Top 3 Places to View Wildlife Around Rainbow Springs State Park

3. Halpata Tastanaki Nature Preserve

Located at a 4.4 mile distance away from Rainbow Springs State Park, Halpata Tastanaki Nature Preserve contains an extensive variety of wildlife for visitors to explore in complete serenity! From my own personal experience, I was able to view deer, jackrabbit, gray fox, a few types of birds (waders, divers and dabblers), different species of turtles as well as a couple of snakes that were slithering through the scenic trail that will take you through ecosystems of swampy areas to pine forest and oak scrub. Along this trail I had been warned of the increased number of black bear sightings but unfortunately, I was unable to spot any. Visitors can roam the trail by foot, bicycle or as some prefer: a horseback ride! As a bonus, there is an abandoned plane wreck which is located in the forest that had crashed in 2014 and was definitely worth seeing but beware the baby rattle snake that is living under it… that took me by surprise!

2. Pruitt Trailhead

Discover 6 miles of adventure on an unbeatable hike through Pruitt Trailhead which is located only 4.1 miles away from Rainbow Springs State Park. The rugged terrain of this area (caused by a ship canal dug during the Great Depression) makes it an unforgettable experience for those who’d like to take their bikes on an off-roading escapade! However, being a wildlife enthusiast, I prefer to hike through the forest to get an up close and personal view of the animals in their natural habitat. During my time spent in this area, I was fortunate enough to come across an abundance of deer, hawks, eagles, jackrabbits and a pack of wild hogs! The well-maintained trail makes discovering this forest a blast!

1. Rainbow Springs

In order to make the best of this experience, booking a tour with Get Up and Go Kayaking is a MUST! What’s so unique about this tour company is that their kayaks are 100% see through, which means that you’d have a clear view of the marine life beneath you which is crucial for this area. On this 2 to 2.5 hour paddle venture, guests have the opportunity to experience viewing fish, turtles, otters, alligators, and other wildlife swimming right beneath them as they glide along the surface of the water. Visitors can also look up for a chance to see over 14 different types of birds soaring above them or even a snake slithering through the forests to their side! Not having to worry if the water was going to be clear before I got there was also quite relieving as due to the millions of gallons of fresh water pumped out by the springs daily the water is supposedly constantly clear! My favorite part of this experience was that the tour guides were extremely educated on the wildlife so they were able to identify every single species of wildlife that we had stumbled upon. There are many different species of fish, birds and snakes that live in the area, so being able to acknowledge exactly which ones I had seen was a definite bonus!

Rainbow Springs, which is the main point of interest at Rainbow Springs State Park, is a first-magnitude artesian spring formation in Marion County, Florida. The spring formation is the fourth largest in Florida, and it produces over 490 million gallons of water on a daily basis bringing home to a large variety of wildlife waiting to be explored!