If you are bored and dealing with the brutal Florida humidity and heat, the Florida springs might be a great way to beat both of those scenerios. It is odd that so many people from Florida don't take advantege of the world class springs found here.. The springs are the best part of Florida if you ask me. Get a kayak or paddleboard and mountain bikes too. It all can be found in the Ocala National Forest and well worth the drive time.
I discovered the springs 10 years ago and have logged 20+ trips since. There are so many but I have favorites. The springs that are large enough to create rivers with nearby mountain biking are top of the list. Alexander Springs, a magnitude one spring, has to be one the the best in central Florida. Less than an hour away is one of Florida's IMBA epic maountain bike trail systems in Santos, FL.
For this trip, my son an I planned mostly paddleboarding, hiking and kayaking. Aleexander Springs seems to always have a campsite avaliable primarily because they have walk-up resevations - sites that can't be booked online. The first night we spent setting up, drinikng a few beers and paddle bording / kayaking / swimming and snorkleing. I wanted to get some photos and Gopro footage since the main longer distance river thingies would be to start in the morning.
We messed around after the days river fun and settled in to the campsite for food, more beer and exporation of the area. But later on the plan was to swim the spring at night which can be a little scary but well worth the cooldown. I sleep better and enjoy the excitement.
As I hammock camped without mesh, I quickly remembered how many mosquitoes are there. Just like every part of Florida but I was a little surprised and gave up the hammock at 3:00am - the mosquitoes won. It turned out not a bad idea since the rain set in around that time and continued on until about noon the next day.
We headed out around the time the rain broke - my concern was lightning which i have been cought up in several times and it isn't a pleasant experience. Then comes the bullshit part. When we were prepping I discovered my 404 Carbon Race v3 board had two knarly cracks. I first thought it was from the paddleboard falling when it was propped up on a tree but later found out different. I detailed the fix here
We had to continue however so the plan was to one person to kayak and the other to snorkle down the river. Actually snorkling the river probably provides way more to see that you don't normally. So we headed out. An amazing day slightly overcast with sunlight streaking trough the cloud break.
After that adventure, headed to camp for food started another inproptu party which always works after a good workout. Head over to the springs for afternoon snorkling, phots and Goproing and all is well. We decided to drive over to the local store about three miles away for supplies ( beer ) and met a local who was nice enough to show us one of the local hangout spots nearby. After that the day was complete.
The next day we headed out early because I wanted to stop by Rainbow Springs for a bit becore we ended the trip. Rainbow Springs might be my favorite spring actually. I go whenever I can. And if you can find a camp spot, take it. It was our first choice but finding a camp site is next to impossible. This driveby was just about swimming a bit and checking another putin I haven't used before. There are 3 basic loaunch areas on the river - one is at the spring head, one at a state run park and another closer to town by Swampy's. This is a free area and more definately will use it next time I come. Seems to be plenty of parking and a very long road bike trail. A good plan might be to bike 40 or so miles in the morning then cool off by kayak / paddle board to the mid river park and back.
We moved on around 2pm and I dreamed of the next time I can make it there. If you get a chance - remember the florida springs are some of the best in the US.