Skip to Content

The 20 Best Rivers of Florida

Disclaimer: Some posts on Tourism Teacher may contain affiliate links. If you appreciate this content, you can show your support by making a purchase through these links or by buying me a coffee. Thank you for your support!

Which are the best rivers of Florida and why are they the best? In this article I will teach you about the 20 best rivers of Florida and what these spectacular natural features have to offer. Ready to learn more about the rivers of Florida? Read on…

The 20 Best Rivers of Florida 

Rivers of Florida

Are you having trouble locating the top rivers of Florida for your trip but can’t obtain a list of rivers with complete details? Here, you will find all the information you need.

Florida is one of the states in the US that sandwiches between the North Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Channeling the water to large water bodies such as majestic rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans. All of these water bodies offer undeniable scenic beauty. 

On the flip side, the magnificence and the charisma of the wildlife in Florida’s rivers effectively entice millions of visitors and locals to view them every year. Here is a guide to the rivers of Florida that you absolutely must add to your bucket list.

Florida’s rivers are not only salient for the agrarian services but also predominant as a famous tourist attraction. The rivers of Florida are worth visiting for surfing, kayaking, scuba diving, aquatic life discovery, and other water sports.

1. Saint Johns River

Rivers of Florida
Saint Johns River By Diearle

Saint Johns River is one of Florida’s rivers with the oldest history and compassion for agricultural services. The river’s northern flow and reputation as the “laziest river” on Earth are two peculiar facts that contribute to its popularity with tourists.

Wolastoq” is a native name of the river and residency of the indigenous people of America for the last hundreds of years. To make your visit more appealing, rent a cottage alongside the river and closely examine the irresistible beauty of the river’s wildlife. You’ll be astounded to observe the dusky seaside sparrow’s nesting spots, a well-known non-migratory species.

What else do you expect from your visit? The exploration of the Native American cultural and historical wonders, the voyage of marine life, and the tour to the nearby restaurants, inn, and lakes. 

2. Apalachicola River

Rivers of Florida
Apalachicola Blueway by Doug Alderson

Another river in Florida has a vast discovery of marine life. You would catch the sight of a redbreast sunfish, largemouth bass, Suwannee Bass, and other species of water life. The river carries geological significance due to the natural formations of the bluffs and ravines. 

Despite that, the narrow and slot canyons in the Apalachicola River also add other beautifying elements to its scenic beauty. The place you must write down next to the Apalachicola River is Madison Blue Spring. The Spring is a zone full of organized swimming spots, scuba diving, playground, and picnic spots. 

3. Rainbow River

Rivers of Florida
Rainbow River by Bonnie Gross

The river in Dunnellon, Florida, is known as the Rainbow River due to its magnificent beauty and crystal clear and colorful water formation. The river draws millions of visitors annually from all over the world because of the variety of marine life, agricultural use, and ideal swimming temperature of 22 degrees Celsius.

The place you should visit alongside the Rainbow River is Rainbow Spring. It is the heart of the Rainbow Spring State Park and is always jam-packed with visitors. To get the pass, you should book for yourself online first. In addition to swimming and picnicking, you will be amazed by seeing the indigenous plants and other wildlife there.

4. Suwannee River

Rivers of Florida
Suwannee River State Park © Lee Reed

The Suwannee River is one of the rivers of Florida that explicitly unmasks the black beauty of the rivers. Even some tourists and natives give it the nickname “Wild Blackwater River.” 

Above and beyond, the small towns, restaurants, and markets show the traditional Florida taste in everything. Rich with history, wildlife, and discharge, this is the perfect place to explore Florida. 

The river is near the Gulf of Mexico and covers many springs and sandbars. You can swim in the river. Still, it would be best if you stopped down at Suwannee River State Park, near Live Oak, Florida, to get access to safe swimming, kayaking, and other things.

5. Blackwater River 

Florida’s Blackwater River received its name not only for its colour but also for its striking contrast with the surrounding white beaches. It helped to make it a popular tourist destination. 

You could map the river via South Alabama and get the scenic sights of the dark forest, park, and Santa Rosa County. Like other rivers, Blackwater River also has wildlife and water life in abundance. Despite this, it is home to the Pine Barrens tree frog, one of the most endangered species that is difficult to obtain anywhere else.

6. Ocklawaha River

Rivers of Florida
The Ocklawaha River by James Steele

Ocklawaha River is one of the rivers of Florida that steam 85.2 miles and formed due to the faults and joints of the different rocks. The surroundings of the river are rich with a wild ecosystem. It covers the forest land; has lowland woods, swamps, and other endangered plant species. In addition, you will also observe the different amphibians, mammals, and reptile species. 

The tour of the Ocklawaha River will become more enjoyable when you stop near the restaurants, bay, water houses, and swimming spots. 

7. Peace River – Florida 

Rivers of Florida
Florida State Parks

Along with the beautiful splendour it gives, the Peace River is well-known among the locals because of its fossil discovery. The fossilised remnants of alligators, mammoths, and other creatures will astound you.

The above and the bottom of the river grant many activities to the tourists. However, do not try to swim in the river as it flows very fast. In the summer, the water flow slows down but still gives the experienced and professional swimmer a tough time. 

8. Saint Marks River

The river’s high water quality is known as “Outstanding Florida Water” in the state. During your trip, you might make a pit stop close to various state parks and springs to take advantage of the local seafood, inhabitants, historical and cultural animal discovery, and fishing.

If you are heading towards the big Bend region of Florida, you should route out the Saint Marks River for more fun. 

9. Caloosahatchee River

Rivers of Florida
Caloosahatchee River by Susan Caldwell

Due to the abundance of recreational options, including outdoor activities, boating, and fishery, the Caloosahatchee River is one of Florida’s most visited tourist attractions. It has been home to many fish and other creatures for hundreds of years. 

You should avoid swimming in the river and keep your pets and yourself out of the water. It might provide a beautiful view. However, algae (found nearby) might be unhealthy.

10. Hillsborough River

Another river in Florida is a famous tourist attraction. The river is full of recreational and outdoor activities. It includes fishing, boating, camping, and picnicking. 

On the other hand, you won’t be able to swim there as your friends, “alligators’ will be there to accompany you. For that purpose, keep your pets away from the water. You’ll also reveal many parks, springs, and local food corners there.   

11. Indian River (Florida)

The Indian River is not considered a river since brackish water forms due to the continent‘s freshwater and saltwater from the ocean mingling. For this reason, swimming in the Indian River is discouraged. Nevertheless, you could enjoy outdoor sports like canoeing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and boat rides.

Would you like to know something even better about the Indian River? There, you’ll come across the Bull and the Great White Shark. Many people have observed them, and perhaps you will join them on your trip.

12. Withlacoochee River

Rivers of Florida
The Withlacoochee By James Steele

The rivers of Florida itself are a mystery to many people. Likewise, there are two Withlacoochee Rivers that could shortlist for your visit. The one that is located near Madison has a stream of 28 miles. The Withlacoochee River that flows to Yankeetown has a stream of 118 miles. That one is also summoned as Crooked River. 

Whether you like to go hunting, kayaking, or hiking, everything is close to the two rivers. You can get a ticket from the nearest state park or spring to swim to make the most of your trip.

13. Halifax River

In the vicinity of Daytona Beach, you may find the Halifax River, a river in Florida. You can participate in a variety of outdoor activities at your own pace. However, boating and fishing are still the most favored.

Fishing there requires a license; you can catch catfish, tarpon, trout, red drum, and other species from the riverbanks or boats. In addition, there are various animals and marine life that you might like seeing, like dolphins. Crocodiles cannot be seen close to the Halifax River but can be seen if you travel 20 miles inland from Daytona.

14. Silver River

Rivers of Florida
The Silver River By James Steele

The Silver River is another river in Florida that flows to Silver Springs. Despite only flowing for six miles, the river is not safe for swimming because it is the habitat of several alligators. You will be astounded to observe the wild birds, monkeys, and turtles in addition to caimans.

You can see Mudfish, Golden shiners, and Threadfin shad among the marine life of the Silver River. On the other side, you can rent a kayak or go on a boat ride. You can find small villages, local shops, and food stands near the Silver River.

15. Ichetucknee River

ichetucknee-river Rivers of Florida
Ichetucknee Springs State Park © Florida Guidebook from Florida, USA / CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Most Florida rivers have alligators, and so does the Ichetucknee River. You will also find snakes with different sizes of alligators. Because of this, it is best to avoid swimming in the river, even though nearby springs allow you to do so only in the early morning. 

Call for help immediately if you spot a wild animal nearby rather than trying to deal with it alone. Map out the Ichetucknee River in North Central Florida, discharging the flow towards the Santa Fe River.

16. Choctawhatchee River

Rivers of Florida
Choctawhatchee River by Kent Mundy

Choctawhatchee River discharges the flow in the Choctawhatchee Bay by passing through the Panhandle of Florida. Another river in Florida is popular among locals and tourists for many reasons. First of all, it grants scenic beauty to the viewer. Secondly, you will find many unseen wild and marine life, such as Gulf sturgeon.

Swimming in the river is not reasonably possible, though you can take a dip in Choctawhatchee Bay. Fishing, boating, and kayaking will make your day there. 

17. Wacissa River

Rivers of Florida
Wacissa River By Doug Alderson

Wacissa River is one of the rivers of Florida that you can track down in Jefferson. It streams only 13 miles and gives birth to 12 Springs before discharging to the Aucilla River. The Springs near the river make a good spot for swimming, boating, kayaking, and picnicking. 

Contrary to its scenic beauty, the river is home to many alligators, snakes, and wild animals.

18. Wakulla River

Rivers of Florida
Rob Gilhardt / Gilhardt Graphics

Wakulla River is worth visiting as it allows you to see the wildlife’s natural habitat, including a scenic sight that one must see. The river is rich in marine species, and you will be stunned by catching the wonders during fishing and snorkeling. 

For swimming, you can stop at Wakulla Springs, and the water’s temperature is also perfect. Moreover, summer and spring times are best to visit this majestic place. You can also bring your boat or rent it from the sellers there. 

19. Chassahowitzka River

Rivers of Florida
Southwest Florida Water Management District

Chassahowitzka River not only offers a majestic view but is also home to many wild water snakes and gators. 

Since the nineteen century, the Chassahowitzka River has been a well-liked vacation spot because it contains significant springs that provide a reprieve from Florida’s sweltering summers. Visitors can kayak, canoe, fish, and go swimming in this river.

20. Chipola River

Rivers of Florida
Chipola River By James Steele

Here is the last of the 20 rivers of Florida to make this list. Chipola River is a side stream that flows to the Apalachicola River and offers a sight of the forest swamps and rocks covered with plants. Chipola River is home to many species of Sunfish, alligators, and beavers, and it also possesses endangered species of plants.

Before the present study, people were swimming in the Chipola River, although doing so poses a health risk. Because of this, swimming in the Chipola River south of the highway is currently forbidden. Even so, nearby outdoor activities are available.

Rivers of Florida- Final Thoughts 

The rivers of Florida are a crucial resource for the state. They contribute significantly to the ecology and give incentives for tourist activities, recreation, and water supply. For many Floridians, the state’s rivers play a significant role in their historical context.

It’s not like all of the rivers of Florida are considered equivalent. Although some waterways serve a wide broad spectrum of applications, others serve as a supply of drinking water. A few rivers need to be repaired to their original beauty. They have been degraded by industrialisation and human activity, while others still have their charm. However, they all possess a potent allure that will compel you to go there each spring and summer.

Do you have any interesting facts about the rivers of Florida that you would like to share? If so, drop them in the comments below. And if you enjoyed this article on the rivers of Florida, then I am sure you will enjoy these posts too-

Liked this article? Click to share!