Silver Springs State Park
The natural beauty of Silver Springs has attracted visitors from around the world since the mid-19th century. Silver Springs, one of the largest of Florida’s 33 first-magnitude springs, is made up of a group of springs that occur in the headwaters, coves, and edges of the Silver River. The Silver River is the largest tributary on the Ocklawaha River.
The average water flow from the Silver Springs group is over 550 million gallons per day!
Tourists have flocked to see the naturally crystal-clear waters for centuries. Silver Springs is possibly most famous for its glass-bottom boat rides, from which the numerous springs and associated aquatic life may be viewed. Wildlife include alligators and turtles, catfish and mullet, and birds such as cormorants, great blue herons, great egrets, ibis, and limpkin. Rhesus monkeys that were first introduced in the 1930s have also established a population in the park. Over the years, Silver Springs has been the site of many Hollywood films, including a number of Tarzan films as well as the Sea Hunt television series. In 2013, the State of Florida took over management of the headsprings area, combining it with the existing Silver River State Park to create the new Silver Springs State Park. The new park has three entrances:
The Main Entrance: Enjoy the headspring from a viewing deck, walk along the river on paved trails, see the ornamental gardens, and enjoy an easy stroll through the Real Florida. Visitors can enjoy a meal from the restaurant with a view of the spring. Glass bottom boat rides and canoe and kayak rentals are offered through our concessionaire. There is a $4.00 per boat launch fee if you bring your own canoe or kayak at the headspring launch. There is no land access from the water along the river and in the headspring area except at the canoe and kayak launch ramp.
The Camping Entrance: Visitors can paddle down the crystal clear river (there is no fee to launch from this ramp, but there is a ½ mile hike to launch area), hike or bike along one of the nature trails, or just sit and watch the wide variety of birds and wildlife. The picnic area features three pavilions available for rental with grills and a playground nearby. For overnight stays, the park has a 59 site full facility campground and 10 modern cabins. To reserve a cabin or campsite, please visit ReserveAmerica. The Camping Entrance of the park is home to a pioneer cracker village and the Silver River Museum and Environmental Education Center. The center is operated by the Marion County School District in cooperation with the park and is open to the public on weekends and holidays from 9am to 5pm. Admission to the Museum is $2.00 per person. Children under 6 are free. PLEASE NOTE: Due to a sewer project in the campground area, reservations are not available between April 15, 2015 and August 30, 2015. Campsites and cabins will be available first come, first served.
The Equestrian Entrance: Silver Springs State Parks horse trail traverses a wetland habitat. Unless we are in drought conditions, expect areas of mud and standing water along the trails. Summer seasons feature biting insects, plan accordingly. If you do not have your own horse, we have a Visitor Services Provider offering guided trail rides. Cactus Jack's Trail Rides will offer groups or individuals (6 years and up) rides through the oak trees on well-mannered horses. Visit the website or call them for reservations at (352) 266-9326. Cactus Jack may refuse service based upon current conditions.
Silver Springs is located about 6 miles east of downtown Ocala. From the intersection of U.S. Highway 301 and State Road 40 in Ocala, drive east on State Road 40 (East Silver Springs Blvd) for 6.1 miles to the Main Entrance to Silver Springs State Park (on the right). To access the Camping Entrance, turn right on Baseline Road (just before the Main Entrance) and travel 1.1 miles south to the Camping Entrance (on your left). To access by water, boats can be launched at the boat ramp on State Road 40 at the west end of the bridge over the Ocklawaha River, and then go west on the Silver River to the springs.
At a Glance:
Activities: Glass-bottom boat tours, photography, picnicking, wildlife viewing, bicycling, canoeing and kayaking, hiking, museum, equestrian trails
Entrance Fee: Yes
Scuba Diving: No
Onsite Camping: Yes, at the Camping Entrance
Dogs Allowed: Yes, at campground, picnic area and on hiking trails. Not permitted in glass-bottom boats or buildings. Service animals welcome everywhere.
Type of Park: State Park
Location: Marion County–Latitude 29°13'04.6" N., Longitude 82°03'19.3" W.
Address and Contact Information:
Silver Springs State Park
1425 NE 58th Avenue
Ocala, FL 34470
Phone: (352) 236–7148
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