Down a Lazy River

At Ginnie Springs, Commune With Friends—Not Just Nature

It’s a little like Deliverance, but instead of hearing dueling banjos you’ll hear "Old Town Road" blasting from someone’s Bluetooth speakers.

By Isaac Eger September 1, 2019 Published in the September 2019 issue of Sarasota Magazine

Ginnie Springs

Image: Peter Pontone

Ginnie Springs Outdoors, LLC  | 7300 Ginnie Springs Road, High Springs  |

Private individuals cannot own springs. Water belongs to the public. You can, however, own the land around the spring above the normal high-water mark. Ginnie Springs, about 30 miles northwest of Gainesville, is one of the very few privately owned springs and the only privately owned spring on this list.

To get to the entrance requires a bit of a walk along a dirt road through campsites. Overnight campers put up banners like tribal flags and compete to see who is having the most fun.

But if anything distinguishes Ginnie Springs from the other tubing spots, it’s that it appeals to people who don’t like being told what to do. While rules exist, like quiet time after midnight, they are not strictly enforced. It’s the only spring that allows you to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes and climb to the top of the tallest tree hanging over the water and jump in, no matter how many times your mom begs you to get down. Hell, if you rigged up a charcoal grill to an inner tube, nobody would stop you.

Because of its relative lawlessness, it doesn’t have the serenity of the other springs, but it's fun to scramble up the river bank to use one of the several available rope swings.

The river is consistent in width and is shallow at points. The water clarity isn’t quite as good as the other springs; instead of grass, the river bottom is mostly mud and stone. Pockets of crystal-clear water allow you to swim out of the river’s current and explore, but it’s not alive with life like the other springs.

But at Ginnie, you’re here to commune with friends, not just nature. You’ll pass by campsites with folks hanging out along the left side of the river. It’s a little like Deliverance, but instead of hearing dueling banjos you’ll hear Billy Ray Cyrus’s Old Town Road blasting from someone’s Bluetooth speakers.


1-1½ hour float


Adults: $14.02 / Kids: $3.74 / Under 5: Free / Tube rentals: $6 to $12


72.5 F

Distance from Sarasota

3 hours

Gallons flowing per day

38 million

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