Exploring the Rainbow River

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The Young Explorers are back in Action! Actually, we never stopped, and took off flying as soon as our feet touched town. My son is back in school, and our daily trips bring us extraordinary sights, such as a red tailed hawk taking off from a mist shrouded field, his talons wrapped around a wriggling mouse. Also we have seen an unusually large amount of roadkill- and not just the usual raccoons and skunks (there are always skunks). We can now add a grey wolf, a deer (buck with antlers), opossum, and the mother of all wild boars (that was today- biggest pig I have ever seen- almost the size of a mini (car)). Of course, when your school is in a cow field, these sights are common rather than not. We have taken to swimming on the Rainbow River in Dunnellon (no more cool pool). At 72F it is chilly- actually like swimming between icecubes, but after a while you numb up and can’t feel the cold anymore.

The Swimming Holes:

The KP Hole County Park (Off of HWY 41 in Dunnellon- turn at the light by Winn Dixie) has been refurbished and now has proper toilets, changing rooms, lockers, and picnic tables. You can rent tubes or canoes or kayaks- and even buy an icecream. They charge $3 a head- under 5 free. There is no sandy beach. It is a wooden boardwalk with steps leading into the water. May be scary for littler non-swimmers, as water is waist deep for them. My three were not impressed- too deep and too cold at the same time, but as it was 90F or more, we took a chilling plunge.  We may return to rent a canoe.

Dunnellon City Beach (off of 484- turn at the road next to SunTrust Bank and follow signs) has been cleaned up, as it was a former “baddie zone”. They have fenced it in, charge $1 a head (under 5 free). There are toilets at the entrance- and then you take a path down to the water. A few picnic tables and benches and a fenced in playground make it a good lunch and swim spot. There is a beach! Not a sandy sea beach, but a river bank beach. We brought shovels and pails and the kids loved it. They built Nim’s Island (excellent movie), caught tadpoles and snails, and could walk into the water. Thumbs up for the City Beach. You can arrive by car or boat.

Rainbow Springs State Park was our third Rainbow River entrance (Park entrance on HWY 41 in Dunnellon).They charge $1 a head (under 5 free). My daughter and I decided to have a picnic lunch there, and we did Not bring our swim gear.We did stick our feet in the water and watch the tadpole and minnows. Rainbow springs is the head springs of the Rainbow River so all 72F is felt- brrrr- no time for warming up. The swimming area is not for non-swimmers. They have a pontoon dock were you can swim in their roped off area and a little further down they have a smaller, shallower area for kids- which is small and not as shallow as you may like, depending how water shy your kids are. You can rent canoes & kayaks there, and there are paths through gardens and past waterfalls (under construction at this writing). Good place for lunch and maybe kayak ride- will explore that later.

Autumn is creeping upon us, and the biggest question that comes to my mind- if I jump in the Rainbow River when the air temperature is 60 or below, will I be warm?

Keep exploring!

(Past two blog pictures by Sandy Smith- thanks sis!)

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