Nature’s Hospital: Warm Mineral Springs
photo from scgov.net
Enchanted waters with mystical powers that warm your body and soothe your soul, and with near constant temperatures of 85 degrees sound too good to be true. What if entering them meant you were immersing yourself in what is thought to be the original Fountain of Youth? Add in the healing benefits of the highest mineral content in the United States and you have a natural, holistic experience unlike any other, in nearby Warm Mineral Springs.
Warm Mineral Springs has long been a well-kept secret of Eastern European visitors in search of the therapeutic benefits the waters are said to provide. Significant archaeological finds in Warm Mineral Springs, including human remains dating back 10,000 years ago, predated what was thought to be the first Florida inhabitants by approximately 4,000 years. Geothermal waters flowing from several small caves at depths of about 200 feet, combine with waters released from cold vents, keeping the surface temperatures between 84 and 87 degrees year-round. The water contains very little oxygen so its natural buoyancy provides easy floatation. The lake is nearly 250 feet deep in the center and approximately 5 feet deep around the outside. The deeper area is roped off so if you want to make the obligatory clockwise walk around the lake, the current easily guides you along in the shallower sections. An astonishing eight million gallons of water flow from the lake daily, eventually emptying into the Gulf of Mexico.
The regular visitors who make the daily trek to Warm Mineral Springs provide amazing testimonials on why the water is their medicine of choice. With the highest mineral content in the country, including magnesium, zinc, sulfur, chloride, calcium and trace amounts of several other minerals, people swear by the relief they’ve received for skin irritations, inflammatory issues, back pain and a host of other previously unresolved health problems. European visitors, long-time users of natural springs like these in their native countries, have been encouraging generations of family members to take a soothing dip in their favorite healing waters. And a smaller percentage of American visitors will tell you they’ve replaced doctor’s visits and prescriptions with visits to the springs, and are happy to keep their place of water therapy a closely-held secret.
Typical sights and sounds of Warm Mineral Springs include Russian speaking men and women who convene at their favorite water hole like faithful devotees on a daily basis, nearly all donning colorful hats as prideful representations of their varied personalities. Don’t come to be loud or rowdy, as this was once a day spa, where a relaxing day at the springs included massages, facials and manicures preceded a dip in the pond. And even though currently patrons visit for the enjoyment of the water only, the regulars will let you know there is a designated area for children, and they don’t take kindly to water-splashing shenanigans. Once you get the ground rules down, you are in for an enjoyable soak or swim surrounded by 81 acres of tropical, Florida vegetation. Floating in the buoyant warm waters is very entrancing, and that’s without even considering the advantages you’re adding to your healthcare routine. Listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, Warm Mineral Springs is one of those places that’s still full of enough intrigue and mystery to make for an interesting visit. The buildings onsite are examples of the Sarasota School of Architecture, and include a Cyclorama with an artist’s depiction of Ponce de Leon’s discovery of the Fountain of Youth. In a time when people are looking for natural alternatives over synthetic medications and expensive surgeries, Warm Mineral Springs is high on the list of many who consider it to be the real deal. Last reminder, don’t forget your hat if you go. Warm Mineral Springs is located at 12200 San Servando Avenue, North Port, FL.