The dog days of Florida’s summer are upon us. The heat is thick, and our brains are bubbling in our skulls like a hardboiled egg. Meanwhile we’re hibernating indoors to avoid the scorching temperatures, and our air-conditioning bills have spiked to maybe I should just jump into the shower with my clothes on heights.

Yes, September is the month of our seasonal affective disorder. But Florida is also home to more than 1,000 freshwater springs, the densest concentration of springs in the world, with 19 billion gallons of water flowing through them every day.

So, take a day off, head north and float down a lazy river in a low-tech inner tube. You don’t have to pack any special gear, as each park offers tube rentals and provides transportation. Each spring is different, appealing to nature lovers to partiers to families, but the water is always a refreshing 68 to 74 degrees. I had the tough task of exploring four of our state’s coolest hot spots for tubing.

Photo by Peter Pontone

In This Feature:

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.

09/01/2019 By Isaac Eger

Rainbow Springs State Park Is the Fourth-Largest Spring Formation in Florida

And you'll share the water with a lot of critters.

09/01/2019 By Isaac Eger

Weeki Wachee Springs Offers Family-Friendly Floats

It's an ideal spring to bring the kiddos, with three huge slides that shoot swimmers into the clear water of Buccaneer Bay.

09/01/2019 By Isaac Eger

Ichetucknee Springs Is a Nature Lover's Tubing Experience

In 1970, the state of Florida turned what would have been a polluted phosphate mine into the crown jewel of Florida’s springs.

09/01/2019 By Isaac Eger

How a Spring Is Born—and Endangered

Florida’s ancient geology of cracks, caves and tunnels eventually fills to the brim when we get enough rain and the surplus spills onto the surface, creating our system of freshwater springs.

09/01/2019 By Isaac Eger