Ginnie Springs campground was something that my boyfriend remembered fondly from his childhood. He reminisced about family camping trips and days at the drag races nearby. But years later, he couldn’t WAIT to show me the beautiful water of Ginnie Springs. So it was fitting that we’d have the opportunity to go this year for his 30th birthday!
Maybe it’s because we’re just finishing up a pandemic or maybe it’s my complete overwhelm by crowds sometimes, but Ginnie Springs campground was A LOT to take in. It may look pretty in photos but the campground is borderline a nightmare if you aren’t a young rowdy 20-something. But instead of missing out on the beautiful spring holes that Ginnie Springs has to offer, here are some tips for how to avoid the crowds at Ginnie Springs.
1. Visit Ginnie Springs on week days
This is Travel 101 but what a difference between the crowds on Saturday versus the crowds on Monday. Ginnie Springs campground is a big party spot for young people so a lot of local kids will drive in for just the weekend. To avoid those huge groups of young people, stick around for the week days and get a little more peace and quiet.
2. Don’t camp right on the river
A lot of the most popular campsites seemed to be down right on the river. Between large family gatherings and huge groups of high school and college kids, they tended to grab the spots right on the water so they could get in and out as often as possible. If you want to avoid some of the caravans of cars with bumping music and screaming drunk girls, grab a campsite up hill and off the beaten path.
3. Pay extra for electric sites at Ginnie Springs campground
To take it a step further, buy one of the nicer electric sites that cost extra but will most likely buy you some nicer neighbors as well! Most of the campsites in Ginnie Springs are first come, first serve and only a small grouping of sites are equipped with electric and water, and require to be booked in advance. In our experience, these sites were still loud well into the night but drunk adults tend to go to bed earlier than drunk kids. We did have very pleasant neighbors on all sides of us though! If only we could have sound proofed our little area!
ProTip: Ginnie Springs campground charges per person, per night, PLUS electric and water hookups. It’s surprisingly expensive compared to normal camping. We saved another $70 by cutting a night off and just getting up and going real early on Saturday morning rather than Friday after work.
4. Avoid holiday weekends, school breaks and peak season in general
In addition to avoiding weekends in general, it’ll be smart to schedule your visit away from popular travel times. Holiday weekends, spring break, summer break, graduation weekend, prom weekend, Fourth of July, etc. Those weekends will most likely attract the biggest, rambunctious crowds and should be avoided if possible.
The peak season of Ginnie Springs is definitely the late Spring and Summer months as people look for ways to escape the Florida heat. If you can plan your trip for early Spring or Fall, you’ll have a better chance of seeing the beautiful crystal clear spring holes but there’s a much higher chance of cold days of course. The spring holes remain the same temperature all year so if you’re there for snorkeling or scuba diving, dress accordingly and you’ll be fine! Also activities like boating, kayaking or stand up paddle boarding give you a way of getting out on the water without having to get INTO the water. Off season is a great way to explore Ginnie Springs.
5. Get up and going early
I’ve touched a lot on this topic in my Instagram posts but I cannot stress it enough. GET UP EARLY! We got down to the spring holes around 7-8am and felt like we had the entire place to ourselves. We got to see the beautiful smoke on the water, tons of turtles swimming around, the sun rising over the river and the completely undisturbed crystal clear spring holes. Our final morning there was the highlight of our trip.
Make sure to bring an underwater camera if you have one because some of the footage and photos I got from the morning when we had the spring holes to ourselves was unreal. These spring holes are stunning to see, especially when you don’t have a ton of people’s legs and tubes in the way!
6. Bring your own tubes and/or kayaks
One of the popular activities at Ginnie Springs is floating down the river. The campground provides tube rentals to be able to start at the top and float down, but since there are limited hours, the lines are long and the crowds of people on the river are big. If you have the ability to bring your own tubes, you should! We had kayaks to get out on the river early in the morning but we didn’t try to venture out during the rush. If you have your own equipment you won’t be held to their time constraints.
If you go onto Yelp, the reviews with make Ginnie Springs sound like hell on earth but you just have to know how to do it right. Our time out on the water on the Monday in the morning was serene and so memorable. The quiet of campground at 8am is a stark contrast to the mayhem from the nights before but it was 100% worth it to see these beautiful spring holes.
Do you have any suggestions to avoid crowds at Ginnie Springs? Or maybe other spring holes with a lot less people worth visiting? Leave it below in the comments. Want help planning a trip of your own to all the beautiful sights around Florida, check out InMotion Adventures to learn more about what I can do for you! Until next time…