There’s no need to travel to north Florida for a swim in a Florida spring.

A relaxing afternoon can be found at Lithia Springs Park in the Tampa, Florida area. It’s a refreshing swim at a great price.

Don’t go looking for the same ambience as a north Florida spring, because that’s not what Lithia Springs Park has. There’s no tubing or large areas to swim in. And the swimming area doesn’t feel overly natural because of the cement and railings they’ve built around it. However, the water is clear, the bottom relatively free of debris, and the swimming area separated into shallow and deep areas. You’ll also find a friendly crowd–most are swimming as part of their weekend picnic.

Another thing Lithia Springs is missing is the distinct smell of Warm Mineral Springs. It’s also missing the floating debris and really slippery rocks that are hard to avoid. I’m not dissing Warm Mineral Springs, because I actually quite adore it too–but this is a whole different experience that I’ll write about another time.

The picnic area at Lithia Springs is in great shape and quite shady…full of people laughing and having fun. It’s quite large and there seems to be two distinct areas. There are grills and pavilions, so it’s perfect for a large gathering. There’s also a nice playground and the bathrooms aren’t bad either.

If you live in west, central or south Florida–Lithia Springs is a must-see for outdoor enthusiasts and families. If you want to swim, don’t go in winter because the 72 degree water is a bit chilly. A summer swim feels refreshing, but you wouldn’t catch me there in the winter. For picnics or other outdoor fun in winter, the park would be a great option because they offer a cheaper ticket if you choose not to swim.

Check out Lithia Springs if you’re in the Tampa area and want to have a relaxing picnic and a refreshing swim with friends. Lithia Springs is perfect for a group looking to swim as part of their day outdoors, not those looking to swim all day. Every visit I’ve made has been very pleasant and I find it preferable to the long drive north to the other natural springs of Florida. It’s a true outdoor gem for this area.