Regarding night snorkeling and alligators: I'm told the danger from alligators is minimal. But this IS Florida, and we DO have alligators.
Since these creatures are more active at night always be aware of what's around you and use good judgment about where you snorkel, especially at night.
One of my most memorable New Year's Eves was spent introducing my English niece to the wonders of a near-midnight snorkel in Ginnie Spring. The air temperature was COLD, but the water was bearable after a short time. By flashlight, we saw the incredible beauty of the underwater world here at these crystal springs, including some rather large freshwater crayfish.
Later, we all toasted our experience (and the new year) with champagne, followed by cups of steaming hot coffee, which went down well on that exceptionally chilly New Year's eve.
Besides the main spring (Ginnie), there are others. Shown below is Little Devil Run, which is about 300 yards from Ginnie Spring.
The Santa Fe River holds ancient secrets
The springs here flow into the Santa Fe River. Often the Santa Fe water flows dark with tannin, but during times of little rainfall the river clears to the color of weak iced tea, offering decent visibility. At these times, you might find fossils or artifacts, such as projectile points, dating back thousands of years.
A private park open to the public
Ginnie Springs is a private park open to the public for an entrance fee. Florida camping sites are available along the Santa Fe River and in other places in the park. On a busy week-end--especially when there's a home football game at the University of Florida--a good bit of partying goes on. For some, that may be a turn-off; for others, it's part of the fun.
A main store has diving equipment, groceries, camping supplies, clothes, and more. The place is often crowded on a hot weekend, but at some other times there are few, if any, people around the springs.
Last revised December 2010