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Ten perfect Florida places to float a tube down a river

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The Florida heat can be vicious, and there are more ways to cool off than just going to the beach or the pool: It's time to tube. While some of these places are nearby and some may be a bit far from Orlando, it just gives you an excuse to plan a road trip. (See page 15 for a couple more road trip ideas.) So pack your tubes, and grab a spare one for your cooler – you'll need to hydrate.

Rock Springs Run at Kelly Springs

About 35 minutes from Orlando 

While its tubing run is one of the shortest on this list, coming in at three-quarters of a mile, Rock Springs Run at Kelly Park is not one to overlook. The 30-minute run might be the best choice for you if you're looking to swim and tube on the same day. 

400 E. Kelly Park Road, Apopka, 407-254-1902, ocfl.net

Blue Spring State Park

About one hour from Orlando 

This is the shortest tube run on this list, clocking in at just about an eighth of a mile, but don't let that deter you from floating down its crystal-clear waters. The tube run takes you right back to the main swimming dock. 

2100 W. French Ave., Orange City, 386-775-3663, floridastateparks.org

KP Hole and the Rainbow River

About one hour and 30 minutes from Orlando 

You may not be allowed to tube at the Rainbow River headsprings, but you are able to do some tubing from KP Hole. It takes about four hours to complete, so make sure your whole day is planned around tubing. 

9435 SW 190th Ave., Dunnellon, 352-489-3055, kphole.com

Ginnie Springs

About two hours from Orlando 

Enter the water at Devil's Springs and enjoy a float down the Santa Fe river for an hour. The path downriver takes you back to Twin Springs, and getting back to your car will only take about 15 minutes walking. If your tubes are looking a little low on air, they have free air stations. 

5000 NE 60th Ave., High Springs, 386-454-7188, ginniespringsoutdoors.com

Blue Springs

About two hours and 15 minutes from Orlando 

There might not be a tube run for you to float down in Blue Springs, but who says that's the only way to relax in a tube? You can still float around the main swimming hole, as well as the other small springs in the park.  

7450 NE 60th St., High Springs, 386-454-1369, bluespringspark.com

Ichetucknee Springs State Park

About two hours and 15 minutes from Orlando 

Ichetucknee offers different tubing experiences depending on where you enter. If you start at the north entrance, which is only open during the summer season, you'll be floating for a good three and a half hours, whereas if you start at Dampier's Landing, it's just a 45-minute float. If you're more of a middle-ground kind of person, Midpoint Launch and its one-and-a-half-hour trip downriver might be the way to go. 

12087 SW U.S. Highway 27, Fort White, 386-497-4690, floridastateparks.org

Spring Creek

About four hours and 30 minutes from Orlando 

Bear Paw Adventure takes you on a four-hour tubing experience down Spring Creek, where you can wind down as you slowly drift with the current. Things can get a little hectic on weekends, so if peace and relaxation are what you're looking for, try going on a weekday this summer. 

2100 Bear Paw Lane, Marianna, 850-482-4948, bearpawescape.com

Chipola River

About four hours and 30 minutes from Orlando 

Chipola River Outfitters offers two different tubing trips. The first takes you from Johnny Boy Landing to Lamb Eddy Landing and includes four miles of floating and one rapid they call Look and Tremble. If you don't have much time, the Willis Bridge tube trip is a shorter version of the first, with only about one and a half hours of float time on a four-mile stretch. You still pass through the rapid, though. 

Johnny Boy Landing, Altha, 850-762-2800, chipolariveroutfitters.com

Coldwater Creek

About six hours from Orlando 

Adventures Unlimited gives you the opportunity to tube down four miles of Coldwater Creek. New waves of people depart on the trip every hour from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the four-hour journey. 

8974 Tomahawk Landing Road, Milton, 850-623-6197, adventuresunlimited.com

Blackwater River

About six hours from Orlando 

Blackwater Canoe Rental and Outpost provide all-day-long tube trips along the Blackwater River. You take this trip at your own pace, stopping along white sandbars for a swim or for a quick stretch – it's up to you. The entire tube trip is about four miles, and depending on how fast or slow you take it, the trip can last anywhere from three to five hours. 

6974 Deaton Bridge Road, Milton, 850-623-0235, blackwatercanoe.com 

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