Saturday, November 1, 2014

Rainbow River K.P. Hole to Rainbow Springs State Park

Mark paddling downstream, development to his right, park to his left
   Rainbow River is absolutely gorgeous; clear, filled with big fish and turtles, bordered (to one side anyway) by a state park.  From May to September it's a popular tubing site, groups of tubes up to ten feet in diameter float downstream.  And even, in October on a weekday, we didn't have it to ourselves.  There was a group of school children snorkeling, a group learning to scuba diver, a private group in a canoe snorkeling, assorted canoes,  kayaks, jet skis and pontoon boats, even another paddleboarder.
K.P. swim area and boat fleet
   We launched from a county park, K.P. Hole.  K.P. stands for Knights of Pythias, a fellowship which was the original owner of the park.  Technically we were launching from the ramp beside the park, but the fee had to be paid at the park, and we walked across park property to launch the boards.
We had to purchase a band to launch, and even the band reminds us of the ban on disposable containers.
   In an effort to preserve Rainbow River, no disposable containers are allowed on the water.  Snacks need to be taken out of their plastic packing and stored in Tupperware,  water can't be in a disposable bottle, but in a genuine water bottle. The ban works pretty well, there was not a lot of trash, but a few cans were spotted.
Resting as I go.  I'm not sure what the water depth is here, but it averages 6-15 feet.

A school of fish swimming past
  We headed upstream and up-current to Rainbow Springs State Park.   The current averages less than a knot.  When looking for a break from wind and current, Mark would kneel, but I preferred sitting flat on the board.  We paddled with some effort about a mile and a half upstream, and easily paddled the same distance back down. 
Turtles sunning on a bank

Three boats full of kids on a snorkeling field trip (Don't you wish you'd had trips like that?)  A kayak headed upstream.
   Rainbow Springs is a first magnitude spring, pumping  over 400 million gallons of crystal clear water into the river every day.

    At the top of Rainbow River sits Rainbow Springs State Park, another former privately owned tourist attraction.  It used to have a zoo and gardens.  The zoo is gone, but the garden waterfalls remain and serve as the backdrop for many weddings.  Each time we've visited the park a wedding has been in progress. There is a separate charge to land in Rainbow Springs Park, so we didn't land, but went back the next day to get some underwater shots from near the head spring.

Rainbow Springs Wikipedia
Rainbow Springs State Park
K.P. Hole County Park

Summary:  Launch K.P. Hole, I think we paid $3 each, but the site says a fee of $5 to enter.  Flush toilets and changing rooms are available.  1.5 miles upstream to Rainbow Springs State Park, must pay entry fee to dock.  Unlimited miles downstream.  Kayak and canoe rentals are available at both KP Hole and Rainbow Springs State Park. 


  1. Very nice- another place we haven't been- I like the way they deal with disposables

    1. Thank you, they do seem to be very aware of the importance of retaining natural beauty.

  2. Wow...400 million gallons of crystal clear water every day! Hope the bottled water folks don't get their hands on it.
    Interesting policy on what type of food/drink packaging is allowed. Similar policy would be great in my neck of the woods if it applied to shore fishermen as well as to boaters.

    1. It is an interesting.policy,and it seems to work. I can t imagine the political maneuvers necessary to push that bill through. Good luck on Tuesday with the bottle bill!

  3. What a treat to see! I love the wristbands.

  4. Wow. Truly beautiful. I love Florida. So much to discover. It's so great to have a choice between a kayak and a paddleboard. I guess there are no gators in the river:) Thanks for sharing your trips and pics! Cheers from cold and cloudy Canada! Just put on the snow tires.

    1. Not a moment too soon for snow tires; we already had a foot of slushy snow and are now camping at home as we wait for power.