Silver Springs State Park is known for its blue, crystal clear water and glass bottom boats. The area used to be a tourist attraction called Silver Springs which started in the 1870’s. The state took over operations of the area in 2013 and along with the acquired state land nearby Silver Springs State Park was born. The campground entrance is a separate entrance from the main headwaters entrance but only about 10 minutes away. The park has 15 miles of trails, 10 cabins, and 59 campsites.
Campground: Silver Springs State Park
Location: Silver Springs, Florida
Site: 6 (Loop SF1) – pull thru
Comments: A fabulous campground. We loved our site which was a very large pull thru with great space. The gravel was nicely maintained as was the entire campground. Our visit was too short.
The Silver River Museum (fee required) is located in the state park and is across from the campground. It offers both inside and outside exhibits and was very interesting. The museum also serves the school systems with an environmental education center therefore can be closed to the public while school is in session.
Exhibits inside include 3 main galleries and a gift shop with prehistoric artifacts, rare Florida fossils, natural history of the area, and information about the tourist attraction Silver Springs.
The outside area includes a few scale model glass bottom boats, a late 1800’s pioneer Cracker settlement, a segregation-era Black American one-room schoolhouse, several log cabins, and a wood-fire pottery kiln.
Silver Springs flows into the Silver River and then into the Ocklawaha River. The glass bottom boats are located in the main headwaters part of the State Park and allow visitors to tour the river with great views of under the water.
The river is a great place to canoe and kayak also. So off we went!
We started out early one morning and got on the water before the crowds appeared. It was fabulous.
The water is so blue and so clear!
The scenery is fantastic!
There were alligators, turtles, and birds at every turn.
We even saw an alligator with a turtle in it’s mouth. Since we were on the kayak I had my GoPro (waterproof) camera out and not a zoom lens camera so the photo is very unclear but it is a turtle in his/her mouth!!
Supposedly the area is full of almost 400 non-native rhesus monkeys brought to the area in the 1930s by a local tour operator known as “Colonel Tooey” who wanted to enhance his “Jungle Cruise” ride. We didn’t see any but there are a number of You Tube videos showing them.
We really wanted a clear bottomed kayak as their website has advertised them but they informed us we could not rent them. We DID see them out and about and they looked great! One day!
By the time we returned to the kayak rental area the place was packed. It was pretty much chaos so the learning from this was GO EARLY!! As a side note it was a Sunday so it is probably better during the week.
We still had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves!!