Ichetucknee Springs State Park is home to one of the most fun things we did during our Florida road trip.
While some of the best things to do in Florida revolve around hanging out on the beaches or visiting the cities like Miami, Florida isn’t all about the coast.
Head inland and to the north for something rather special: Ichetucknee Springs (pronounced: Itchnatucky).
Ichetucknee Springs State Park is a huge Florida State Park and National Natural Landmark towards the north of the state of Florida. At the heart of it is the Ichetucknee River.
This 6-mile-long river flows through shaded hammocks and wetlands and it is fed by natural springs that maintain a pretty warm temperature of about 71.6°F (22 degrees Celsius) all year round. So, when it’s hot outside (as it tends to be in Florida) the waters are incredibly refreshing.
People tend to come to Ichetucknee Springs for one reason and one reason only: tubing.
Ichetucknee tube rentals
There are several places you can rent tubes from but the original is Ichetucknee Tubing Centre. The owner will be able to tell you all about the history of the area (as she did us) and give you plenty of information on where to head next, how to get to the springs, and probably where to get the best meal nearby too. You can rent the cheapest tubes for just $5 a day (which was what we did). There are slightly fancier options for $7 which come with seats and a hole to put a drink in. Or get a double seater for $10 a day.
The staff help you tie it onto your car and they’ve got plenty of years of experience. I don’t think there’s a car out there that they couldn’t manage to tie some tubes to! If you’re in a group you can also get some string from them so that when you’re out on the water you can tie your tubes together so that someone doesn’t speed off ahead or fall behind.
Unfortunately, the Ichetucknee Tubing Centre closed down in 2021 and so now the best place to rent a tube from is Ichetucknee Springs online which is the park’s concession stand. You can also bring your own float as long as it is not bigger than 60 inches in any two directions.
Prices for Ichetucknee tube rentals start from $7.50 per tube with rentals available at the General Store located at the South Entrance of Ichetucknee Springs State Park.
Ichetucknee Springs cost
Entering the state park costs $6 per vehicle for up to 8 people, or $4 for a single-passenger car.
If you go early on in the season there probably won’t be a guard there so remember to be honest and put your $6 in the envelopes provided.
The park opens at 8 am and gets super busy. On weekends and during holidays you may be refused entry due to capacity limits. The gates reopen as space become available.
Tubing Ichetucknee Springs
There are two launch sites for tubing Ichetucknee Springs. There’s the Midpoint Launch and Dampier’s Landing.
To get to the Midpoint Launch you can ride the tram, or walk along the hiking trails through the forest. You’ll need to buy a tram wristband from the concession stand at the south gate within the park. Once you’ve finished your tubing, you’ll be able to take the tram back to the parking lot at the South Entrance.
If you go from Midpoint Launch the tubing takes about 45 minutes to a 1-hour trip where you’ll reach Dampier’s Landing. You can also continue for another hour to get to the South Takeout Point.
Midpoint Launch has a capacity of 3,00 tubers a day. If this is not reached, it closes at 4 p.m.
Dampier’s Landing is the other launch spot. From Dampier’s Landing, it’s roughly a 1-hour journey down the river to South Takeout Point. There is currently no capacity for the amount of people that can tube this section and it’s open until 5 p.m. daily.
You can ride the tram back to the south entrance parking lot.
Our experience tubing Ichnetucknee Springs
When we visited the springs on a very hot (34-degree) Sunday in early April, I thought the springs would be packed.
Surprisingly (but happily) the springs were very empty which made it all the more enjoyable.
I’ve heard that the river gets packed in summer and I’d imagine it’d be hell so maybe only go here if you’re visiting Florida in spring.
Floating from Midpoint to the end takes about 2 hours depending on how much you push and kick yourselves down.
It’s nice and shaded thanks to the tree canopy above so just sit back and relax. Don’t go too fast or you’ll miss spotting the turtles, fish (and maybe manatees which apparently like to swim in here too in the colder months).
Once you’ve reached the end you can do it all over again. For us, we were able to leave our tube in the designated area and it was picked up by our rental company.
What to know about tubing in Florida at Ichetucknee Springs
Below are some important things to know before you rent a tube at Ichetucknee Springs.
- Food, disposable items, pets, fishing, radios, coolers, tobacco products, and trash are not allowed on the river.
- Alcoholic beverages are forbidden on the river and within the park boundaries.
- Inspections may be conducted to ensure compliance with these rules.
- Visitors must exit the river by 6 p.m.You can bring your own tubes or rent from external vendors, but the size of the tubes should not exceed 60 inches in any two directions.
- Tubing is open year-round from either the Midpoint or Dampier’s Landing, located at the south main entrance off Highway 27.
- Ichetucknee Springs prices for the day are around $13.50 per person (for park entrance and single tube rental)
FAQs about Ichetucknee Springs Florida
How cold is Ichetucknee Springs?
The water at Ichetucknee Springs maintains a constant temperature of about 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22 degrees Celsius) year-round, providing a refreshing experience even during the hot summer months.
How long is Ichetucknee Springs?
Ichetucknee Springs is home to a 6-mile-long river system that provides a perfect venue for tubing, canoeing, snorkeling, and kayaking.
How much does it cost to get into Ichetucknee Springs?
Ichetucknee Springs state park tickets cost $6 per vehicle for up to 8 people, or $4 for a single-passenger car.
How much is it to rent a tube a Ichetucknee
Ichetucknee springs tubing prices start from $7.50 per tube for the most basic type. You could go all out with your Ichetucknee Springs tube rental and get something fancier for a higher price.
When does Ichetucknee Springs open
Ichetucknee Springs State Park generally opens at 8 a.m. every day. Closing times vary depending on the season and the park can close early due to reaching capacity.
Final thoughts on Ichetucknee River tubing
Enjoying an Ichetucknee tube rental experience was one of the highlights of the places we visited on the East Coast.
It’s a unique, relaxing, and immersive experience in Florida’s pristine natural surroundings.
The crystal-clear waters, consistently cool temperatures, and breathtaking environment make it an excellent choice for families, outdoor enthusiasts, and those looking for fun things to do in Florida.
The Ichetucknee springs water temperature is around 71 F all year round which means it’s pleasant on a hot Florida day and not too cold either.
Last Updated on July 13, 2023 by Hannah
Hannah started That Adventurer after graduating back in 2013 and has documented all of her adventures since then. From backpacking South America to city breaks in Europe, a 3 month road trip across the USA in a self-converted van and 6 years living in Canada, you’ll find posts on all of this.
Hannah specialises in active travel and on That Adventurer you’ll find hiking, walking, biking, skiing and all sorts of active travel guides to allow you to see a destination in an adventurous way.