We left Jacksonville with two large to-go cups of coffee (thanks, Jenn!) and headed for Rainbow Springs. I had seen pictures online and knew I wanted to take a dip in the natural waters. The entrance fee was $2 a person, so I thought, this is either going to be a great secret find or a terrible experience. To Rainbow Springs! We decided to go for a walk around the springs before taking the plunge. We found out the Rainbow Springs was actually an old tourist attraction built in 1937 from old phosphorous mines. Glass bottom boat rides were the main attraction. Not much is left of the actual park besides remains of cages from their “zoo,” and a few man-made waterfalls. The park was taken over by the state years after its closing and has been in preservation-mode ever since. We walked to the swimming area and I debated getting in.
It was so beautiful, but a bit cold for a 70 degree day. I stuck my feet in and made a few fish friends.
They welcomed me into their waters. In reality, a really nice worker told me it would be worth it and wouldn’t be so cold once I got in. And that the “alligator warning” sign was just a precaution.
The water took my breath away at first, but after swimming a bit, I warmed up.
I swam out as far as my noodle-y arms felt comfortable and made my way back to the dock. The shallowest part is over six feet, so my treading water skills came in handy.
Overall, I was really happy with the experience and got the whole spring to myself while I was swimming. After I toweled off, Ryan and I spent the rest of the afternoon reading in a little sunny spot near the spring.
Ryan had a bit of a headache, so he healed up with some vitamin D and a little snooze.
After we’d had enough sun, we headed to our second home (Walmart). We bought some fresh veggies and munched on them in the front seat while listening to a podcast about The Silk Road (thanks, Jules & Steve!) Nothing like listening to a man get life with no parole for building a secretive online drug and weapons empire in a Walmart parking lot to make you feel alive. We made our bed up next to the other campers and RVs and said goodnight.