Friday, April 2, 2010

Rainbow Springs State Park - Dunnellon, Florida

Untold numbers of people remember Rainboat Springs as a unique Florida amusement park. For much of the 20th century, visitors to the spring could ride in "submarine boats," take a leaf-shaped monorail through the treetops, view a rodeo and take part in a variety of other amusements.

That was in the days before the completion of the interstate highway system diverted traffic from roads such as U.S. Highway 41, steering would be visitors away from attractions like Rainbow Springs and on their way to newer and larger destinations in such places as Orlando. The fall off in traffic proved devastating to many well known Florida attractions and they were eventually forced to close their doors. Rainbow Springs was among them.

The people of the Dunnellon area, however, loved Rainbow Springs and spearheaded an effort to preserve the beautiful first magnitude spring and save it from development. Their voices reached Tallahassee and the State of Florida stepped in. The former amusement park is now a Florida State Park and while its focus is different, the stunning natural beauty is still very much a part of its appeal.

Located just three miles north of downtown Dunnellon on U.S. Highway 41, Rainbow Springs State Park preserves over 1,400 acres surrounding the head spring and much of the short but strikingly beautiful Rainbow River. There are no more "submarine boats" or monorails, but visitors can enjoy the crystal clear waters of the spring and walk the paths in the now preserved gardens of the original amusement park. There are striking waterfalls and beautiful flowers.

To learn more about Rainbow Springs State Park, please visit

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