Silver Springs State Park in Ocala, Florida


Are you looking for a fun and adventurous road trip destination? Set your sights on one of Florida’s hidden gems: Silver Springs State Park in Ocala. This state park offers an escape from the everyday hustle and bustle of modern life while still providing plenty of activities to keep visitors entertained.

Whether you are searching for a relaxing day out or need some time off from busy city life, Silver Springs has something to offer everyone who visits. With ample opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, fishing, camping, bird watching, and much more – it’s no surprise why this miraculous place is known as “The Nature Coast”.

Keep reading to learn more about what makes this rustic gem such a wonderful spot year round!


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 additional information on Silver Springs State Park that you may find useful:

  • Admission is $2. Children under five are free
  • There are two places to eat at the park: Spring Side Cafe and Paradise Treats
  • The park is open seven days a week, year-round
  • Hours are 8 AM until sundown
  • Swimming is not allowed
  • Dogs must be leashed. They are not allowed on glass-bottom boats or in any buildings. (service dogs are the exception)

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

Check out our other Florida posts:

Wynwood: Miami’s Street Art Neighborhood

Disney’s Vero Beach Resort

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