You may have been to Rainbow Springs before, but you have never experienced it like this. On a tour with Ecoventure, you will be fully immersed in the beauty created by Florida and her springs. The 100% clear paddle boards used by this locally owned & family-operated company allow for less obstructed views of the spring and the crystal-clear waters. Your tour guide, Josh, will take you on a journey of real Florida. Educating you on the history of the spring and creating opportunities for you to make your own memories! Since this was our first time with Ecoventure Tours, we wanted to go over the booking process so you can make the most out of your trip as well.
Did you know that Ecoventure Tours is the ONLY eco-tour that is available on a 100% clear stand-up paddle board, making your trip to the springs UNFORGETTABLE!
The Booking Process with Ecoventure Tours
To book a tour with Ecoventure, you need to go to their website. Right now, they offer two different spring tours, Rainbow Springs and Silver Springs. This tour is such a unique experience since it is one of the only in the central Florida area offering a tour with 100% clear paddle boards. If you are newer to the paddling scene, Silver Springs would be a great paddle for you. If you are more experienced or feel like you are up to the challenge of an intermediate paddle (paddling upstream against a moderate current), then look into booking the Rainbow Springs tour. The Rainbow Springs location now has a sunset/night glow paddle now being offered as well (how cool).
Once you have chosen your spring, date, and time, you will need to enter more information about each paddler. Note there is a separate cost if a child, under 11, is riding on your board, or you will need to acknowledge that everyone will be on their own board. Please also read the box of acknowledgments outlining rules and things to keep in mind while on this ecotour.
There is an option for a photo package, costing $25.00, which will include 10 photos and 3 videos. We opted for this when we did the Rainbow Spring Tour, and it was totally worth it! Josh captured some really cool moments that we now get to revisit when looking at the photos and videos that we will include at the end of this article!
You have the option to tip before the tour when initially signing up, but you can also tip with cash or Venmo after. Once everything is officially booked, you will get an e-mail that lays out where to meet, what you might need to bring, and what is provided. There will be an electronic waiver in the e-mail that you will need to complete before going on the tour. Included in your tour payment is the entrance fee to either spring; you do not need to pay this separately.
Know Before You Go
- Cost for the tour: $75/solo & $30/passengers
- Rainbow Springs Ecotour is considered an Intermediate Paddle (not for beginners)
- Tour ranges from 2.5-3 hours long
- Guest 11 years of age & under MUST ride with an adult
- Rainbow Springs Eco Tour is ONLY available Monday-Thursday
- For more information, click HERE to read Ecoventurefl Tours
Now Get Ready To Hit The Water
Plan to get to the destination about 30 minutes before your tour starts. This will give you time to find parking, use the restroom facilities, and gather your belongings. You will meet your lovely tour guide, Josh, and head to the drop-in spot. He will have your clear paddle boards ready to go! He will go over paddling techniques for anyone new to the skill. Then he will grab a board and get you set up and on the water.
For our Ecoventure tour experience, we did Rainbow Springs. I have paddled Rainbow Springs a few times, but it was like seeing it through a whole new lens. As an experienced paddler and certified SUP yoga teacher, I will say, I was very impressed with the quality of the board and how sturdy it was. Once we all got on the water, we started heading against the current toward the spring head. Because you will have to paddle against the current for the first portion of the paddle, it is considered an intermediate level. It is not strong all the way, the strength ebbs and flows, but overall, it was an enjoyable paddle up to the spring head.
The great thing about the Rainbow Springs paddle is you can hop off the board and get in the water to cool down. We took a little detour down Indian Creek, a small tributary of Rainbow River. You will be able to paddle a bit of the first section of the creek, but then it will become too shallow. You will need to park your watercraft and walk the rest of the way.
You will see bubbling sand through the clear water of the creek. These are sand boils, and they are harmless. Water from the aquifers underneath bubbles up from these spots. These sand boils also hold hidden treasures. It will take some reaching and patience, but in some, you can find fossils and shark teeth trapped in this mini cave of wonders. The serenity, as you saunter back farther and farther into the jungle, settles upon you until you feel transported to another time and place. You will eventually come to a gate. This part of the water becomes part of privately owned Gissy Spring.
The detour was enjoyable, but it was time to get back to the main river. As we continued to paddle upstream toward the springhead, Josh regaled us with some history of Rainbow River. A plethora of rock phosphate was found here in 1889, and the mining of it lasted until around 1960. Phosphate can be found in many everyday products you use, but now it comes from somewhere else, and this spring is left in peace. Though the glass bottom boat tours are well known at Silver Springs, Rainbow too had this attraction back in the day. And unlike Silver Springs, these boats had a submarine-like bottom, allowing you to be fully immersed in the water.
Did you know that Rainbow Springs is a first-magnitude spring that is actually a series of small vents that collectively pump out more than 400 million gallons of water a day.
As you get closer to Rainbow Springs State Park, you will start to see more spring heads glowing a bright cerulean blue from underneath the glass surface. We took some fun pictures at the state park, reveling in our successful paddle. Because the ride back will be just coasting!
It is so nice to just enjoy and ride the current back. There are some stops we made on the way back. Josh had pointed out a big spring head that if you have a snorkel mask, you can dive down and check out. You have to be ready to go so you can ride the current over the spring. He gave us plenty of heads up! We also took the opportunity to play on the rope swing we saw towards the beginning of the paddle. It was difficult to get high enough on the tree and grab the top knot to really get some air, but we still had fun feeling like George of the Jungle. Overall, it was an amazing tour! And Josh was a superb guide, so authentic and knowledgeable.
- Clear Paddle Board
- Life Jackets
- 10 L Dry Bag
Things you will want to bring on your Tour:
- Hat or Long sleeve shirt
- Reusable Water Bottle
- GoPro/waterproof camera
- Dry Bag if you have one
- Change of Clothes
Animals to spot on your tour at Rainbow Springs:
- Turtles (Box, Snapper, Softshell)
Ecoventure Offers Other Tours As Well
Our Rainbow River tour was a gem during the day, but Ecoventure Tours is now offering a night Glow Tour! You will still meet at KP Hole around sunset and paddle with fun glow lights illuminating the way to Indian Creek. If you want the full glow experience, I suggest wearing or bringing some fun glow sticks. A rave on the river!
If you choose to do the Silver Spring tour, this paddle is an easier one because the current isn’t as strong. No swimming is allowed in the water to preserve and conserve its natural beauty and history. This paddle will be really fun to do with the clear paddle board since there are fun movie props and settings, as well as historical sightings to be seen beneath the water. There are Monkeys & Manatees to be spotted at Silver Springs as well!