Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Itchetucknee Springs. If you live in North Florida, you should make it a priority this summer to take a tubing trip down to the river and spend 3 hours or so floating. Disclaimer: while I have never been to Ginny Springs, I hear one complaint over and over: it's dirty. Itchetucknee is indeed not dirty! It is quite idealistic. Someone in our party of 12 actually said 'I feel like I'm in a theme park." The water is clear, 72 degrees and moves along at a lazy pace, dotted with turtles, and you'll only spend about 10 bucks a person (young kids are free). So here's what you need to know:
  • Grab some cash. You're gonna need a tube and its quicker and easier to have a 20 on hand.
  • Get there early. 8 am early. If you live in Jax this means leaving around 6 am. They only let a certain number of people in per day. Plus, getting there early means you'll most likely miss the annual afternoon thunderstorm.
  •  While you're at it, stop at the Donut Shoppe in Arlington on your way out of town. They open at 5 and got you covered, you'll be prepared for their cash only policy because you already hit the ATM, right? 
  • Sunscreen up before you leave the house and right before you go into the water. Trust me. Wear a rash guard if you have one to help protect you from the sun. 
  • Rent a big tube, don't trouble yourself with a raft. You'll see tube rental stations dotting the roadside on your way to the spring, they're all about $5 for a single and $10 for a double tube. I saw quite a few poor desperate tweens in rafts with little paddles trying to get out of the weeds and while hilarious, it was very pathetic. Tubes give you mobility and make it easier to jump off the side and swim when you get too hot. 
  • Bring your kids if they're up for it. You can always test out doing a half float which takes about 45 minutes or just swimming in the spring. Just remember that the water is cold and there are no exits!
  • Meet up with any stragglers BEFORE you even get close to the park. There is 0 cell service for miles around the park, and you will never ever find them if they didn't caravan up with you. 
  • Do the full 3 hour float. After such a long meandering drive, do yourself a favor and do the entire float. You'll have much more fun and get to enjoy the deserted front portion of the spring. 
  • Bring bungees to tie your parties tubes together and avoid spreading out over a mile or so. Sure, you'll always catch up to one another but there is ALWAYS a slow poke who gets sucked into the weeds on the side of the river. Always. 
  • Come with a caravan. I always have more fun when there are at least 10 of us spread up and down the river. 
  • Wear water shoes. Most of the first half of the river is full of long water grass. Sometimes this grass is so long and thick that its poking its little head out of the water. It's not particularly yucky or anything, but it can be a bit slimy. You've also got submerged logs, slick rocks and other things that I personally do not enjoy touching with my bare feet. 
  • Bring a GoPro or waterproof camera, but leave your jewelry and keys back at the car. 
  • Keep your eyes open but don't be afraid! I have never seen anything more dangerous then an otter on the river, but of course there are snakes and maybe even a rouge alligator or two. On a packed day, there are over 800 people floating down the river and those critters make themselves scare, believe me. Jump off your tube! Swim alongside in the clear water and cool off! 
This makes me want to plan another trip! Who's in?

1 comment:

  1. It looks just like Jared has a speedo on here and I can't quit laughing.