Ginnie Springs:
"The clearest water in the world."

ginnie spring underwater view

The Ultra-Clear Waters of Ginnie Spring

Trip Information

General Description: Spend the day snorkeling the crystal clear springs at this favorite north Florida dive site. You might even try a night snorkel.

Starting and ending point: N 29 deg 50 min 03 sec, W 82 deg 42 min 08 sec Take County Road 340 out of the town of High Springs. Go about 6.5 miles to the turnoff to Ginnie Springs. The park is about 1 mile down the road after you turn off County Road 340.

Contact Information: Ginnie Springs

Jacques Cousteau reportedly pronounced Ginnie Springs to be "the clearest water in the world." A cave diver's dream, it also holds a lot to see for us snorkelers. The constant (winter and summer) 72° water is invigorating in summer, and relatively warm in winter when the air temperature can drop into the 20s Fahrenheit on some cold north-Florida winter nights.

Through near-perfect visibility you'll see a beautiful underwater world, including the huge grottos where water from the aquifer gushes into magnificent spring pools and down the spring runs into the Santa Fe River.

I shot this 2-minute video in Ginnie Spring one December afternoon in 2010. It gives a first-hand look at a couple of SCUBA divers emerging from Ginnie Cavern at the bottom of Ginnie Spring.

ginnie spring

Night Snorkeling

In addition to daytime snorkeling, night snorkeling can be a real treat. You'll probably see more underwater life, including crayfish, turtles, and larger fish. Ginnie Spring and the Devil Spring System are lit by overhead lights until 1 AM.

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

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