One of the ultimate ways to spend a hot, summer day in Florida is by grabbing an innertube and lazily floating down a river or spring. A fun place to go tubing is at Rainbow River. We started from KP Hole County Park, but you can also access the river from Rainbow River Springs State Park. Keep reading to plan your trip!
KP Hole Park – The Basics
Rainbow River is one of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s special waters on the list of outstanding Florida waters.
- Address: 9435 SW 190th Avenue Road, Dunnellon, Florida 334432
- Driving distance from select Florida cities:
- Gainesville: 1 hour
- Tampa: 1 hour 45 minutes
- Orlando: 1 hour 45 minutes
- Jacksonville: 2 hours 15 minutes
- Miami: 5 hours 30 minutes
- Summer Hours: 8 AM to 8 PM
- Entrance fee: $7 per person
- See additional information below for rentals
- Activities: Tubing, scuba diving, kayaking/canoeing, paddleboarding
Tips for tubing at Rainbow River
- Tubing season is from April 1st to September 30th each year.
- Get to the park EARLY. We arrived at the park by 8:03 AM and there was already a line for rentals and parking was limited.
- Personal tubes are not allowed at KP Hole Park, rentals are available daily until 12:45 PM or until the park reaches capacity
When we arrived at the park there was already a sign up that said, “tube rentals are done,” but we got in line anyway and were planning to rent a kayak or paddleboard if there weren’t any tube rentals available. Thankfully, there were still tube rentals, I am not sure if this was an usual occurrence, but I would recommend double checking before assuming there are no rentals available if you arrive right after opening.
How long does tubing at Rainbow River take?
After launching from the park, you can lay back and relax. The river’s current will allow you to slowly make your way down the river to the exit point. The KP Hole website states the trip should take approximately 4 hours. We completed the float down the river in about 3.5 hours.
You will want to plan for the additional time it will take to ride the shuttle back from Blue Run of Dunnelon Park to KP Hole Park to return to your car. The drive is only about 10-15 minutes, but you may also have to wait for the shuttle to arrive and for everyone to get on the bus.
What does it cost to tube down Rainbow River?
The cost for tubing is $30 per person and includes the entrance fee into the park as well as the return shuttle service. If you are tubing with a group of 4 or more people a discounted rate of $25 per person is available.
If you are interested in renting a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard, additional information and pricing can be found here.
What should I bring with me to go tubing at Rainbow River?
You should only bring the essentials while tubing because you have to carry everything you bring with you on the tube, but there are a few things I recommend bringing. I recommend wearing a swimsuit and water sandals if you have them. Below are a few more items you may want to bring with you. If you have a water bag, I highly recommend packing everything in there.
- Sunglasses and/or hat
- Water – no disposable containers allowed
- Easy to access snacks
- Towel – you may want to leave this in the car when you get back or consider buying a microfiber towel that folds up very small
- Cell phone with waterproof case if you want to take pictures or videos
- Change of clothes – this can also be left in the car
IMPORTANT: No alcohol is allowed within the park and no disposable containers are allowed. Please respect the rules, and don’t be surprised if they have law enforcement checking your water bottles prior to accessing the river.
Are there alligators in Rainbow River?
The short answer is yes, there can be alligators in Rainbow River. This is a very popular river for tubing, paddling, and boating, but you may see a variety of wildlife. The water is a light green/blue and you can see in the water around you.
We were on the lookout for wildlife as we floated down the river and we did see a variety of animals. There was only one alligator sighting, and it was along the shore in the sun, so we were not near it. We also saw an abundance of sea turtles, a variety of birds, a few fish, and my personal favorite, a river otter!
How do I know where to exit when tubing at Rainbow River?
While you are relaxing as you float down the river it is important to pay attention when you are getting close to the exit of the river to ensure you catch the shuttle back to KP Hole Park.
It’s well marked and there are several things to be on the lookout for. The first sign you are near the exit is the restaurant Swampy’s which will be on the right side of the river. After you see the restaurant you will go under a bridge, at this point you will want to start making your way to the left side of the river. There is a tuber exit sign by the bridge with an arrow pointing towards the exit which is to the left.
While you don’t have to put much effort into the float down the river, you may need to use your hands to paddle yourself towards the left side of the river and to the exit. There was a slight current when we visited, but we were all still able to easily make it to the exit.
Be sure to double check with the park for any updated information before accessing the river.
Final Thoughts on Tubing Rainbow River
I visited the park on a Sunday in September, and it was a relaxing morning spent floating downstream Rainbow River. The river was not too crowded since we arrived early, but there were still several other people tubing, paddling, or boating on the river. The later in the day you arrive the less likely you may be to get a tube rental and the more crowded the river may be. Have you ever visited Rainbow River or are you planning to visit soon? Leave a comment below to let me know!
Looking for other Florida adventures on the water?
With summer quickly approaching many people will be looking to escape the Florida heat by spending some time in the water. Check out the following posts for more places to stay cool in the summer.
- Kayaking at Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park
- Blowing Rocks Preserve
- De Leon Springs State Park
- Blue Spring State Park
- Spend a day in Biscayne National Park
- Relax on the beach at Honeymoon Island State Park
- Silver Springs State Park Kayaking
- See the lighthouses and go swimming at Gasparilla Island State Park