Florida's beaches are undeniably pretty, but if you've ever been to Daytona or Cocoa Beach, you know they're not always the crystal-clear, sparkling blue seas you had envisioned. The ocean's overall look can change day by day and season to season, with some months marked by murky, choppy waters and others coated in a blanket of brown sargassum.
But there are places where the water is always breathtakingly clear, if not a bit chilly: Florida's springs. Because the state sits atop an aquifer, fresh water bubbles to the surface to form more than 700 springs, where people can swim; most are located in the central and northern parts of the state, providing a nature-fueled alternative to the commotion of the theme parks that draw most people to this region.
Beloved for swimming, snorkeling, diving, wildlife-spotting, hiking, paddling, and tubing, these picturesque swimming holes throughout Florida are great spots to visit for anyone who wants to splash around in Planet Earth's largest collection of freshwater springs. Note that since they remain a "refreshing" 72 degrees year-round, Florida's top springs are best visited during the dog days of summer, when nothing sounds better than a cold plunge.