Doug & Barbara Peterson

Doug & Barbara Peterson
Barbara & I at a scenic overlook on the skyline drive in the Rocky Mountain National Park, 8-13-2016

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Florida State Parks, Rainbow Springs State Park


Rainbow Springs is located just outside Dunnellon, FL. The campground is about a mile down stream on the Rainbow River from the spring head. The campsites have full hookups. There is canoe/ kayak launch in the park with a cart to transport your kayak to the river. A word to the wise call ahead if you have a reservation as the gate is closed and you will need a code to get in anytime of the day or night. 


Our Campsite at Rainbow Springs

Our friend Judy Leslie & Barbara at our campfire

View of the Rainbow River from the kayak launching area at Rainbow Springs State Park
The main attraction at Rainbow Springs State Park is the beautiful Rainbow River that flows from the spring head a mile north of the kayak launch in the park. The waters are crystal clear for the entire length of the river with numerous springs all along the flow that keep the river clear. 

Rainbow Springs head waters swimming area

Clear waters of the Rainbow Springs taken at the main spring from one of the many hiking paths

View of the Rainbow River from the visitors center at Rainbow Springs State Park
Barbara and I joined up with the Solivita Kayak Club for a paddle up to the spring head and down the Rainbow River to just past the bridge on Hwy 484 where the launch is located at Blue Run Park in Dunnellon Park. Near by is the popular restaurant Swampy's Bar and Grill located on the banks of the Rainbow River just north of the bridge. During our five hour paddle we up to the Rainbow Springs head spring and docked at the launch docking facility to enjoy lunch in the gardens that surround the visitor center. Our afternoon paddle down the rainbow river from the headwaters was enjoyable . The wildlife, beautiful homes and clear waters of the Rainbow River provided a picture perfect journey.

Solivita Kayak Club at the launch facilities located at the head waters of Rainbow Spring State Park

Paddling the clear waters of the Rainbow River 





Views from the vantage point of paddler






Wildlife is abundant and special during the entire course of the Rainbow River Run






There are many facilities to rent and launch canoes and kayaks along the river. Rainbow River State Park has Tubing available from the parks vendor on the weekends during the off season and all week long during the summer season. Kayak rentals are available to campers for a very reasonable price. There many Vendors located in the area as well with various locations to launch from including KP Hole County Park which is almost directly across from the launch at Rainbow Rive State Park.

Tube vendor employee at the tubing pull out facility at Rainbow Springs State Park

KP Hole County Park boat launch area on the Rainbow River

Tube take out dock at Rainbow Springs State Park
We had a wonderful time exploring the waters of the Rainbow River and the trails in the park. Rainbow River State Park will always be on our list to visit for it's many opportunities to explore nature along one our state's most popular springs runs. 

Board walk leading to the tube take out at Rainbow Springs State Park 
Hiking Trail leading out to the Rainbow River



Cardinal at Visitors Center located at the head springs of the Rainbow River
Hiking Trail near the campground

Monday, April 9, 2018

Florida State Parks, Silver Springs State Park,



Silver Springs State Park

Silver Springs State Park is located just east of Ocala, FL in the town of Silver Springs, FL. The Park is one of Florida's treasures popular for decades for the multiple springs and clear water of the Silver Springs watershed. The state purchased the land and property of the privately owned concession there famous for it's glass bottom boats and multiple activities that has attracted tourist from all over the world since the turn of the last century. Fans of our state park system are happy that the state came in to purchase this historic place preserving it's legacy as one of Florida's first tourist attractions. Barbara and I have organized once again this year almost exactly one year from our last reunion with our friends to explore the waters of the Silver River. Some of the pictures in this blog post have been updated to show our groups adventure on the river and experience at the campgrounds.

Silver Springs State Park, 4/9/2018


Entrance to the trails and attractions at Silver Springs State Park, 4/9/2018

Views from the trails at Silver Springs State Park taken during our April 2018 visit






Glass bottom boat on the Crystal clear water of the Silver River Run, 4/6/2017 


Glass Bottom Boat Concession, 4/6/2017

 



The campgrounds at Silver Springs are located just south of the Main Entrance. The sites are surrounded by tall pines and are spacious with electric and water. There is a historic village located near the campgrounds which is used by the public schools in the area for educational purposes. The Village is open to the public after 4 pm every day and includes many preserved buildings and artifacts going back to the early days of the last century. There is a half mile trail leading to a docking area for kayaks for those who wish to portage there to paddle the crystal clear waters of the Silver River. 


Our campsite at Silver River State Park, 4/6/2017


Campers who joined us for our stay at Silver Springs in April 2017
Campers who joined us for our reunion at Silver Springs in April 2018
Group Breakfast at Eliot and Ellen's cabin that they rented during our April 2018 reunion. 
Group dinner at Bass Champions in Salt Springs, FL during our April 2018 reunion


There are many interesting hiking trails near the campground besides the portage trail. The Swamp Trail hike is a 2 mile hike leading to the Spring River Run. Hikers walk through the tall pines before coming to a quarter mile board walk that leads to a viewing area overlooking the River. 

Shaded board walk leading to the Silver River Run

The Silver River Run

The waters of the Silver River Run are some of the finest in the state of Florida to paddle. There is a docking area for paddlers  located near the main entrance. There is no fee to use the dock facilities if you present you campground pass. The journey down the run is an experience very few forget. The waters are crystal clear with beautiful cypress trees lining the banks and abundant wild life everywhere you look. Those who are ambitious and experienced paddlers can explore the run to Ray Wayside Park near Highway 40  five miles down river. You can find more information at Paddle Florida.net There are several local vendors available who can accommodate those who do not have kayaks or canoes and would like to experience the beauty of the Silver River Run.

Kayaking on the Silver River Run, April 2017

The clear waters of the Silver River Run reflect like a mirror, April 2017

Great Blue Heron hunting for the next meal, April 2017

Jim Baldwin and Judy Leslie paddling the head water of Silver Springs, April 2017

Family of monkeys on the banks of the Silver River Run, April 2017

Cypress trees and lush plants on the banks of the Silver River Run, April 2017
Anhinga (Snake birds) nesting along the Silver River, April, 2018



Miniature Blue Heron on the banks of the Silver River Run, April 2018
Turtles basking in the sun on the Silver River, April 2018
Big Gator basking in the sun on the banks of the Silver River, April 2018
Turtle balancing on the back of another turtle, April 2018
Our group paddling the Silver River April, 2018





Silver Springs State Park leaves a lasting impression for those who visit the park and it's many natural wonders.