We’re hoping to visit the Florida and Georgia State Parks with campgrounds during short trips every month. This time it was Rainbows Springs. The weather was cooler than we expected, but we survived. Given all the snow up north, I guess 40’s and 50’s isn’t too bad.
The park is kind of weird. One section has the campground. There is only one hiking path there. We hiked that the first day. It was full of palmettos and curvy live oak trees.
The whole area was full of spots of sand from pocket gophers. The ranger mentioned these are like the ones in “Caddyshack”. Cool!
The next day we biked down to the section for tubing. Tubing was closed for the season but open to biking. The third section is the one that is full of things-to-do. The section is only ½ mile away from the camping section, but it turns out you can’t get there without a car. So, we visited that section on the final day as we were leaving. This section used to be a tourist attraction with glass bottom boats, swimming at the springs, a garden, a zoo, and even a monorail. This all closed when Disney came to Florida and the tourists stopped coming.
The area became a state park in the 1990’s. The trails near the visitor center is also a garden with flowers blooming like these azaleas.
The springs are still open for swimming. We didn’t swim, but we saw some people heading that way. They say the water is 72 degrees all the time.
The waterfalls are interesting. The area used to be mined for phosphate. They took the tailings from the phosphate mines and built several waterfalls. The park pumps water from the springs up to pools to make the waterfalls. So, very artificial but it looks gorgeous!
The remains of the zoo are still here. To us, it looked like dinosaurs could show up at any time.
We hiked a couple of miles through the back trails to search for geocaches. There were several large pits along the trail that we assume were where they mined for phosphate.