Florida’s springs are one of the greatest natural water features in Florida next to its beaches. While many springs bubble forth from Florida’s vast underground aquifer all over the state, Ocala National Forest has a plethora of springs, rivers and lakes that many consider the crown jewel of Florida’s spring systems. Next time you’re in the central corridor of Florida, stop by and visit one of these top three springs in Ocala National Forest.
Located directly off of SR 40 on CR 445, Alexander Springs is one of the premier springs in the state. North of Altoona, Florida this wonderful spring is also a campground. With over 60 level campsites complete with fire ring, picnic table and parking area, Alexander Springs is the perfect place to go camping. RV’s and tents are welcome but no electricity or running water is available at the campsites. However, hot showers and washing stations are easily accessed throughout the campground.
Scuba diving is a big sport here with professional divers coming from around the world to explore this gorgeous deep pooled spring. Valid dive certificates are required for scuba, but snorkeling is permitted over the entire swimming area. Visit the Lake County Website for more information on Alexander Springs.
This national recreation area is located off of SR 19 just minutes south from the town of Salt Springs. A major water source for Lake George and the St. Johns River, Silver Glen Springs is one of the few first magnitude springs in the state.
While no campground is available at Silver Glen Springs, snorkeling, scuba and hiking are very popular. A concession is available at the entrance and also serves as the pay station to enter the park. Check out my article on Silver Glen Springs for more details about the amenities offered or visit Marion Counties Silver Glen Springs Website for more information.
My top choice for the best spring in Ocala National Forest, Juniper Springs is located directly off of SR 40, west of Ocala about an hour. Being sandwiched directly in the middle of the state makes this popular spring a perfect stop over when traveling across the state. Many travelers stop here on their way to Daytona Beach.
The main spring is a great place to swim, but the real beauty of this great campground is the canoe run. This three hour canoe trip is self contained. As you follow the shallow Juniper River along through the untapped Juniper Wilderness Prairie, wildlife and quiet abound. Get picked up at the end by a park operator who will drive you back to the campground. For more information, read my article about Juniper Springs Canoe Run or visit Reserve America Official Website for reservations.