Rainbow Springs

Ah... Rainbow Springs

Perhaps my favorite part of North/Central Florida. You could even say it's my version of William Wise's Okefenokee. The past few years, we've rented a house along the river with our friends from Senoia, Georgia. This post will somewhat act as a photographic journey of the springs.

Encompassing miles of crystal-clear water, the Rainbow River has a lot to offer. From kayaking to boating to hiking, there are countless ways to look for wildlife. First off, you'll find the entire river aligned with magnificent cypress trees. These trees provide shelter for Anhingas, Cormorants, and Barred Owls to name a few.

Wood Ducks can be found all along the river, as conservation efforts have installed nesting boxes to protect the species.
Otters are also a common occurrence, and Rainbow Springs is the only place I've ever been able to see them.

My favorite all-time turtle can be found just beneath the surface. Growing to just around the size of your hand, the Loggerhead Musk Turtle is a precious inhabitant of the springs.

Snakes such as this Banded Watersnake are also a common occurrence.

Alligators are much rarer on the main part of the river. The individuals that live there though are smart. Because the springs can be full of tourists, they only hunt during the early morning and late evening and are hidden the rest of the day. But you can spot them off to the side of the river and on nearby hiking trails if you really try to look for them. The Withlacoochee River, which the Rainbow empties into, is much less crowded and the water is much murkier. This is the best spot to find gators such as these ones:

Endemics-wise, the springs offer quite a few:
The Strap-leaf Sagittaria is endemic to springs in N Florida

The Florida Yellowcress is typically found in hard-to-reach parts of Florida and can be found at the surface of the Rainbow River.

The Springs are a great spot to find birds. Swallow-tailed & Mississippi Kites, Limpkins, Barred Owls, Pied-billed Grebes, and Parulas are some of its residents.

Underwater, looking at fish is usually how I spend most my time.
Redbreast Sunfish

American Gizzard Shad

Longnose Gar

Thanks for reading. If you have any questions, please ask!

Posted on December 20, 2022 07:56 PM by gatorhawk gatorhawk


Great photos! I especially enjoy the perspective on the Loggerhead Musk Turtle.

Posted by wildmoss 9 months ago

Thanks, they're my favorite turtles!

Posted by gatorhawk 9 months ago

Hi, I love your pics. My favorite is pics of fish. Have you shared more pictures over here? If yes, can you share the link?

Posted by kennethwalsh99 about 1 month ago

Add a Comment

Sign In or Sign Up to add comments

Gracias al apoyo de:

¿Quiere apoyarnos? Pregúntenos cómo escribiendo a snib.guatemala@gmail.com