Dunellon is a small city in the northern part of central Florida. While there are no public swimming pools in Dunnellon, the city offers residents and visitors plenty of different ways to swim in the natural waters of the Rainbow River. There is even a white-sand beach to rest on between swimming sessions.
Dunnellon features both the Rainbow and the Withlacoochee rivers within its city limits. Along the Rainbow River, there are a number of locations where swimmers and other water enthusiasts are encouraged to divulge. This includes the Rainbow Springs State Park and Campground (floridastateparks.org) and the KP Hole County Park (kphole.com). Visitors and residents are also invited to take a dip in the waters of the city beach, located behind the Chamber of Commerce where the two rivers converge (dunnellonchamber.org).
Dunnellon has a number of different areas particularly suited to those looking for little more than straight-up swimming. Rainbow Springs State Park contains one such location at the headsprings of the river. Attracting guests from late spring through the fall, the waters in this area average about 72 degrees year round, with water depths from 5 to12 feet. This area is open for swimming daily from 8:00 a.m. to one hour before sunset, though the swimming area may close during thunderstorms. Another area ideal for a simple swim includes the waters of the public beach.
Snorkeling is popular at a few public swimming areas in Dunnellon, and it is also allowed in the headsprings area of Rainbow Springs State Park. For those snorkelers looking to get away from the bustle of this popular swimming area, perhaps the best place to snorkel in Dunnellon is at other points along the river. Campers and boaters are allowed to snorkel at any point down river, though each swimmer should be wary that no lifeguard is protecting them at these locations.
Another popular water activity in Dunnellon is water-tubing, where swimmers float on inflatable tubes between dips in the water. Unlike regular swimming and snorkeling, water-tubing is not allowed in certain portions of the Rainbow River, including the popular headsprings area. However, Rainbow Springs State Park does feature a dedicated tube area where guests can float for about two hours to end back up in the same place. This is ideal for those that enjoy the motion of water without the exertion of swimming. KP Hole County Park also offers water tubing further downriver.
KP Hole County Park also allows scuba diving and welcomes divers and boats. For a fee, guests who have reserved a dive boat can take off from KP Hole for some of the most fascinating dives in the area. Common underwater sights include wildlife such as catfish and snapping turtles. All divers are responsible for bringing necessary gear with them to the park.
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