Take a break from the beach or water park to experience the crystal clear water of Cypress Springs on Holmes creek in Vernon Florida.
In this article, I share our experience visiting this hidden paradise in the sunshine state.
I’ll also share a few tips to make your day more enjoyable and help you save time and money.
At the end of this article, I include a free beach checklist for you to download.
What to Bring to Cypress Spring
Consider bringing this useful gear with you on your day trip to Cypress Spring.Waterproof Bag
Snorkel Mask Set
Mask Anti Fog Spray
Kids Snorkel Full Face Mask
Inflatable Life Vest Waist Strap
Waterproof Phone Bag
Head Strap for GoPro
GoPro Diving Stick
Cypress Springs at Holmes Creek in Vernon Florida
There are several things which are difficult to fully explain with words and images, so be sure to check out the video tutorial below.
Before I share the details of our visit to this stunning natural Florida spring near Pensacola, I want to give you some background on Florida natural springs.
Where do Florida Springs Come From?
The Florida natural spring water comes to the surface from ancient limestone formations.
This limestone lies beneath the entire state of Florida and makes up the top part of the aquifer system.
Additionally, Florida’s natural spring discharges 800 billion gallons of water across 700 Florida springs per day.
Cypress Spring Size and Depth
Located in Northwest Florida, Cypress spring discharges 65.3 million gallons of water per day.
This makes it a magnitude 2 spring.
In case you are wondering, a spring’s magnitude is determined by the amount of flow per unit time.
A magnitude 1 spring is the largest.
The outer depths of Cypress Spring are roughly 25 feet deep.
A small opening can be penetrated to a maximum depth of 75 feet.
A semicircular berm was added to the northern half of this spring to divert the flow of Piney Woods Spring Run downstream.
Essentially, this prevents muddy water from entering the crystal clear water of cypress spring.
Instead, the water enters cypress spring run 30 yards pass the spring. The demarcation between muddy water and crystal clear spring water is obvious.
In 2002, Nestle Water Company purchased Cypress Springs and the surrounding land in Washington County.
As a result, the area is private property and only accessible by small boat, kayak, or paddle board. More on this later.
A corporation purchasing and owning a natural resource does not sit well with the locals.
However, a partnership between Northwest Florida Water Management and Nestle Water Company in North America will provide long-term protection of this Florida Spring and the surrounding property.
Obviously, less people visit this area compared to when it was accessible by land.
In my opinion, Cypress Springs seems more beautiful and secluded now than before.
This may not be the case – simply my perception.
I will explain the best way to access Cypress Springs on Holmes Creek later in this article.
Cypress Springs Florida Map
The location of Cypress Spring on the panhandle in northwest Florida makes it convenient for tourists to visit.
It is located 1.5 hours east of Pensacola, 60 miles northeast of Destin, and 45 miles from 30A and Panama City Beach.
My family and I drove 61 miles from Destin, Florida to reach the cypress springs.
Refer to the map below for directions from Destin Florida.
3 Ways To Explore Cypress Springs
My family and I used a partially guided tour to access Cypress Springs.
However, there are 3 ways to get to Cypress Spring on Holmes Creek:
- Fully Guided Tour
- Direct Access
- Partially Guided Tour
Fully Guided Access
This option to get to Cypress Springs involves paying a local tour company to provide rental gear (kayak, canoe, small boat, or paddle boards) and guide you to and from the spring.
The direct access option is ideal for locals or return visitors who own a kayak, paddle board, canoe, or small boat.
Partially Guided Access
A partially guided tour involves paying a local outfitter for one of the following options:
- Gear rental with no transport.
- Transport with gear rental
- Gear rental with transport
Even though we own 3 paddle boards and love paddle boarding in Destin Florida, I chose the partially guided tour.
Obviously, this was our first time exploring Cypress Springs in Vernon Florida.
So, we simply didn’t know what we didn’t know.
We felt more comfortable paying a local outfitter a ½ day rental for the following:
- 2 double kayaks
- Transport to Cotton Landing on Holmes Creek
- Pickup from Culpepper landing on Holmes Creek
Most importantly, the local outfitters know the area.
They closely monitor the weather and the spring water clarity.
If there is potential for bad weather or the water is murky, they will notify you and reschedule if needed.
Local Outfitter: Cypress Springs Adventures
Once we arrived at Cypress Springs Adventures, we signed paperwork and received information about the process.
As a side note, check their website for the most updated rental prices.
My family and I arrived just in time to catch the last van for the afternoon trip.
The van pulled a trailer with various kayaks and to Cotton Landing on Holmes Creek.
Cotton Landing: Holmes Creek Boat Ramp
After the 5 minute drive, they placed our kayaks in the water and off we went.
We noticed many locals at the boat landing with their kayaks, paddle boards, and unique small boats.
Paddling Down Holmes Creek to Cypress Spring
I enjoyed the short and easy paddle down Holmes Creek to Cypress Spring.
We paddled southwest with the gentle Holmes Creek current.
The trees and foliage provided adequate shade and the sun glistened off the water.
Also, many parts of Holmes creek are shallow.
As a result, many people use kayaks, canoes, or paddle boards.
A few locals used flat-bottom motorboats to travel down Holmes creek to reach Cypress Springs.
Obviously, flat bottom boats are able to handle the shallow water.
After a short paddle, we located a small opening to our right known as Cypress Spring Run.
Obviously, Cypress Spring Run leads to the crystal clear springs.
Our paddle direction changed to Northeast then due North towards the natural Florida spring.
Close to Spring
As we paddled closer to Cypress Spring, the murky water on Holmes Creek turned clear.
Then, I noticed an immediate transition from murky water to crystal clear water.
Beauty of Cypress Springs
Many beautiful springs litter the state of Florida.
However, I can’t imagine one more beautiful than Cypress Spring in Vernon Florida.
Different shades of blue cover the crystal clear spring.
Light blue color water surrounds the perimeter of the natural Florida spring.
Dark blue water rests directly over the spring vent near the swimming area.
As we entered the large spring basin, we parked our kayaks along the lush banks on the right.
Cypress trees and Tupelo trees surround the spring and provide much needed shade from the summer sun.
Things To Do
The crystal clear waters of Cypress spring make it a great place for snorkeling, swimming, diving, and swinging from the rope swing.
In addition, scuba divers often visit this freshwater spring.
Best Florida Springs for Snorkeling
I knew the water would be clear from the pictures online.
However, the pictures online do it no justice.
I was shocked at the water clarity once I got into the water.
My family and I swam across to the northwest side of the spring pool to get to the recreational area with picnic tables.
While swimming and snorkeling, there are many cool things to see underwater.
The spring occupies a conical depression and exposed limestone surrounds the spring.
Small areas of sand between the limestone occupy the bottom of the spring pool.
Also, the crystal clear water allows us to view the interesting root system of the Tupelo and Cypress trees.
Many Cypress trees and small patches of native aquatic grasses lay on the spring’s perimeter.
The underwater fallen cypress trees grabbed my attention.
As a side note, Cypress trees live for hundreds of years.
Old-growth cypress and sinker cypress naturally resist pests and water rot.
Depending on how long they were underwater, these cypress trees may be sinker cypress.
As a result, I prefer to use sinker cypress for outdoor woodworking projects.
In fact, I use this wood to build the surfboard towel rack.
My daughter and I decided to try the rope swing.
The rope swing is tied to the end of a tree which hangs over the spring.
We climbed up the tree on wooden steps about 8 feet to get ready to swing on the rope.
Obviously, the elevated view is breathtaking.
We secured the rope knots in our hands and jumped off the side of the tree.
The rope carried us over the spring pool and we let go.
Rope swings are always fun!
After swinging on the rope, my wife and I stood on the wooden entry platforms near the picnic area and watched our kids swim for a while.
Return to Boat Landing
After a half day visiting Cypress Springs, we hopped back in our kayaks and started paddling to Culpepper landing.
Keep in mind, Culpepper landing is not the same boat launch we used to launch our kayaks.
This landing is further downstream on Holmes creek.
The paddle from the Spring to Culpepper landing took roughly 15 minutes.
Basically, on our return we saw kayaks, paddle boards, a small motorboat with a dog, and a guy standing in the middle of Holmes Creek talking on his cell phone.
Once we reached the landing, we called the shuttle to come pick us up.
Within 5 minutes, they picked us up and we were back where we started after a 5 minute drive down Culpepper lane.
My family and I had a great time on our half day trip exploring Cypress Spring at Holmes Creek in Vernon Florida.
The next time we visit, I plan to bring our paddle boards instead of renting a kayak from a local outfitter.
If you are looking for things to do in Destin, 30A, or Panama City Beach, I encourage you to take a great day trip to Cypress Spring. Good times await!
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Frequently Asked Questions
Cypress Spring is located off of Holmes Creek in Vernon, Florida.
To get to Cypress Spring Florida, you must use the boat launch at Cotton Landing or Culpepper Landing and travel roughly 0.5 miles on Holmes Creek. Then, take Cypress Spring Run to the spring.
In 2002, Nestle Water Company purchased Cypress Springs and the surrounding land in Washington County.
Holmes Creek in Vernon, Florida is located in Washington County.
Cypress Spring is roughly 75 feet deep at the spring vent and 25 feet deep around the perimeter.