Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park is one of the many Florida state parks with springs.
The official name is Ruth B. Kirby Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park.
Florida State Parks says that there are over 1,000 springs in Florida!
Gilchrist Blue Springs is one of the those Florida springs!
The Gilchrist Blue Springs is one of the 75 springs along the Lower Sante Fe River.
Swimming in Gilchrist Blue Springs
According to Florida State Parks, the water temperature of Gilchrist Blue Springs is a constant 72 degrees year-round.
This means that in theory, you can go swimming in Gilchrist Blue Springs any time of year.
Although 72 degrees is on the cooler side, in terms of water temperature it can still be considered “warm” enough for swimming… for some people!
As long as you can handle coming out of the water wet to a cooler air temperature, then you can go swimming at Gilchrist Blue Springs any time of year – summer, spring, fall, and even winter!
That said, a water temperature in the upper 70s or lower 80s is an ideal water temperature for swimming for most people!
It really depends on your tolerance for colder water and just how much you want to go swimming in Gilchrist Blue Springs!
There is a designated swimming area for Gilchrist Blue Springs.
It’s a short walk from the parking area down to the springs.
There is a small sandy “beach” area to walk into the springs.
This area to enter the water to go swimming is also the kayak launch spot for Gilchrist Blue Springs.
Bring your own kayak or canoe, or you can rent one at the Gilchrist Blue Springs rental shop.
Take care not to step on the “underwater forest”!
Gilchrist Blue Springs picnic area
And then the area around Gilchrist Blue Springs serves as the day use area.
This means that you will also find some picnic tables at Gilchrist Blue Springs.
Day trip to Gilchrist Blue Springs from Jacksonville, Tallahassee, or Orlando
Explore the map.
You can make it a day trip to Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park from a number of places in Florida.
Orlando to Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park is about a 2 hours and 15 minute hour drive. (map)
Florida road trip to Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park
You can also make Gilchrist Blue Springs a part of your Florida road trip as a stop along the way if you’re doing a drive from Tallahassee to Orlando or Tallahassee to Disney World for example! (Or in the opposite direction!)
You can make Gilchrist Blue Springs your first major stop after leaving Tallahassee.
If you’ll be driving from further west, see about making it a Florida road trip from Pensacola to Orlando with lots of nature stops.
For tent camping and RV camping (and van camping, car camping…), there is the Gilchrist Blue Springs Campground that you can stay at!
There are some campsites from which it could be reasonable to walk to Gilchrist Blue Springs directly from your campsite.
Otherwise, you can make the short drive of a couple of minutes to the Gilchrist Blue Springs parking lot!
Cost of swimming at Gilchrist Blue Springs
In order to go swimming at Gilchrist Blue Springs, you’ll need to enter Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park.
So the cost of swimming at these Florida springs is the cost of entry into Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park.
This is around $6 a car for a one-day pass. See current fees.
👆 In 2022, the cost of swimming in Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park was $6 a car.
If you plan to make this a year of going to a ton of Florida state parks, then there is also the Florida state parks annual pass.
During busy times (like on hot summer days), entry to Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park may be closed if it reaches capacity.
What to bring to Gilchrist Blue Springs
Swimming in Gilchrist Blue Springs can be a pretty minimalist activity!
Wear your swimsuit and you can be off swimming in Gilchrist Blue Springs!
But it can also be a good idea to bring swimming goggles or snorkeling gear so you can see underwater at Gilchrist Blue Springs!
From above (aka out of the water), I saw turtles swimming in Gilchrist Blue Springs!
👆 Spot the turtles!
So if you were swimming, you’d be able to see them from underwater! Don’t get too close though! Let them be. Just observe!
For some more ideas of what to pack for Gilchrist Blue Springs, also see: What to pack for a trip to the Florida springs.
👆 You might want to bring a waterproof phone case to Gilchrist Blue Springs so you can take pictures underwater!
There is a bathroom and changing room at Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park.
This bathroom is shared with the campers at Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park campground, so there are also proper hot water shower stalls too.
And then there is a foot rinsing station located outside the bathroom.
The boring safety message for swimming in Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park
In short, take care!
There are no lifeguards at Gilchrist Blue Springs.
There are alligators in Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park.
According to Florida State Parks:
Alligators are present along the trails and waterways of Gilchrist Springs State Park.
They usually eat fish, turtles, and other small animals, but may attack larger animals such as deer.
Alligators have been known to attack humans.
Alligators are dangerous.
Do not swim with alligators.
Do not approach, frighten, or feed alligators.
As a designated swimming area, people do go swimming in Gilchrist Blue Springs.
In general, alligators are most active at dusk.
It generally seems safe to go swimming at Gilchrist Blue Springs, but you may want to avoid swimming at dusk.
If you do spot an alligator in the Gilchrist Springs swimming area, as per the alligator caution sign, you’re asked to report it to a park ranger!
What the people of Florida State Parks say if you see alligators while swimming in Gilchrist Blue Springs:
Immediately report alligator sighting in the swimming area to Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park staff.
See more about alligators in Florida state parks:
Blue Springs in Florida
Also note that there is a Blue Spring State Park, which is different from the Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park!
The Blue Spring State Park that is 45 minutes away from Orlando (map) is popular for being able to see tons of manatees in the winter. The Blue Springs State Park facebook page even has a daily manatee count in the winter!
The Gilchrist Blue Springs are different places from these other “blue springs”!
More below about a trip to Gilchrist Blue Springs!
Here's some info on Florida trip prep!
I have a lot of 30-90 second Florida outdoor travel videos. A few of them might be on this page. If you can't see the video directly below, it might be because you have an ad blocker. Save the Florida outdoors video playlist to watch on youtube later!
Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida which resulted in historic destruction. If you are looking to help but not sure how, consider donating to the Florida State Parks Foundation: DONATE HERE. One of the notable Florida state parks is Cayo Costa State Park in Southwest Florida. Cayo Costa is mentioned as the first spot that the hurricane made landfall. Also see: State parks in Southwest Florida
Are Florida state parks open after the hurricane? Check the Florida Park Service website for current closures. (There are many state parks that are closed.)
Are Florida national parks open after the hurricane? Check the National Park Service website for current closures (October 2 update: Most of the Miami side of Everglades National Park is open, except for camping)
Trip to Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park
My trip to Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park was March 2022.
It was a rainy overcast day.
The color of Gilchrist Blue Springs will look more vibrant on a sunny day!
Your experience may vary!
Things can change!
Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park was part of a multi-day drive from Pensacola to Orlando.
Getting to Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park
Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park is on google maps.
You will see a sign for Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park along the main road.
👆 Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park is 5 miles away.
👆 Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park entry on the left.
Then, once you make the turn, you will drive on a dirt road for a few minutes before arriving at the state park entry station.
Then once you have paid the Gilchrist Blue Springs entrance fee and drive ahead, you will see the springs right in front of you!
You will also see picnic tables around.
So you will just look for the parking lot that is also pretty much right there near the entry station.
Gilchrist Blue Springs swimming area
And then you can walk down to see Gilchrist Blue Springs up close!
And then when you’re ready, you can head back up to the parking lot!
And that’s a bit about the Gilchrist Blue Springs swimming area!
More Florida springs:
- Ocala National Forest springs
- Wekiwa Springs State Park
- Wakulla Springs State Park alligators
- Things to do in Florida Caverns State Park
HAPPY SWIMMING IN GILCHRIST BLUE SPRINGS!
Things to pack for your Florida vacation!
The ultimate beach towel for travel?!Turkish towels are considered to be more absorbent and lightweight than your average beach towel. Be sure to check out turkish towels like these!
The cheapo way to waterproof your phoneYou can take underwater pictures with a simple waterproof phone case like this. Touch screen may not work well underwater - try the volume button to snap the pic instead!
Get your suitcase more organized!Packing cubes can make it so you're spending less time on your vacation looking for things! They are basically a form of drawers in your suitcase. Take a look at these packing cubes.
Wear less sunscreen by wearing a UPF swim shirt!Wearing a swim shirt means less skin that's exposed to the sun which means less sunscreen you need to apply! See about wearing swim shirts with UV protection like these when you're swimming.
More for your Florida packing list
- How a cheapo waterproof phone case works
- Why wear water shoes for the beach
- Why a personal swim buoy is an essential for ocean swimming... and springs!
- What to pack for Florida beaches
- What to pack for Florida springs
- What to pack for shelling in Florida
- What to pack for snorkeling in Florida