Tuesday, September 13, 2016

#TravelTuesday 8// Rainbow Springs State Park

Happy Tuesday Adventurers!! 
It's time for another Travel Tuesday Linkup!
 I can't wait to see where everyone has been! 

At the end of last month we took a little FloRida trip, out towards Ocala, to have a little fun at Rainbow Springs State Park and do some tubing. It was the bomb!! Here's why... 

Where We Stayed: 
We LOVE staying at state parks and Rainbow Springs just added to the reasons why! It was a beautiful park! It doesn't matter if you had an RV or a tent, the sites were so spacious and very nicely maintained. There was still a good community park feel, but with the right amount of privacy. We love getting to see everyone at the park, but we don't love being able to see in people's windows, ya know?! Pretty much every spot at Rainbow Springs had a private little alcove, with bushes to separate you from your neighbors. There were also plenty of very nice bathrooms spread throughout the park. Though we didn't use them, for those that do, there will always be a bathroom just a short walk from your site (with laundry facilities and everything)! We also LOVED that our spot had it's own dump tank (a bonus surprise). For all fellow RVers out there, you know that's like gold!! We got up, got Flo all fresh and clean, and headed out without having to fight a line of others leaving. There was also a really nice dump station at the front of the park (double-sided, pull-thru), with nice hoses for washing your rig if needed. 

What We Did:
RIVER TUBING!! And lots of it! Rainbow Springs is located in Dunnellon, Florida and the river is pretty much the main means of entertainment- for good reason!! The river is beautiful and, because it is spring fed, it flows really fast; fast enough to tube down. The spring feeds into the river which means you aren't just floating on the spring itself, so the waterway is nice and wide, allowing for plenty of room to sit back, relax and not feel like you are right up someone else's rear-end. You do share the river with boaters, but they are mostly float boats and for the most part they are very mindful of the tubers.

We had brought our own tubes, but the park does have them available for rent, along with a tram ride that will take you from your car to the drop in point (cost is $15 per person). We chose to save the money and, because we were staying at the campground (the drop in point for tubers), Andrew was able to drive the car down to the main park entrance and then bike back to the site. He did that for each of the 3 trips we took down the river. The bike ride only took him 5-10 minutes and it saved us a bunch of $$$! We like saving money! If you aren't staying at the park, this option is still doable. You can either bring two cars, take one to the drop-in site and leave the other at the get-out point, or you can bring a bike with you and have one person drop everyone off with the tubes, drive the car down and then bike back. Yes, you would then have to pick the bike back up once you get off the river and to the car, but depending on the size of your group it can save a good bit of money for just an added 5 minutes. Remember though, this only works if you have your own tubes!! If you don't yet, I say invest in a good one! I love my flamingo tube, not only because he is cute, but also super functional (he makes the best head rest)! Babe is itching to get a River Run, with a cooler. We saw a lot on the river and they definitely looked to be where it was at ,in terms of ultimate river relaxation! Who knows, maybe I will save Freddie Flamingo for beach trips and we will invest in the double tube
When we first woke up on Friday morning we did take a little bit of time to go up and check out the other part of the park. Rainbow Springs State Park is divided into three sections and the headsprings is one of those (with the main part-for getting tubes- and the campground being the other two). It is a beautiful spot where you can swim, rent kayaks (also available and the campground) and walk around the grounds of what use to be an Old Florida attraction. The maps showing what all use to be at the park are really neat! You can walk around and explore the waterfalls and the remains left behind from when there was a zoo and other attractions at the park. It gives the park an almost eerie feel, once you get past the waterfalls and deeper into the old park, and I love me a good spooky thrill! There is just something about an abandoned place, thinking about all the stories that it holds, that builds up my adrenaline and makes me feel alive. Definitely a neat place to walk around and explore! It is also very family friendly as most of the trails are paved and therefore easily accessible by both strollers and wheelchairs! We saw a family pushing their grandpa through the park and I had to wonder if he had seen it in its hay day. 

After our trip to the headsprings, we were on the river the majority of the rest of our trip! There is a nice hike at the campground, which took us about 30 minutes, but the rest of the time was devoted to the water. We did one tube on Friday night and two on Saturday. My advice for those looking for a more intimate float, go Friday night! There was barely anyone on the river and we saw tons of wildlife, including 3 otters who were frolicking in the water! Saturday morning is definitely very busy with boaters, tubers, SUPs and kayaks. Since we weren't doing the tram we were able to time it right and wait until the tram unloaded and that group got started before we took off, so we were further away from clumps of people who had attached together, but it was still crowded. Saturday evening was quieter than the morning, but still more crowded than Friday night. So if you can get there for a weekend away definitely hit the river Friday night before the crowds come in. I would love to see what it looks like during the week!! I am trying to convince Babe that we should be camp hosts there one summer! 

And one last piece of advice! JUMP! Keep your eyes peeled along the river for swing or jump trees (on the wild side of the river; no swinging off peoples property, that's just not polite)! We found one about halfway down the river and, even though the river patrol had cut the swing and taken out the first wooden board for climbing, we were able to get up in the tree to jump out (I, of course, had to be boosted by Babe... note to self, strengthen upper body). Just do it, you will thank yourself once you are down! It was such a rush that we of course did it as many times as my climbing arms could handle! 

Where We Ate: 
We typically try to eat at a local BBQ joint on our way to set up camp, but we had left after I got off of work late Thursday and so, sadly, we didn't get to try any local fare. However, we drove through town a little bit and found a few spots to check out on our next visit, including The Blue Gator, which is along the river. We love a good riverside dive! 

We LOVED our trip! After a very go, go, go summer, it was nice to have a relaxing trip that allowed us to just sit back and soak in some of Florida's best features!! If I have anything to say about it, we will be going back again very soon!! 

Happy Travels! 
Where have you been off adventuring lately? 
Share your link below and let's travel together! 
~On the 2nd Tuesday of every month I will be sharing a new travel destination and would love to see where you have been exploring! 
~Any linked posts will be pinned under Travel Tuesday on my Pinterest
~No real rules, as I am not a huge fan of those sorts of things! Just add any travel related link and I encourage you to peek around and see where everyone else has been. Leave a little love where you like! 
~Feel free to grab the image from the sidebar and add it to your post so others know where to link up. 
~I will also be sharing my favorite post from the month before. August's fave was from Away She Went, because I am itching to get to Glacier National Park! It has been on my bucket list for ages!! 


Excited to explore the globe with you all!!


17 comments:

  1. Florida has some really great state parks. I haven't been to Rainbow Springs before, but I'll have to put it on my list next time I'm in Florida :)

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    1. You definitely should!! It is one of my favorites so far!! Thanks for stopping by! Happy Thursday!

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  2. That place looks so fun! Florida is one on my travel list. Hope to visit one day.

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    1. It was definitely a fun trip! Hoping you can get here soon!!
      Happy Thursday!

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  3. Oh my goodness! I live in Florida, about 2 hours south of orlando. I LOVE going up to the springs. My favorite by far is Kelly Springs in Apopka! I've never gone camping up there. I'm feeling inspired to do so though. I am major fan of traveling - I want to see the world! I am getting ready to do a "travel Florida" kind of series and I'm so happy I found your link up!

    Tiffany @ Arrows + awe

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    1. YES to Florida gals!! We love Kelly Springs too! That's only about a 40 minute drive for us, so we will usually make a day trip out of it! If you have never been to Rainbow Springs you have to try it soon! It's like Kelly Springs on steroids (bigger river, longer float, more to see)! Can't wait to check out your Florida travel post once you get it up! Here's to seeing the world and having one heck of a beautiful state to call home!!
      Happy Thursday!

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  4. This looks like so much fun! What a great place to visit :)

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  5. It looks like you had such a an awesome time!

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  6. Yay another FL girl! I've been here a couple of times. So fun!

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    1. Love me some Florida girls!! And it's so great, isn't it?! This was our first time, but it definitely won't be our last!

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  7. I would definitely love the abandoned park and zoo! Places like that are creepy, but so interesting!

    Thanks for featuring my Glacier NP trip! We had such an amazing time and I hope I'll get to go back some day!

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    1. You bet! I loved your pictures!

      And yes, it was definitely a little creepy, but so neat! Happy Thursday!

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  8. A TRAVEL link-up?!! I love it! I'm a travel writer for all things southern and I adore this site. I added my link to Vacation Spots in Georgia (the 7 wonders) AND I subscribed.

    The How-to Guru

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  9. A TRAVEL link-up?!! I love it! I'm a travel writer for all things southern and I adore this site. I added my link to Vacation Spots in Georgia (the 7 wonders) AND I subscribed.

    The How-to Guru

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    1. So glad you joined in!! I LOVE Georgia and your spots all went on my road-trip bucket list! So excited to peek around your site more!
      Happiest of Thursdays!

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  10. What a great idea to have a travel link-up! I loved reading about your adventure in Florida and I just added mine (in Minneapolis). All the best!
    Cheers,
    Renata

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    1. So glad you joined in!! Excited to read your post! Hope you have a beautiful day and hope to see you again for next month's linkup!

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Thanks for stopping by for a bit!
I love comments, they make me smile :) Hope you are having a wonderful day!