Springs are a common feature of karst topography. Springs are areas where water flows directly from underground to the surface of the earth, supplying flow to a river or other water body. Not surprisingly, there are more springs in Florida than any other region — of comparable size — on earth.

Springs are common in areas of low elevation near creeks and rivers. The most significant examples on the Alafia River are Lithia Springs and Buckhorn Springs.

Lithia Springs

Lithia Springs County Park is located about 5.5 miles southeast of Brandon. The park actually boasts two springs: Lithia Major and Lithia Minor. Lithia Major’s discharge fluctuates between 7 and 70 cubic feet per second and is warmed underground to a constant, comfortable 72 degrees. It’s in a large oval pool, about 180 feet at its widest point. The pool has a bottom of white sand and is partially surrounded by a concrete retaining wall with several sets of stairs.

Lithia Springs has long been a popular recreational site; photo by Jim Phillips

Buckhorn Springs

Buckhorn Springs Main discharges between 4 and 22 feet per second. Two other springs are located nearby: Buckhorn Tributary Spring and Buckhorn Tributary Spring 3. Their waters flow into Buckhorn Creek, which enters the Alafia from the north.

Buckhorn spring Buckhorn Springs is not open to the public; photo by Richard Gant

→ Onward: Ecology