Living in the Nature Coast, most of your available opportunities for fun and adventure are creations of Mother Nature. The forest sometimes seems endless but is always lush and full of life. This area has been wonderfully preserved so native plants and animals can flourish. Luckily, the various campgrounds and springs located along the Ocala National Forest allow you to snuggle up to nature for as long as you like. I have been to every spring in Ocala National Forest. While each spring and site has its own unique appeal, Alexander Springs has the best swimming area.
Scuba diving and snorkeling is one of the biggest draws to Alexander Springs. People from all around the world come here to scuba dive in this pristine, 72 degree spring. Scuba diving is only permitted over the spring’s largest boil and certification is required. The scuba diving fee will cost you $6.50 in addition to the $5.50 entrance fee.
This spring contains a constant, self-renewing water source of 70 million gallons. Regular swimming and floating around is perfectly acceptable as well. Alexander Springs has the clearest swimming spot. Juniper Springs water is really to shallow to do serious swimming. Salt Springs is quickly overcrowded, with shallow spots and thick weeds in certain areas. Alexander Springs, on the contrary, always seems to have more room to wander and more wildlife to see. My fiancé especially loves swimming here because the water is deep enough to see the underwater wildlife without actually touching it.
The wildlife consists mostly of various fish that won’t actually come into contact with you. The critters don’t mind being seen but will make a quick dash in a close encounter. I always enjoy swimming down into the actual spring itself to see what I can find. Strange creatures sometimes lurk in these dark areas, but nothing too intimidating. If you do dive down, take a chance to sift through the sand for fossils and other artifacts.
Boat rentals are available here to explore the springs dry, or paddle out to your own swimming area. Kayaks and power boating is not available.
The Timucuan Trail is located right next to the Springs for a modest hike of 1.1 miles through the thick green woods that the Timucuan Indian Tribe once traveled themselves..
Camping is currently $21 a campsite. There are 65 available campsites that will accommodate a recreational vehicle up to 35 feet. The campsites themselves are not furnished with bathrooms or electricity. However, showers, bathrooms, and electricity are never a far walk from a campsite. I was pretty satisfied with the privacy level of most of the campsites. Get there early for a priority pick.
Any of the wonderful springs of Ocala National Forest is worth seeing and exploring. However, if swimming is your priority, Alexander Springs is the place to go.