Uncover Florida's best destinations for wild swimming

From sea to springs, cenotes to canyons, Florida is prime for wild swimming enthusiasts, with plenty of hidden watering holes ready to be uncovered and explored. The state's abundance of natural wonders invites travellers to immerse themselves in the beauty of its wilderness.

As wild swimming continue to gains traction among UK travellers, its appeal lies in the opportunity to connect with nature, promote physical and mental well-being, and embark on adventures below the waterline.

From tranquil springs in Crystal River to Sebring’s serene lakeshores, the state boasts an array of captivating swimming destinations. Here’s a roundup of the state’s best wild swimming spots:

Visit St. Pete/Clearwater

Visitors can escape the crowds and embark on a captivating journey through St. Pete/Clearwater’s natural watering holes. From gems like the serene Sand Key Park, offering a romantic beach escape with Gulf views and abundant nature, to Spring Bayou, known as the ‘Golden Crescent’, which invites visitors to experience the warmth and vegetation of its brackish waters.

Crystal River

Widely known as the Manatee Capital of the World, Crystal River, is the only place in the United States to legally experience the up-close encounter of swimming with these gentle giants. Located in Central Florida’s Gulf Coast, Crystal River and the surrounding cities of Old Homosassa, Inverness and Floral City are an authentic showcase of outdoor adventure and scenic beauty. Pristine swimmable springs and a shimmering network of rivers, lakes, marshlands, and mangroves make Crystal River perfect for wild swimming.

Columbia County

Florida’s Columbia County hosts the meeting point of the Santa Fe River and Suwannee River and is fondly known as the Springs Capital of the US. Conveniently located between Jacksonville and Tallahassee, this subtropical paradise invites visitors to explore its lush tall pine forests and crystal clear natural springs, offering an array of swimming options year-round. Columbia County boasts miles of rivers, trails, aquatic caves, and an abundance of waterfalls and springs. Ichetucknee Springs State Park, a cherished destination just north of Gainesville, features eight major crystal-clear springs along the six-mile Ichetucknee River. Whether paddling, tubing, or snorkelling, guests can immerse themselves in this refreshing oasis and encounter Floridian wildlife. What’s more, the water maintains a constant, invigorating temperature of 22 degrees Celsius throughout the year. For the adventurous, Blue Hole Spring provides a secluded haven with its 40-footdeep turquoise waters, attracting cave divers. Additionally, Rum Island Spring and Park, with its fascinating history rooted in 1930s moonshine lore, now stands as a pristine swimming spot for families, offering a perfect blend of natural beauty and relaxation.


For visitors looking to rediscover relaxation, Sebring’s lakeside beaches promise just that. Highlands County boasts more than 100 lakes, including Lake Istokpoga, Florida's fifth largest lake. Explore Fisheating Creek and Arbuckle Creek, the last free-flowing stream in South Florida or at the popular City Pier Beach on Lake Jackson, featuring white sands, crystal-clear waters, and amenities like covered picnic tables and play areas. Other must visit spots include Hidden Beach Crescent Beach, Donaldson Park Beach and Lake Tulane Park, some of the State’s best-kept secrets.

Walton County

Travellers can delve into the underwater wonders of Walton County, where 26 miles of shoreline meet the Gulf of Mexico, providing easy access to Choctawhatchee Bay and rare coastal dune lakes. From relaxing mornings on sugar-white beaches to exploring the turquoise waters through swimming, scuba diving, snorkelling, fishing, or boating. Wild swimming is an exhilarating and deeply fulfilling activity, provided it's approached with responsibility and caution. It's crucial to choose safe locations, avoiding areas with strong currents, hazardous wildlife, or pollution. Respect for the environment is paramount; leaving no trace behind, refraining from disrupting wildlife, and avoiding damage to vegetation are essential practices. Additionally, ensure confidence in the water and consider wearing appropriate safety gear, such as a life jacket, if necessary. To find out more, please visit www.visitflorida.com.


For more information, including high-res images, please contact:

Hannah Mulvey: Hannah@goshpr.co.uk

Brooke Harrison Davies: Brooke@goshpr.co.uk

Millie Katesmark: Millie@goshpr.co.uk


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