Life In the Big Green Jolly

Embrace local. Explore often.

Embrace local.  Explore often.

Madison Blue Spring State Park

blue spring

Meh. Shrug. Madison Blue Spring isn’t what we pictured.

That was our initial impression on our first ever visit to a Florida spring.  

It is a hole with some water in it and it seems sort of crowded. There are tubers, and families, and teenagers striving for the perfect Instagram photo.  

But we are already here. So we might as well go for a swim.  

It didn’t take us more than two minutes to change our initial impression of Madison Blue Spring from a ‘meh’ to a WOW, WOW, WOW!

Madison Blue Spring State Park

Madison Blue Spring State Park contains a first-magnitude spring. “Magnitudes” are the measurement of water a spring produces and first-magnitude is the strongest. 

The 82-foot wide spring has a surprising current that carries you into the Withlacoochee River. Watch your knees as the speed of the current can knock you into a few rocks as you are swept out towards the river.

Clear blue water  - spring run into the river
The spring run into the river – the current is swift

At 25 feet deep, you can play around in the spring with some free-diving to get a closer look at rock formations.

The park is known for its Karst topography (limestone riddled with holes). The rocks above the spring are limestone outcroppings that have geological significance and thus are protected.

limestone cliffs above Madison Blue Hole Spring
Example of the karst system – limestone cliffs above Madison Blue Hole Spring

The clear water shows off small darting fish, freshwater turtles that ALMOST blend in with their surroundings, and a variety of rock formations.

Varying shades of blue play along both the surface of the spring and the water running out to the river. Then the sun changes angles and the spring becomes a jaw-dropping color of blue. No filters needed on those photos!

spring - blue water - limestone rocks rimming it
Madison Blue Spring

Pro tip: During our visit, the water was clear and blue. But brown-outs can happen when the Withlacoochee River floods and the tannin-colored waters flow into the spring.  

Spring run into the Withlacoochee River
Spring run emptying into the Withlacochee River

Speaking of the Withlacoochee River – be sure to venture out into the river.  The water temperature difference is startling – the river seems WARM compared to the spring water.  And the further into the river you go, the more turtles you are apt to see.

Tips for visiting

Do not confuse this park, Madison Blue Spring State Park to a similarly named park – Blue Spring State Park.

Madison Blue Spring State Park, located in the northern part of Florida, is easy to access. It sits on State Route 6 and is approximately ten miles north of I-10 and 12 miles west of I-75.

This park is popular and has a daily load limit. Plan to arrive early in the day for your best chance of getting in during the prime season.

There is a daily fee – at the time of our visit it was $5/car and credit cards were not an option.

Things to do

Activities at the park include:

  • Swimming (no lifeguard on duty)
  • Snorkeling
  • Scuba diving (for divers with cave/cavern certification. Open-water certification is not sufficient.)
  • Tubing
  • Canoe/Kayaking (in the river, not the spring)
  • Fishing (in the river, not the spring)
  • Picnicking

There are bathrooms with showers and changing rooms.

Drinkable water fountains are available on-site.

Fast Facts

If you are looking for other cold-water springs to visit, then check out;

Do you have a favorite Florida spring? If so, leave us a comment telling us which one and why so we can add it to our “someday list”!

Map showing location of Madison Blue Hole Spring State Park