Springs Fever: A Field & Recreation Guide to 500 Florida Springs.
2nd Edition by Joe Follman and Richard Buchanan

Rum Island Spring

Columbia County

Summary of Features

  • Scale - 2nd magnitude
  • Scenery - fine
  • How Pristine? - unregulated swim/recreation area, erosion, near parkingarea, exotics in water
  • Swimming - very good
  • Protection - good
  • Crowds - heavy on warm weekends
  • Access - excellent
  • Facilities - good
  • Safety - good
  • Scuba - yes
  • Cost - free

Directions

Address: 1447 SW Rum Island Terrace, Fort White, FL 32038

Located along the bank at Rum Island Springs County Park. From High Springs, drive NW on US 27/SR20 about four miles. Turn left (west) onto State Road 138 and drive about two miles to turnoff to the left (south) at sign for Rum Island. Follow dirt road about 1.5 miles to river. The spring is in a large pool to the right (west) of the parking area.

Spring Description

The eponymous spring at Rum Island is a single fissure in the SW portion of the 200-foot-diameter pool that it forms NW of Rum Island.  The water is clear and greenish in tint, and in the deeper sections is heavily infested with hydrilla.  On dates of visit in 1999 and 2000, the entire area around the vent, which is about 7 feet deep, was covered with exotic vegetation.  In 2002, the area between the spring and the shore had been cleared, but the vent was still surrounded by hydrilla.

Water flows strongly from a curved flying saucer-shaped cavern entrance that is about 10 feet long and 3-4 feet high in the center.  There is a 3-foot bank around the pool that is heavily eroded by recreational use.  The water gets more shallow as it approaches the bank.  The large pool opens directly into the Santa Fe River.

Use/Access

Local Springiana

The island's name is supposedly derived from moonshine and bootlegging operations that was located on the island in the early 1900s. A current sign on the site ironically warns, "Rum Island--No Alcohol Allowed." RB was told that undercover police stake out the grounds, looking to bust people with open containers.

Personal Impressions

The spring is a major feature of this popular park, and is a local swimmin' hole of long standing.  The banks are badly eroded, however, and the site would greatly benefit from having a boardwalk around the edgeand steps into the spring pool. A sign observed on the dirt road leading to Rum Island advertising "Nubian Goats 4 Sale" is a nice feature.

Nearby Springs

Other Nearby Natural Features