Rainbow Springs State Park | Outdoorsy

Rainbow Springs State Park
Guide

Introduction

Sapphire blue waters, peaceful gardens, and beautiful waterfalls are waiting for RV lovers at Rainbow Springs State Park. A wildlife lover's dream, Rainbow Springs State Park is home to abundant wildlife including water birds, alligators, turtles, otters, and fish. This 1,472-acre park is home to one of Florida’s largest natural springs and is a perfect RV destination for nature walks, swimming, fishing, and tubing.

Warm Florida weather makes Rainbow Springs State Park a gem of an RV stop near the Gulf Coast, and the history of the area dates back over 10,000 years to when Native Americans utilized the natural springs they found here for drinking water. By the early 20th century, the springs were a favorite tourist stop, and man-made waterfalls and gardens were built for public enjoyment. In the 1990s, the natural landmark and aquatic preserve were designated as a State Park.

Although some activities such as tubing are seasonal, Rainbow Springs State Park is a popular swimming and paddling destination year-round. If you plan to visit in the early spring, you’ll be greeted by the park's famous pink, purple, and white azalea blooms too.

Planning on staying at the park during your trip? Thanks to the incredible RV-friendly camping facilities rigs up to 103 feet in length will be able to use one of the 47 sites that were built for RV use. If you are just visiting for the day arriving early is recommended as the park is often filled to capacity. Peak season at Rainbow Springs State Park runs from March until November.

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Camping Accommodations

103'
Max RV length
103'
Max trailer Length
Electrical hookup
Water hookup
Generator use
Food storage
Sewer hookup
Dogs & cats

RV Rentals in Rainbow Springs State Park

Transportation

Driving

Located on the western Gulf coast of Florida southwest of Ocala, Rainbow Springs State Park is easily accessible from major routes in the area and is within a short distance of Routes 41, 75 and 40. All of the roads in and around the park are kept in very good condition, and the flat terrain means that you won't have any trouble driving your rig during your visit. The RV campground entrance is separated six miles from the headsprings day-use area and visitor center, so be conscious of which entrance you choose. The roads in the campground are suitable for RVs over 100 feet so you won't have to worry about any tight corners or switchbacks when parking your rig.

If you need to get any supplies before your stay at Rainbow Springs State Park there are plenty of places located nearby that you can visit, including Chatmire (around three miles away), Dunnellon (around four miles away), and Ocala, which is the closest city to the park.

Parking

There is a large parking area by the visitor center with plenty of spots to park your trailer while you explore the day-use area. The day-use area can fill up quickly during the peak times of the weekend, so if you are just visiting for a day trip it is recommended that you arrive early.

Public Transportation

Campgrounds and parking in Rainbow Springs State Park

Campsites in Rainbow Springs State Park

Reservations camping

Rainbow Springs State Park Campground

The most common place for visitors to stay at during their RV trip to Rainbow Springs State Park is within the campground. Located around six miles from the headsprings in a separate facility from the day-use area, the campground has a total of 47 RV-friendly sites for you to choose from. All of the RV sites within the Rainbow Springs State Park Campground feature full hookups, which is a rarity and a fantastic feature!

Along with having full hookups, each site also comes with a picnic table, fire ring, and grate. Access to the river will also be very easy since the campground is located close to the waterway, and RVs up to 103 feet in length will be able to stay here. Campground-wide amenities include a recreation hall, camp store, showers, comfort stations, a dump station, playground, and laundry facilities. Pets are welcome to join you during your stay, and ADA-accessible sites are available at this campground.

Since there is only one campground within Rainbow Springs State Park it is recommended that you book a reservation, which can be made up to 11 months in advance.

First-come first-served

First-Come First-Served Camping

All of the RV and tent sites that are not reserved become available on a first-come, first-served basis. Since Rainbow Springs is such a popular vacation destination it is not recommended that you rely on first-come, first-served camping, especially if you have an RV on the larger side.

Alternate camping

Private Campgrounds

If you are interested in staying in the surrounding area there are three nearby private RV campgrounds if you prefer to park your rig outside the park. These private campgrounds vary in amenities, but most of them will provide modern amenities such as Wi-Fi, swimming pools, laundry facilities, and on-site activities.

You can choose your style of accommodations from rustic to luxurious with the most popular private campground being around 12 miles away from the park. All three of the campgrounds take reservations so you can guarantee a place to stay before you depart for your journey.

Tent-Only Camping

If you aren't planning on bringing your RV to Rainbow Springs State Park there are seven tent-only sites next to each other in a small loop on the northern side of the campground. The loop contains restrooms and is close to all of the major campground amenities. You will also be right near the playground and be able to use the 50-amp electric hookups, water hookups, and picnic table that are located at each site. These tent-only sites can accommodate up to eight people and can be used all year round.

Seasonal activities in Rainbow Springs State Park

Off-Season

Fishing

Designated as an Outstanding Florida Waterway by the State of Florida, the Rainbow River is a great place to park the trailer and cast a line. Fishing the river is allowed by boat, kayak, canoe and from the banks so you will have plenty of options to choose from. The river is home to many species of fish, including bass, mullet, sunfish, gar, and the water is so clear that you may even see the fish before you hook them. Please note that catch-and-release fishing is recommended, and fishing is not allowed near the spring run.

Picnicking

One of the most popular activities off the water at Rainbow Springs State Park is to have a picnic with your friends or family that are joining you on your RV getaway. Picnic tables and grills perfect for cooking up a storm are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The park also has covered picnic pavilions available via reservation or use if unoccupied. Thanks to the pleasant warm weather that Florida is renowned for you can spend a day grilling and taking in the sunshine any time of year.

Wildlife Photography

The beautiful waters of Rainbow River and Springs attract not only human visitors, but many species of wildlife. Aquatic and land-loving wildlife are abundant such as turtles, otters, snakes, deer, turkeys, water birds, and even the occasional alligators. The many species of animals means that the park is an ideal place for photographers who are looking to snap some pictures of the local flora and fauna at any time of the year.

Bird Watching

Rainbow Springs makes up a section of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail, making it a great RV stop for any birding enthusiast. Florida is along the Atlantic Flyway and home to a diverse array of migrations and resident species. Frequent bird sightings in this area include owls, woodpeckers, hawks, wading birds, and songbirds so there will be many different species to view. The park is also the location of a guided bird walk one Saturday a month, and a park-specific birding list has also been created for visitors to keep track of what they see during their visit.

Geocaching

If you’re ready for an outdoor adventure, try your luck Geocaching. Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunt that uses GPS devices to find hidden caches in the park. A great way to learn geography and explore, this game will lead you to discover areas of the park you might not otherwise have found. Before your arrival at the park, you can print out a tracking sheet to keep track of the treasure you find during your motorhome adventure.

In-Season

Paddling

Another great water-based recreational activity for visitors to Rainbow Springs State Park is to get out on the water in a kayak or canoe and go paddling. An on-site launch located near the campground will have you cruising over the clear waters of the river where you can enjoy the sights and sounds and keep an eye out for wild otters, fish, and wading birds. Canoe and kayak rentals are also available from the park if you didn't travel with a watercraft.

Tubing

Tubing the Rainbow River is a great two-hour experience for those looking for some thrill-seeking on your RV getaway. Sign up with guest services to take the shuttle two miles upstream and get rolling down the Rainbow River. From there you can leisurely float back to your starting point while taking in the natural beauty of flowing Florida waterways. Tube rentals are available with guest services for a fee so if you don't have your own you won't have to miss out on all of the fun.

Hiking

Rainbow Springs is a great place for visitors who are looking for hiking trails that are suitable for the whole family. The trails will take you on a garden stroll through shady gardens dotted with benches for resting. Paved walkways lead through shady gardens filled with azaleas, oaks, and magnolias, and you will also get to pass by three man-made waterfalls. There is also a native plant garden that is popular with the local butterflies and hummingbirds.

Snorkeling

The clarity of the natural spring water gives snorkelers a picture-perfect view of fish, turtles, and plenty of other wildlife. Snorkeling the headsprings is allowed in the buoyed swimming area and group expedition programs are also run seasonally if you are looking for an adventure. Additional snorkeling spots are located near the campground and from boats, so make sure you bring your snorkel in your camper.

Swimming

Famed for its crystal clear natural spring water, remember to pack your swimming gear in your rig so you can cool off during your visit. As one of Florida’s largest springs, more than 400 gallons of freshwater is pumped out each day for visitors to enjoy. This spring water is also 72 degrees all year round, so it is especially refreshing on hot summer days. The most popular place to go swimming is in the designated swimming area at the day-use area, but you can also splash about near the campground.