Essential Items for Your Florida Springs Adventure
Florida’s natural springs are an incredible way to experience the state’s unique beauty and enjoy a refreshing escape from the summer heat. Whether you’re planning to swim, snorkel, paddle, or simply relax by the water, packing the right gear can make all the difference. In this blog post, we’ll outline the must-have items to bring along for your Florida springs adventure, ensuring you’re well-prepared for a fun and memorable experience.
Swimsuit and Quick-Dry Towel
First and foremost, you’ll need a comfortable swimsuit for your time in the springs. Choose a swimsuit that’s appropriate for the activities you plan to participate in, whether it’s swimming, snorkeling, or paddling. Additionally, bring along a quick-dry towel that’s compact and lightweight, making it easy to carry in your bag and ensuring you can dry off quickly after your time in the water.
Water Shoes or Sandals
The springs’ surroundings can be rocky or slippery, so it’s essential to protect your feet with appropriate footwear. Water shoes or sandals with good grip will provide the necessary traction and support, ensuring you can safely navigate the area around the springs.
Florida’s sunshine can be intense, especially during the summer months. To protect yourself from harmful UV rays, pack sunscreen with a high SPF, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses with UV protection. Don’t forget to reapply sunscreen throughout the day, particularly after swimming or sweating. When visiting natural springs or any other sensitive aquatic ecosystems, it’s essential to choose an eco-conscious sunscreen that won’t harm the environment. Look for a sunscreen that is labeled as “reef-safe” or “biodegradable.” These sunscreens usually use mineral-based active ingredients, such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which are less harmful to aquatic life compared to chemical-based sunscreens.
One popular eco-conscious sunscreen brand is Raw Elements. Their sunscreens are made with non-nano zinc oxide and organic, natural ingredients. They are water-resistant, biodegradable, and reef-safe, making them an excellent choice for use in springs and other natural bodies of water.
Other eco-friendly sunscreen brands to consider include Thinksport, Badger, and Stream2Sea. When choosing a sunscreen, always check the label for ingredients and certifications to ensure it’s safe for both you and the environment.
Many of Florida’s springs boast crystal-clear waters teeming with fish and other aquatic life, making them ideal for snorkeling. Bring along a snorkel, mask, and fins to fully enjoy the underwater world of the springs. If you’re a beginner, consider investing in a dry snorkel, which prevents water from entering the tube when you dive below the surface.
A dry bag is an essential item for keeping your belongings safe and dry while you’re in or near the water. Choose a bag with a secure seal and enough space to hold your essentials, such as your phone, wallet, keys, and any extra clothing.
Hydration and Snacks
Staying hydrated is crucial during any outdoor adventure, especially in Florida’s warm climate. Bring along a reusable water bottle, preferably insulated, to keep your water cool throughout the day. Also, pack some light snacks to keep your energy levels up as you explore the springs and engage in various activities.
Bugs can be a nuisance near water sources, so come prepared with a natural, eco-friendly insect repellent. One of the most well-known and widely recommended natural insect repellents is oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE).
Oil of lemon eucalyptus is derived from the leaves of the lemon eucalyptus tree and has been shown to provide protection against mosquitoes and other insects. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognizes OLE as an effective natural alternative to DEET and other chemical-based repellents.
A popular product containing oil of lemon eucalyptus is Repel’s Plant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent. This DEET-free spray is formulated with 30% oil of lemon eucalyptus and provides long-lasting protection against mosquitoes, ticks, and other insects.
It’s important to note that natural insect repellents may need to be reapplied more frequently than their chemical-based counterparts, so always follow the product instructions for the best results. Additionally, consider testing a new repellent on a small area of skin first to ensure you don’t have an adverse reaction to the ingredients.
Waterproof Camera or Phone Case
Capture the beauty of Florida’s springs with a waterproof camera or a waterproof phone case. These items will allow you to safely take photos and videos both above and below the water’s surface, preserving your memories of the springs for years to come.
If you plan on tubing, relaxing on the water, or simply want some extra support while swimming, bring along a floatation device. This can include inflatable tubes, pool noodles, or even a life jacket for those who may not be strong swimmers.
A Sense of Adventure
Lastly, bring along a sense of adventure and a willingness to explore the incredible natural beauty of Florida’s springs. From paddling with manatees at Crystal River to discovering the underwater caves at Merritt’s Mill, there’s a wealth of experiences waiting for you.
A visit to Florida’s springs is an unforgettable experience, but having the right gear can make all the difference in ensuring your adventure is enjoyable and hassle-free. By packing these essential items, you’ll be well-prepared to make the most of your time at the springs, whether you’re swimming, snorkeling, or simply soaking in the natural beauty.
Remember to respect the environment and adhere to any park rules and regulations during your visit. This will help preserve these natural wonders for future generations to enjoy. Now, with your bags packed and your sense of adventure in tow, you’re ready to dive into the magical world of Florida’s springs and create memories that will last a lifetime.