Swim in a blue lagoon with underwater caverns in Ichetucknee Springs

Are you looking for the perfect camera-ready swimming hole that will keep you cool on even the hottest Florida days? We found the perfect natural swimming spot just a day trip from Gainsville, St. Augustine and Jacksonville, Florida at Ichetucknee Springs State Park. This state park has two natural springs and one even has an underwater cave that you can see with goggles.

Ichetucknee Spring

This item includes:
Can you swim in Ichetucknee Spring?
Getting to Blue Hole Spring
Are there tubing in Ichetucknee Spring?
What is the cost of admission to Ichetucknee Springs State Park?
Where to Stay near Ichetucknee Springs State Park

Ichetucknee Spring is perfect for swimming

Park at the north entrance and Ichetuckness Spring is a short walk from the parking lot. You will also find a public bath, bathrooms and a playground in this same area.

This clear, blue-green swimming hole is shallow around the edges with stairs leading down to the pool. The middle of the pool was deep so parents would probably want life jackets for small children or weak swimmers.

The water is not only scenic but reaches 72 degrees all year round. Cold enough to take parents’ breath away but not enough to stop children from insisting their parents join them. Not only will the water cool you down, but the swimming area also has plenty of natural shade.

Be aware that as a natural swimming area there are natural hazards such as slippery rocks and wildlife. This is a swimming area without “jumping or diving”.

Boardwalk trail to Blue Hole Spring
Walk at Blue Hole Spring

blue hole spring

Follow a 0.5 mile trail from the north entrance over the wetlands and through the Florida Forest to Blue Hole Spring. Only experienced swimmers should swim in this spring as it is deeper and has strong currents.

We met a local who told us that the best way to see the cavern was with goggles and by swimming along the outside of the spring, then looking with the goggles to see underwater. He told us that one of the biggest mistakes he sees is swimmers trying to swim directly above the spring, but the currents are too strong to swim.

Diving at Blue Hole, Photo Credit: Columbia County Tourism Development Council
Diving at Blue Hole, Photo Credit: Columbia County Tourism Development Council

This area is completely deep and there is no shallow access. It’s worth taking a short walk, even if you don’t swim in it to see its beauty. We also saw a variety of wildlife near the spring, such as sunbathing turtles and even a snake.

You are also allowed to scuba dive in Blue Hole Spring if you are cave or grotto certified.

There are no lifeguards at either source.

blue hole spring
blue hole spring

Tubing at Ichetucknee Spring State Park

You can also choose to tubing down the river from the South Entrance of Ichetucknee. You can either rent tubes from local vendors or bring your own tubes (less than 60 inches).

There is a tram ride available ahead of time to the General Store if you choose to travel to the furthest point.

Be aware that the park limits the number of tubers from the mid-term launch.

Visit Ichetucknee Spring State Park

We visited in April and the park was not crowded, but online reviews indicate that the park can get crowded during the summer months and visitors should plan to arrive early.

Admission fee was $6 per vehicle.

You cannot drive through the park from the south (State Rd 27) to the north entrance (State Rd 238) so make sure you arrive at the correct entrance for your chosen activity.

8294 SW Elim Church Rd, Fort White, FL is the address given to us by the Park Ranger to get to the north entrance. It didn’t exactly lead us to the entrance, but it got us close enough to see the signage.

The online address for the south entrance is 12087 SWUS Highway 27, Fort White FL.

The park opens at 8 a.m. each day and closes at sunset. The tubing may close earlier.

Stay near Ichetucknee Springs State Park

If you liked this, check out another Florida state park with beautiful springs: Blue Springs State Park

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