The Sunshine State might be famous for its white sand beaches and tropical blue water, but further north is the place to discover a completely different Florida. After checking out the reefs and sunken shipwrecks of Miami and the Keys, take a break from palm trees and head to the famed cold freshwater springs of North Central Florida, the spot that Jacque Cousteau called “the clearest water in the world.” With so many sunny days year round, Florida is a paradise for underwater exploring.
10. Santa Fe River
Santa Fe River is considered one of the most beautiful and pristine waterways in Florida, making it an ideal spot for snorkeling adventures. You’ll find several launch points in High Springs, a quaint town reminiscent of old Florida with its antique shops, diners, and patio cafes. The 75-mile river is sparsely populated and covered in forests, which provides a habitat for bears, bobcats and the rare Florida Panther. Underwater you’ll find turtles, vegetation, and wading birds as well as small springs and shoals along the way. There are several launch points including US 41/441 Bridge or the US 27 Bridge, which has access to public boat ramps. The water temperature is challenging for some at 72 degrees year round, but with the abundance of sunny, humid days in the Sunshine State, the ice-cold water is the perfect remedy for the oppressive heat.