Dunnellon is your gateway to Rainbow Springs State Park and the Cross Florida Greenway.
This small Central Florida town on the confluence of the Rainbow and Withlacoochie rivers sits right next to Rainbow Springs State Park, where campers can swim and snorkel in gorgeous, deep blue spring water. Dunnellon also sits along the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway, a 110-mile-long park and trail system that bisects Florida and serves as a critical wildlife corridor for animals like the Florida black bear. Expect opportunities for kayaking, tubing, hiking, backpacking, and biking right in town, or head just 10 minutes away to Lake Rousseau, a popular boating and fishing destination where RV campers can find multiple lakeside RV sites with full hookups and wifi.
Several tubing options sit on the Rainbow River, and a convenient shuttle service runs from Rainbow Springs State Park. Locals tend to caravan their floats the old-fashioned way, launching out of KP Hole and taking out at the Blue Run of Dunnellon Park.
Rainbow Springs State Park is not to be missed. Swimming and snorkeling are allowed at the headsprings, while campers can also rent kayaks and canoes to paddle the Rainbow River or tube down its clear waters with the help of the park’s shuttle service. The Rainbow Springs campground has both RV camping and tent camping sites with picnic tables, fire pits, and water/electric hookups.
The Cross Florida Greenway, which stretches 110 miles and connects the Gulf of Mexico to the St. Johns River, passes right through Dunnellon. The Greenway’s Dunnellon Trail section starts in town and features 2.4 miles of paved multi-use trail perfect for walking, running, biking, or rollerblading. At Lake Rousseau, the Greenway’s Ingle Lock section has miles of hiking and mountain biking trails on Inglis Island.
The Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge sits about 30 minutes southwest of Dunnellon. This famous springs site and manatee sanctuary has opportunities for swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking in Kings Bay. For even more spring access, head east to Ocala and Silver Springs State Park, the home of the glass-bottom boat and a colony of wild rhesus macaque monkeys.
Camping is possible in Dunnellon year-round, but many locals avoid tent camping in the hot, humid, and rainy summer season. Summer travelers may be most happy in an RV or lodging with climate control. The popular Rainbow Springs State Park campground books up well in advance for weekends, holidays, and school breaks.