Gainer Springs

Spout in one of the Gainer Springs churning out pieces of shells and sand, Florida
Spout in one of the Gainer Springs churning out pieces of shells and sand. / Phil’s 1stPix, Flickr / BY NC-SA 2.0

WorldBlue  In short

Some of the most pristine of the large springs of Florida are Gainer Springs. If one wants to admire this wonder of nature: take canoe and paddle through a near pristine forest to these beautiful springs!

4.2 out of 10 stars 41.8%

GPS coordinates
30.4289 N 85.5489 W
Location, address
North America, United States, Florida, Bay County, some 20 km north from Southport, group of springs along Enconfina Creek
Artesian springs, five major and eight smaller springs
Average discharge
Around 4,500 l/s

Map of the site

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WorldYellow In detail

Group of springs

The group of Gainer Springs includes 13 diverse springs which are located around Enconfina Creek below (south) from FL20 road.

Gainer Springs, Emerald Spring
Gainer Springs, Emerald Spring. / Phil’s 1stPix, Flickr / BY NC-SA 2.0
  • Nine of these springs (numbered #1A to #1I) are located on a small stream east from Enconfina Creek – the springs themselves create this stream. Some of these springs are smaller, some – larger. The most outstanding: Gainer Spring #1C is named also McCormick Spring and is an impressive 7.5 m wide and up to 3.5 m deep pool with a beautiful fountain of sediments in it.
  • Gainer Spring #2 (Emerald Spring) is the most beautiful. The spring is a crack at the base of some 7 – 8 m tall limestone cliff at the west bank of Enconfina Creek. The spring basin has a diameter of some 9 – 10 m and is up to 3.5 – 4 m deep. The water has a fantastic blue color and the powerful spring creates a constant boil in the sediments.
  • Gainer Spring #3 is the most impressive one – it has a basin with a diameter of some 75 m. On its bottom are several powerful vents with a constant boil of sediments – an eternal fountain of sand and small pieces of shells. Depth up to 3.5 m.
  • Gainer Spring #4 is the southernmost in this spring group. It flows from the base of some 6 m tall limestone bluff.
  • Gainer Spring #5 is some 50 m south from Emerald Spring. Water comes from the base of a limestone cliff into a shallow pool of spring water.

Geology and history of Gainer Springs

These powerful springs emerge on the border of the impermeable Intermediate System and Eocene – Paleocene Floridian Aquifer System under it. Floridian Aquifer System consists of limestone and bears the water – thus the springs gush out from it on the rim of the Intermediate System.

Springs were known to local Creek, Cherokee, and Seminole people who called this place Enconfina – Natural Bridge because in earlier times there was a natural limestone bridge across this stream further to the south from the springs. This natural bridge collapsed in the 19th century together with the road which was built over it.

Springs were named after William Gainer – a surveyor of General Andrew Jackson. He noticed this beautiful area during a field trip with Jackson’s army in 1818 when this part of Florida was investigated as a future development area. He returned here and built his home.

One of the Gainer Springs - lucid water and spring vent in the background
One of the Gainer Springs – lucid water and spring vent in the background. / Phil’s 1stPix, Flickr / BY NC-SA 2.0

Gainer built a new bridge in this area after the collapse of a natural bridge.

Gorgeous escape from civilization

Gainer Springs are located in a private area and owners do not want to see visitors walking through this area. But there is an excellent way to see the springs: with a canoe which can be rented nearby, at FL20 road. Drive through the pristine forest towards these gorgeous, blue springs is rewarding and quite a few visitors take also a bath in springs – the temperature of the water is around 21.6 °C. In fact, there are quite many visitors, especially on weekends.

The water around the springs is unusually lucid and the sight of fish and eternal movement of sand at the spring vents is fascinating!


  1. Gainer Springs Group. Springs Fever: A Field & Recreation Guide to 500 Florida Springs. Last accessed on 5th April 2019.
  2. Kristopher Barrios and Angela Chelette, The Northwest Florida Water Management District. Enconfina Creek Spring Inventory, Washington and Bay Countries, FL. Water Resources Special Report 04-02. Last accessed on 6th April February 2019.

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