekend of hardcore partying.
I must say, sipping an ice cold beer as I floated down the river was a bit of a treat!
There are not many Florida springs that allow you to consume alcoholic beverages while tubing.
Where is Ginnie Springs in Florida?
Ginnie Springs is further north than Ocala National Forest.
Ginnie Springs is located 3 hours drive from Orlando, a 2.5 hour drive from Daytona Beach and around a 3.5 hour drive from Sarasota.
It is a bit of a mission from most places so most people visit from the bigger cities in Florida as a weekend trip.
The address for your GPS is 7300 Ginnie Springs Road, High Springs, FL 32643
About Ginnie Springs
Unlike the other Springs we had visited in Florida Ginnie Springs is a privately owned spring.
One would imagine there is only 1 spring at Ginnie Springs but in fact there are several springs: Devil’s Eye, Devil’s Ear and Devil Spring.
Fun Fact: These springs produce nearly 80 million gallons of water daily.
No ranger station as you drive through the gates, this spring is a full on institution.
Entering the main reception area there is about 10 registers with staff waiting to serve you. By the way, the reception is a full blown shop with drinks, food, floaties and other things to buy.
We quickly got diverted to the “camping line”. Sign in was a bit of a process. We needed to sign liability waivers.
This task can actually be done in advance. If we had our time again, we would recommend signing the waiver in advance.
Ginnie Springs Alcoholic Tube Run
The main reason we were drawn to Ginnie Springs was the ability to have a beer as we floated along.
We are not heavy drivers by any stretch but the thought of enjoying a cold one as we floated along did it for us.
The tube run at Ginnie was the longest run we have experienced (around 1 hour from start to finish).
There is a VERY long tube run you can complete on the Rainbow River (4 hours). This is far too long to be tubing for us.
The Ginnie Springs Tube run current was also faster than other Springs we have experienced, a big win.
The negative was that on the actual Santa Fe River, it is deep and you cannot see the bottom.
I actually quite enjoy watching fish swim beneath me as I tube along. The water in the Santa Fe River is too dark to see anything beneath you.
The freaky thing about this is what lies beneath – DUN DUN DUN.
I know exactly what you are thinking! Alligators! Truth be told, I was too.
It is technically possible for there to be alligators at Ginnie Springs. I wouldnt have a clue if they are there or not as the water is quite murky.
As I’m writing these words – dark, murky – I’m screwing up my face, thinking why on earth did I get in that water!
In reality you need not worry as many, many people will be doing the tube run with you and as far as I’m aware, there has been no recorded alligator attacks or deaths associated with Ginnie Springs.
Plus, it is super fun & very relaxing AND you can have a beer. What’s not to love?
Can I bring my own tube?
Yes, it is totally fine to bring and use your own tube at Ginnie Springs. In fact most people do!
At State Run Parks, there is a limit on the size of your tube (at Blue Springs it was 6 ft, at Kelly Park 5 ft) but nup, not at Ginnie Springs.
Feel free to bring the most gigantic floatie you can find!
A 10 man floatie for all your mates to sit in as they sip beer and float along together? Totally acceptable.
If you don’t want anything crazy, we would recommend this one.
Don’t worry about pumping your giant floatie with air before arrival. There is an awesome air pump which you can use for free at Ginnie Springs.
If you are on holidays and don’t want to buy a tube, you can rent one directly from Ginnie Springs shop – $6 for a single tube and $12 for a double tube.
What time does Ginnie Springs Open/Close?
Ginnie Springs has different hours of operation depending on the season.
In summer, the park is open from 8.00am – 7.00pm in the evening Monday to Thursday, on Friday and Saturday from 8.00am – 9.00pm. It closes at 8.00pm on a Sunday.
In winter, the park is open from 8.00am – 4.00pm Monday to Thursday, on Friday and Saturday from 8.00am – 8.00pm
As the park is privately owned, there is 24 hour maned access for campers.
How much does it cost to enter?
As the park is privately owned, it is one of the most expensive springs to enter.
For a day pass, it costs $14.02 for adults, $3.73 for children, children 5 and under are free.
If you would like to scuba dive the spring it costs, $22 for certified divers and $30 for all other divers. If you are super serious about diving it is possible to get an annual dive pass for $330.
We would personally recommend camping which costs $22.43 per adult, $6.54 per child with children 5 and under free. If you want to upgrade to full powered sites, it costs an extra $10.28 per site per night.
If you want to spend multiple days at the spring we would highly recommend camping. Firstly, you can beat the crowds, secondly, it is more affordable than 2 days entry and thirdly, you don’t have to worry about driving back to the spring the next day.
Truth be told, camping here is not for the faint of heart. It is a dirty ground and the toilet blocks tend to get quite muddy from the spring.
For a bit more comfort, we would recommend this place nearby or the park also has their own cabins available for rent at $175 a night (sleeps 8, fee for 4 people, additional people additional fee)
Hey, its no $3 Kelly Springs people!
Ginnie Springs Picnic & Food
Another popular activity in Ginnie Springs is picnicking.
It is a big space with many picnic tables so need to fight for a spot (unless it is 4th of July in which case it might be necessary to fight to the death!)
Most people brought with them a full BBQ lunch. If you don’t want to bring food with you there is a well stocked canteen where you can buy food.
The canteen is a good place to chill out between tubes as it has blazing fast wifi, even better than starbucks!
Ginnie Springs Sports
Ginnie Springs is a big place with a lot of room to enjoy ball sports.
People were really making good use of the volleyball court.
Bring your own ball or the shop have some for rent. What did I tell you, this is no State Park! Pretty well everything you can think of is available for rent.
Ginnie Springs Kayaking, Canoeing and Stand up Paddle Boarding
We noticed that many families preferred to canoe or kayak the tube run as opposed to tube.
We commented to each other that kayaking or canoeing would be a much safer option if you have young children and want to get out on the Santa Fe River.
For people who love stand up paddle boarding, this activity is also particularly popular at Ginnie Springs. We tried stand up paddle boarding for the first time in Scotland and loved it!
You can bring your own equipment or you can rent them from on premises shop. A 3 hour canoe, kayak or paddle board is $12 to hire. It costs $20 if you want it for 6 hours.
Note: paddle upstream when you start as there is no pick up service.
Ginnie Springs Swimming and Snorkeling
One of the most popular activities in the springs is swimming and snorkeling.
While the Sante Fe River is dark and musky, the many springs that lead out to the river are crystal clear and a beautiful blue colour making them the ideal place to go swimming or snorkeling.
As the river is a constant 72 degrees year round, swimming and snorkeling is possible year round at Ginnie Springs. Truth be told, 72 degrees is a little chilly for us.
We visited in late October and the Santa Fe River was quite murky. We did read however, that it clears up in summer and early fall and provides for good snorkeling.
You can see large gar, bass, mullet, catfish, turtles snorkeling the Santa Fe River. I can attest to the accuracy of this information as we saw a turtle pop his little head up as we floated along in our tubes.
If you decide to snorkel the Santa Fe River in summer, State law requires you to use a divers flag. If you don’t have one, like most other things, you can rent one direct at the shop for $5.
To rent a mask and snorkel it costs $6, including fins will set you back $10.
Ginnie Springs Diving
Ginnie Springs is an extremely popular dive site in Florida.
Like Blue Springs, there are some tricky cavern dives at Ginnie for the experienced diver.
If you don’t have your diving gear with you, surprise surprise, you can rent virtually anything you need at reasonable prices at the shop.
Divers have died completing these dives so we would suggest only doing the cavern dives if you are an experienced diver.
You cannot use a light while diving unless you are a certified diver entering the cavern or cave system. The reason for this is for the protection of unexperienced divers.
Two of the most popular dives in Ginnie Springs are Devil Spring and Devil’s Ear.
Are there alligators in Ginnie Springs?
Technically, there are alligators in the park. Anywhere with water in Florida has the risk of alligators.
Occasionally there are alligator spottings at Ginnie Springs but their sightings are rare.
If you are interested in seeing an alligator in Florida, I would highly recommend a visit to Everglades National Park. The Anhinga Trail or Shark Valley Trail if you like to bike is best for alligator spotting.
Are there manatees in Ginnie Springs?
Occasionally, there are manatee sightings in winter in Ginnie Springs but I woudn’t say it is their favourite place in Florida to hang out by any stretch.
In winter, you have a near guaranteed chance to see a manatee in Blue Spring and year round at Crystal River.
If you want to see manatees in Florida the best place to see them in our opinion is Crystal River. See our Florida manatee guide for all places you can see manatees in Florida.
Are dogs allowed at Ginnie Springs?
No, any dogs or pets are not permitted to bring with you to Ginnie Springs unless they are a service animal.
We did see a few sneaky stowaway doggies at Ginnie. I don’t think they were service dogs so they must have snuck in.
Ginnie Springs Camping
Camping in Ginnie Springs is VERY popular to say the least.
Some very serious campers make their way to Ginnie Springs for weekend camping. These campers seriously have the whole kit and kaboodle.
If you want to go all out with some cool camping gear, Ginnie Springs is a great place to do it!
As stated above, camping costs $22.43 per adult, $6.54 per child with children 5 and under free. If you a full powered site, it costs an extra $10.28 per site per night.
There are numerous camp bathrooms all over Ginnie Springs but as it is a bit of a party place, they can get a bit messy and muddy.
What’s cool is that, unlike State Park Camping, Ginnie Springs has a very hippie style of camping. Basically, you just find a site that is free and pitch your tent/ set up your campervan.
Ginnie Springs Tips
If you decide to visit Ginnie Springs here are our best tips:
- Alcohol is allowed in the park so bring a cooler and fill it up!
- Leave your furry friends at home, sadly they are not welcome
- You can bring a tube with you or hire one, the bigger tube the more fun!
- If you want a romantic picture or just an Instagram snap, early morning morning or late afternoon when most of the day trippers have left is best.
What to bring with you?
Here is what we would recommend bringing with you for a day out in Ginnie Springs:
- a cute beach towel
- Oversized beach blanket
- a full face snorkel & flippers
- a Instagram worthy picnic basket
- Tongs for BBQing
- a waterproof dry bag
- a tube. Lots of people had this one.
- a ball (for volleyball)
- a Instagram worthy boho picnic rug
- beach chairs
- lots of goodies to munch on during the day!
Ginnie Springs Summary
That’s all on Ginnie Springs from us folks.
We were drawn to visit Ginnie Springs due to its alcohol friendly policy but a day at Ginnie Springs turned out to be so much more!
The crystal clear water, the antics of people in their oversized floaties and the picturesque springs will keep us coming back for more! It truly is a Florida favourite and a locals delight!
If you are on a Florida Vacation, you might also like to check out our other posts on Florida to help you plan your trip:
Florida Springs Resources
Everglades National Park Resources:
Here are some Everglades resources to help you plan your trip to the Everglades:
Florida Keys Resources:
Here are some Florida Keys resources to help you plan your trip to the Florida Keys:
- Miami to Key Largo
- Key Largo
- Key Lime Pie in Key Largo
- Key Largo Beaches
- Islamorada beaches
- Marathon Beaches
- Bahia Honda Travel Guide
- Bahia Honda Camping
- Key West
- Key West Beaches
Gulf Coast Florida Resources:
Here are some Gulf Coast resources to help you plan your trip to the Gulf Coast:
- Marco Island
- Marco Island Beaches
- Naples Beaches
- Bonita Springs
- Bonita Springs Beaches
- Sanibel & Captiva Island Beaches
- Best beaches in Sarasota
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