Kayakers entering the Withlacoochee River from Madison Blue Spring State Park

Madison Blue Spring is one of Florida's 31 first-magnitude springs (meaning: the spring flows more than 65 million gallons of fresh water per day). This is crystal clear water bubbling up into a limestone basin about 82 feet wide and 25 feet deep on the west bank of the Withlacoochee River. The rest of the park area is a scenic woodland of mixed pines and hardwoods.

As one of Florida's newest state parks, there's not a lot of amenity in place yet. There are picnic tables and grills, showers and a canoe launch site but not much else yet. Scuba divers need to keep their cave certifications handy. There's never any life guards.

Madison Blue Spring State Park is open from 8 am until sunset every day of the year. Admission fees: $5 per vehicle for two to eight occupants. $4 per single occupant vehicle. $2 per pedestrian, bicyclist or extra passenger. Madison Blue Spring State Park is located about ten miles east of the town of Madison. To get there: drive east from Madison on State Route 6. At the west side of the bridge over the Withlacoochee River, turn south and go about 1/8 mile to the park entrance.