Rock Springs resides within Kelly Park in Orange County, and it's one of the only county parks I've ever been to. The level of detail and care in the park is a step above most state parks, and I wonder if it's due to the fact that Orange County only has one spring park (not to mention the county is rather rich).
The park is also fairly cheap: for my friend and I, I paid $3. Renting a tube outside the park is a popular choice, but I don't recommend it; it's much more fun to float down the run in the water.
An attempt to show some above and some below the water.
Rock Springs actually pours from a cave to the south, then flows up through the woods to a diverted swimming area. If you continue down the run (which I did not know you could do until this visit), you can float another half mile or so before exiting at a bridge. Here's a small 90-second montage video of the run up until the diverted swimming area:
It was an ill-planned trip, like usual - I forgot sandals, my backpack, and pretty much had to painfully walk barefoot from the parking area up to the swimming area. I did remember sunscreen though! Do not forget sunscreen at the springs. Not all of you may need it, but as you can tell, I'm a whitey. Read more »
I've been to Ichetucknee a great many times, but it's been over a year since I've been down the run on a tube. Since the north end closes after Labor Day, I wanted to hit it up at least once (NOTE: the north launch is really the only reason to tube this spring run).
After much convincing of my friends to drive the 130+ miles from Orlando to the pocket of springs in the High Springs area (and waking them up at 5:30am so we could get a good start), we set off in the Jeep to Ichetucknee Springs.
Dane and Gerret, after grabbing some tubes.
Advice: Don't stop at the first tube store. They know they're the first and they price their tubes accordingly. Wait for the second or third; you'll have much less traffic at the tube shop and a slightly-cheaper price. I frequent the LOWE tube shop.
(More after the break) Read more »
A shot from the sandy area near the diving platform.
Not much to report here; waiting for my D10 to arrive sometime this week, I took three friends (Sly, Carl, and Kevin) to DeLeon Springs for a nice afternoon swim. Water is still cloudy as ever, still as many as kids, but the drive and the park were nice nonetheless.
I helped Sly practice diving down to the spring, did some edge diving with Carl and Kevin, and ruined my sinuses by diving to the bottom of the trench about six times.
Last night I finally broke down and ordered the:
Canon PowerShot D10 12.1 MP Waterproof Digital Camera with 3x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.5-inch LCD
This camera should provide some of the best underwater shots for the buck, not including a very nice video mode! Expect some much better shots in the future :)
Just got off the phone with the office at Juniper Springs, inquiring about the status of their swimming area. It has been under construction for most of the summer. The swimming area's walls and sidewalks are all being replaced, and it seems like it's taking awhile.
I was told that the official re-open date was set for July 30th, but that more than likely it would be moved back to September sometime.
I will be sure to update when I know more. I was looking forward to a jaunt to Juniper this weekend but it appears that I will be heading elsewhere.
A week later and I'm at it again. A week later and I'm still not up until noon. Hey, I have a real job too ;) Unfortauntely, noon isn't a great time to venture out in Florida; some of the reasons are obvious (heat, humidity, crowds) and some are... well, sometimes I forget what the skys look like in July at noon:
Heading west from Sanford on Highway 46.
After a quick bite at Firehouse to let the worst of the front come down, we headed to the south entrance to the Seminole State Forest on 46. It was still drizzling, but nothing that would prevent us from trekking to as many springs as we could. Unfortunately, something else would. I dropped $5 in the self-pay entry container and we drove into the forest. Read more »
Today was the second day I was supposed to set out for Rock Springs/Kelly Park - my roommate was gone this weekend so I invited a friend (let's call him Sly) along. Once we woke up at 10:30 and called Kelly Park to hear that they were approaching 90% capacity, we had to alter our plans a bit. I pulled out the ol' Google Maps and found the closest spring to Rock - Sulphur Spring.
Main problem here? Sulphur Spring is not accessible by public roads. It's less than 5 miles from the entrance to Kelly Park, but I know I've tried to find it before, but I only ran into the normal "Private Property - No Trespassing" signs. Whether they're posted for intimidation or for a good reason, it's scary nonetheless.
We set out at about noon, no swimming trunks to be found. We stopped over on Aloma near Oviedo for some Sonic (yummy chicken-strip sandwiches) and headed around the 417 Toll Road to the north side of the Rock Springs Run State Reserve. A few more twists and turns got us to the entrance of Kelly Park, which we zipped right past in search of this mysterious spring.
Our search ended abruptly in the yard of a nice man; the dead-end was but 500feet from the spring head, but we were kindly told that we'd have to access it from another direction. Waving, we headed out to try another angle.
We had the coordinates for the spring, so we drove back to the main highway to find other smaller roads that could possibly lead to the spring. Eventually (by some luck) we found a gated entrance to the service roads. Parking the Jeep, we quickly hopped the gate and strode off in the general direction of the spring. Keep in mind we were without bug spray, in shorts (flip-flops in Sly's case), with no water and Sonic in our bellies. Read more »
I've had many opportunities to show newbies the joys of the Florida Springs, but this time was a unique one; I had to debut one to a very-eager Australian. After convincing him to get up at 7am (and a stop at Burger King - not something I recommend before a swimming trip), we departed for the Ocala National Forest.
Lich learns to use a snorkel. Read more »
After months and months of traveling to the springs close to Orlando, falling in love with them again and again, and planning this site in my head over and over, I've gone and broken ground on it.
Springs Traveler is a site that aims to cleanly and easily aggregate information from the many scattered sources out there into one simple source. On each page, fellow travelers will be able to see a wealth of photos, up-to-date park information (including fees and times), maps and directions to the spring, links to nearby springs and other resources, and tagged lists of available facilities and activities.
What makes this site so exciting to me, both as an avid web designer and a springs traveler, is the flexibility of the back-end system. Click on any of the activities and you'll get a list of all springs sporting that activity! Want to search the site? Use the search bar located clearly at the top of the page. Find an error on any page? Leave live feedback!
As this site is built, I plan on including a forum, spring ratings, the ability for visitors to review springs and leave general comments, and even allow visitors to share their own photo collections. This may take some time (this is only a hobby after all!) but rest assured I'll try my best to make this site work for everyone.
Again, welcome, and enjoy the site! Safe travels!