This post may contain affiliate links.
Florida Spring: Silver Glen Recreational Area
Location: Ocala National Forest, Florida
Have you heard of Silver Glen Springs? It’s a hidden Florida oasis perfect for the entire family to enjoy. Located deep in the Ocala National Forest, Silver Glen Springs Recreation Area is about two hours from Jacksonville and makes the perfect day trip for your family. Here are a few of the reasons we love it!
Picnic Under The Canopy of Oaks & Palms
A short walk from the parking lot leads you down to the picnic area nestled under the oak and palm tree canopy. Pack a lunch and lots of snacks, this park is open 8am-8pm and you may end up staying all day long. Make sure to arrive early to snag a table, or bring your own picnic gear. Beware of the vultures and hungry squirrels that linger around the picnic area. We made sure our food and gear was safely secured when we went swimming.
Silver Glen Springs has Swimming For All Ages
Located near the picnic area is the entrance into the cool, crystal clear water. You’ll enter the swimming area like a beach, just walk right in. The spring water is a crisp 73 degrees year round. A large portion of the swimming area is shallow, perfect for younger children to play, splash and catch tadpoles. As you walk/swim towards the spring head the water becomes deeper, yet still crystal clear. Bring your floats and noodles as they are welcome in this swimming hole.
There are Hundreds of Fish
Silver Glen Springs is known for the hundreds of striped bass that seem to just float together at the spring head. It’s amazing to dive down and catch a glimpse of these fish. Snorkeling this spring is a bucket list experience, don’t forget to pack your snorkel gear and underwater camera. The fish don’t seem to mind the snorkelers diving down to take a look.
You can Paddle the Spring Run at Silver Glen Springs
Didn’t bring your canoe or kayak? At Silver Glen you can rent one for a small fee. It’s always great to head out on the run, you never know what wildlife you may encounter. The launch for the canoes or kayaks is the same entrance as swimming. Once you are in the water paddle left. Silver Glen is a popular spot for boaters to dock right outside the swimming area. So popular, we spotted a boat selling concessions from hot dogs and sno-cones to floats and snorkel masks!
Enjoy the Hiking Trails at Silver Glen Springs
Silver Glen Recreation Area offers two hiking trails. Bring the family on the short and tranquil Spring Boils Trail (3⁄4 mile round trip) that brings you to Jody’s Spring. If you are up for hiking a little longer, the Lake George Trail (3 miles round trip) is an enjoyable hike by the lake.
Now that you’ve added Silver Glen Springs Recreation Area to your Florida Bucket List make sure to plan ahead. This not so secret hidden gem can fill to capacity quickly in the summer months. Plan to arrive early, especially on the weekends. There is a small store on site along with a changing area and portable bathrooms. The entrance fee to the park is $6 (cash only) per person, children 5 and under are free. Spending the day wading, snorkeling and swimming in the crystal clear waters is the perfect way to spend a hot, humid Florida day.
If you’re interested in learning more about springs in Florida, we recommend Touring the Springs of Florida: A Guide to the State’s Best Springs. It’s a great resource for day trips that your family is sure to love!
Looking to explore more springs in Florida? Check out our other suggestions for the best springs to explore with your family!
Jillian Gishler is a New Englander at heart. Born in Jacksonville Beach, she grew up in Massachusetts but was beckoned back to Florida by Mickey Mouse for a Disney World Internship. She returned to the beach in 2005 after graduating from Florida State. Ten years ago she opened her handmade & vintage collective shop, Sew Vicious, in Neptune Beach. Jillian raises chickens, is a passionate gardener, a DIYer, a thrift store junkie, and a deal loving mama who runs Sunny Savings. She leads her daughters Girl Scout Troop, teaches sewing at a local Montessori School, and is a Parents Who Lead Alumni. She loves surprising her husband and daughters with mini-vacations around the Sunshine State.