It is an unusual geological feature, one of Florida’s rare cenotes. It is also the largest natural mineral water spring in the world, covering 1.4 acres at depths up to 250 feet.
And it is the only publicly-accessible hot spring in Florida. Located in North Port, between Venice and Port Charlotte, Warm Mineral Springs stays a constant 87*F year-round.
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Location: North Port
Trailhead: 27.058846, -82.261044
Address: 12200 San Servando Ave, North Port FL 34287
Fees: $20 adults, $15 ages 6-17, ages 5 and under FREE
Land Manager: City of North Port
Open 9-5 daily except Christmas, Warm Mineral Springs is owned and operated by the City of North Port. Discounts are offered for Sarasota County residents. Bring your own lawn or beach chair. Spa services are available on site.
Warm Mineral Springs has a long and storied history. Geologically, it was once a cave above the earth’s surface, as stalactites and stalagmites are present deep beneath the waters.
And it is deep, with ledges at 45 feet, a debris cone at 148 feet, and the spring itself at 250 feet deep.
Below a certain depth, the water has extremely low levels of oxygen. Remains of saber-toothed cats, mammoths, prehistoric camels, and human remains have been found by underwater archaeologists, the first of whom explored the spring in the 1960s.
Today’s visitors are constrained to a roped area in the “shallow end” of the spring.
Warm Mineral Springs opened as a tourist attraction in the 1940s, attracting bathers who wanted to “take the waters” for their health. These deep waters have the highest concentration of minerals found in any United States spring.
It’s obvious when you step into the spring. The water is both warm and soft, with a pH of 7.36.
When we first visited Warm Mineral Springs, it was in its final days as a European-style spa, where international visitors came to “take the waters” for their health by immersing in the mineral-rich cenote.
Why is it warm? We were told that the warmth came from the extreme depth from which the waters rise. Trapped underground at great depth and pressure and released slowly, the water cools as it reaches the surface, with a flow of eight million gallons per day.
Florida’s only other hot spring is nearby Little Salt Springs, a protected archaeological site managed by the University of Miami.
Human remains carbon-dated at more than 5,000 years old are buried within the spring along a ledge more than 90 feet below the surface of the spring.
See our photos of Warm Mineral Springs
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
Along the southwestern Gulf Coast of Florida, Myakka State Forest offers an extensive trail network along the Myakka River basin, with tent camping under the stars.
Follow the natural curves of the creek on a loop through Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park in North Port
Offering scenic views of wild shores along the Myakka River, this hike at Jelks Preserve makes a big loop along the trail system to immerse you in a variety of habitats
Archaeological Finds Official Website