With summer vacation around the corner and Florida's snowbird season coming to an end, it's time to grab your crew and get your Florida travel on.

There’s a place in Florida where the water is always 72 degrees. Not kidding. And this slice of heaven is all you need when the state tries to kill you with its toaster temperatures. Natural springs are some of the most beautiful sights you’ll ever see, and they’re all over Florida. For this week’s Florida trip, we’re taking you to Ginnie Springs in High Springs, about 45 minutes northwest of Gainesville.

If just a day at the springs isn’t enough, you’re in luck. You can always bring your camping gear and camp under the stars. Expect to see animals in and out of the springs such as manatees, alligators, different types of turtles, tortoises, snakes, birds and more. Cypress and other hardwood trees line the waterfront, and about 600 acres of woods surround Ginnie Springs. You’ll also find picnic tables, a children’s playground, volleyball and more.

Last month, Day Trippin’ friend and reader Libby spent her birthday weekend there, full of diving, floating, camping and shenanigans. But some planning goes into spending a day or weekend at Ginnie Springs. Here’s what you need to know:

First, decide whether you want to spend a day or a weekend. This place can get packed, especially during weekends and holidays. You want to get there early, as in 8 a.m. at the latest. You’ll often find a line of cars at the entry point, hours before opening. This gets worse in the summer when kids are out of school.

Admission fees: There’s a fee for entering the park. These fees help keep the park clean and safe for all native species. Prices range from $3.75 for children to $14.02 for adults. However, prices might change on major holidays and weekends. Click here to see current prices.

I highly recommend bringing cash. You don’t want a declined card or messed-up card reader costing you your spot in line. Daily admission allows you to access all seven springs as well as a large selection of amenities.

Lodging/camping: If you decide to camp, make sure you arrive early as tent sites are first come, first serve, starting at 8 a.m. On weekends, people will be lined up before opening time. Also, pets are not allowed.

You can choose from camping in a tent by the river, sleeping in the Ginnie cottage with the comfort of a tiny home, or enjoying a fully electrical site with water hook-ups for your RV. Pricing for tent camping ranges from $6.54 to $22.43 per person, per night. And prices can change without notice. See all rules and details regarding camping, here.

Water activities: Ginnie Springs has many rentals such as tubes, diving equipment, paddleboards, kayaks and canoes. Or you can bring your own ridiculously over-the-top floaties as we did. Snorkeling is highly recommended here as the water is crystal clear.

If you’re a pro cave diver, you’ll love the many diving sites that include caves. You must pay a fee to dive here. See details here.

During the summer months, many people like to dive in the Santa Fe River, which is connected to Ginnie Springs. Visibility in the summer allows for divers to find fossils from giant sloths and other prehistoric mammals. Not a pro diver yet? You can get your PADI scuba diving training here. You can also fill out the admission waiver online before arriving.

Warnings:


Ginnie Springs is an "at your own risk” destination.
There are no lifeguards at the springs.
Don’t wander off without a map. You won’t have a tour guide.
This one will freak out non-Floridians, lol: Yes, like any body of water in Florida, you’re bound to see alligators. Don’t feed or swim with them. If you see one, get out of the water and contact the park ranger.

Ginnie Springs is open year-round, and it's a natural beauty we should all keep clean and healthy for generations to come. If you’d like to find out how to volunteer or help, contact the Florida Springs Institute.

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If you go: Ginnie Springs, 5000 Northeast 60th Ave.; High Springs, FL 32643; Phone: 386-454–7188. Get More Information: www.ginniespringsoutdoors.com

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