Central Florida is known for its natural beauty, and one of the most picturesque and unspoiled areas is Silver Springs State Park in Ocala. Visitors will fall in love with its clear waters and enjoy plenty of outdoor activities like kayaking and canoeing.
Perfectly located in central Florida, Silver Springs has been amazing visitors for centuries. Native Americans lived in the area in the 16th century. Later on, Spanish settlers were known to have admired the area greatly.
About Silver Springs State Park
Silver Springs is considered Florida’s first tourist attraction. Famous for its beautiful clear water, the park has been offering glass bottom boat tours for decades. The springs have also been a popular place to film movies and television shows. Classic movies like “Tarzan” and “Creature from the Black Lagoon” as well as many shows and documentaries including “Crocodile Hunter” with the late Steve Irwin.
More of the history of Silver Springs State Park can be seen in various exhibits inside the park. There are also exhibits that focus on the natural wildlife in the area and exhibits that showcase the cinematic history of the park.
Silver Springs Glass Bottom Boats
Get to know the area on a Silver Springs glass bottom boat! Tours run every 30 to 45 minutes from 10am to 5pm. We really enjoyed the tour because we got to see some wildlife and vegetation up close. Our guide was informative and hilarious (a great combination) and he pointed out various plants and animals that we otherwise probably would not have noticed.
During our tour, we also passed over a centuries-old Native American dugout canoe and statues that look like ancient relics but are actually abandoned props from the 1960s television series “I Spy.” The tour is approximately 30 minutes but there are extended tours on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 11am, 1pm, and 3pm. Those last approximately 90 minutes.
Silver Springs Kayaking and Canoeing
Another major draw to the Silver Springs park is kayaking, canoeing, and even stand up paddleboarding. Visitors can rent equipment by the hour or for the day and have the option of staying in Silver Springs or traveling five miles north to Ray Wayside Park (return transportation is provided).
Silver Springs Trails
After we went on our glass bottom boat tour, we went for a walk along one of the designated trails. We’ve always loved walking under the tall trees and this time was no exception. We saw signs warning us to be on the lookout for Silver Springs monkeys, but we didn’t see any while we were there. We did see a ton of butterflies though!
Silver Springs Campground
It is possible to camp at Silver Springs and cabins are available to rent. During our visit to Silver Springs, we didn’t see the cabins, but you can find more information on cabin rental here.
Pro Tip: If you’re traveling with little ones, make sure to read Top 5 Things To Do In Central Florida With Kids
More on Silver Springs State Park
Here is some additional information on Silver Springs State Park that you may find useful:
• The park is open seven days a week year-round, including holidays. Hours are from 8am to sundown.
• The cost to enter is $2 and children five and under are free.
• There are two dining options in Silver Springs: Spring Side Cafe and Paradise Treats.
• Dogs must be kept on leashes and are allowed in most places except the glass bottom boats and in any buildings (service animals are allowed in all areas).
• Swimming is not allowed at Silver Springs.
We hope that you’ll visit Silver Springs State Park and take advantage of all the natural beauty and activities that it has to offer!
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This article was written by Vicky Sosa or Buddy the Traveling Monkey
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