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Paddle Rainbow River, Rainbow Springs, kayak, canoe, FloridaPaddle Rainbow River, kayak, canoe, Florida

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Reported: Nov. 2011

Rainbow River... Crystal Clear Paddling

Rainbow Springs, a first magnitude spring (the fourth-largest in Florida), forms the Rainbow River which winds with an easy current for almost 6 miles to the Withlacoochee River. A designated Outstanding Florida Waterway, the entire river was named as a Registered National Landmark in 1972. (Detailed map and photos below.)



View Larger Map
Distance: 6 miles
Location: Marion County (Dunnellon)
Difficulty: Easy
Tidal: No
Launch points: Rainbow Springs State Park (bring wheels!), K.P. Hole County Park, boat ramp at US 41/CR 484 (Dunnellon) (See map, left)
Kayak/Canoe Rentals: Rainbow Springs State Park, Dunnellon (links, above right)
Nearby points of interest: Ocala, Ocala National Forest

Several other springs feed the river with no runoff tributaries, so the water is crystal clear for viewing the underwater world; abundant wildlife including alligators, otters, raccoons, deer, and birds such as hawks, owls and water birds. The popularity of the springs makes this a busy area, especially on weekends (watch for tubers). Devil's Elbow, the deepest point, is a popular scuba/diving area.

Rainbow Springs State Park has camping, diving, boating, fishing, picnicking, and nature trails. The Visitor Center has restrooms, snack bar, and gift shop. Originally developed as a tourist attraction, the area around the spring has largely been returned to a natural state though the gardens and waterfalls of the original attraction have been preserved0.

The launch at the park is 1800 feet from the parking area, requiring portage. No motor boats or tubing are allowed within 1800 feet of the headspring. KP Hole County Park has restrooms, picnicking, swimming, boat ramp, and rentals.

Paddling at Rainbow River
(tap or hover over photo for larger view)
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Launch at KP Hole County Park Paddling on the river, very scenic. This was on a pretty side stream, but deadend'ed onto private property
Paddle Rainbow River, Rainbow Springs - Kayak, CanoePaddle Rainbow River, Rainbow Springs - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Rainbow River, Rainbow Springs - Kayak, CanoePaddle Rainbow River, Rainbow Springs - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Rainbow River, Rainbow Springs - Kayak, CanoePaddle Rainbow River, Rainbow Springs - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Rainbow River, Rainbow Springs - Kayak, CanoePaddle Rainbow River, Rainbow Springs - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Rainbow River, Rainbow Springs - Kayak, CanoePaddle Rainbow River, Rainbow Springs - Kayak, Canoe
Homes along the river Sharing the river with motor craft Snorkeling Rainbow Springs State Park
Flora and Fauna
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More information on paddling at Rainbow River (opens in a new window):

- Florida State Parks - Rainbow Springs State Park
- Marion County, KP Hole County Park

Top of Page

Paddling in Florida - Kayak, Canoe
Rainbow River

Outfitters/Rentals

Aquatic Wilderness Adventures

Nature Quest
(park concessionaire)

Rainbow River Kayak Adventures

Rainbow River Canoe and Kayak


Support and Advocacy

Friends of Rainbow Springs State Park


Dunnellon, Florida, weather forecast