Originally published on July 24, 2020 by Every Day a Vacation
Alexander Springs – an oasis in Lake County
If you know me, then you know the Florida springs are my happy place. Well let me tell ya, out of the 50+ springs I’ve been to, Alexander Springs is really something special.
If you’ve explored the Florida springs, you may know that many of them are crystal blue pools located along brown, murky rivers. Thus, I get really excited when I find one that is the major water source feeding a river (hello crystal clear kayak runs!). Such is the case with Alexander Springs.
This first magnitude spring emits over 64.6 million gallons of water per day! The water comes up from the aquifer and feeds Spring Creek, making this river one of the purest in the state, if not the country.
The Real Florida, Real Close
The first thing I noticed while paddling down the creek was just how much wildlife there was.
Schools of fish, countless species of birds sunning and swimming, turtles and alligators. This is a very rich ecosystem, so please pack out everything you bring in with you!
Although this is one of the few springs alligators are known to frequent, they are very small. I did not see one fully grown gator while visiting Alexander Springs. This picture above shows a baby gator we accidentally scared out of hiding on the outer edge of the spring.
There’s more to do at Alexander Springs than just swimming. Here are a few of the activities available at Alexander Springs:
- Canoe, Kayak, or SUP: Take a paddle down Spring Creek and check out the local wildlife. Canoes are available to rent on the premises for $16 for 2 hours, $24 for 4 hours, or $38 for the entire day.
- Hiking: Section hike part of the historic Florida Trail. From the Alexander Springs Campground, follow the trail with the blue blazes as far as you’d like to get a glimpse of Florida’s backcountry. You can also hike the Timucuan Trail, a 1.1 mile loop where you can see the vegetation used by the Timucuan tribe.
- Camping: Camping is available for $24 per night per campsite. Reservations can be made on their website by clicking here. This is bear country, so bring a bear bag or bear canister and pack everything out!
- Snorkeling or Scuba Diving: Bring along some fins and goggles to view the wildlife below the surface.
- Fishing: Fishing is allowed along the river with a valid Florida Freshwater Fishing License, which you can purchase online here.
Getting To Alexander Springs
Alexander Springs is located in the Ocala National Forest. It’s about An hour and a half from Gainesville, an hour from Ocala, and an hour from Orlando.
My favorite part about the drive is looking for bears upon entering the Ocala National Forest. Although I rarely see them along the main roads, I actually did see two little Florida black bears this time right after we left the springs! Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to snag a picture before they ran off back into the woods. Oh well, next time!
Lake County is the Perfect Distance Away
During these uncertain times, we must be aware of the environments we put ourselves in. Lake County is the perfect distance away to experience nature and the real Florida while staying responsible and maintaining social distancing. Although I was only in the area for a day, there are plenty of other activities I hope to check out in Lake County next time! If you have a few days in the area, I recommend checking these activities out:
- Rock Springs Run Trail Rides: Enjoy a horseback ride along a 9-mile loop that passes through different Florida plant ecosystems, bringing you face to face with the real Florida.
- Revolution Off-Road Adventures: Are you a thrill seeker? Revolution Off-Road Adventures offers a mix of activities for adrenaline junkies. ATV’s, 8-wheel amphibious vehicles, shooting, and archery are just a few of the activities available here!
- Jones Brothers Seaplanes: See Lake County from above in this unique tour experience! Jones Brothers Seaplanes offers flight seeing tours, as well as seaplane pilot instruction courses for those interested in learning how to fly!
Find A Place To Stay
Lake County is full of fun places to stay! Here’s just a few for ya:
- Lake Louisa Glamping: Love to camp, but don’t want to sacrifice your daily comforts? Glamping is the perfect combination of backcountry and luxury to fuel your adventurous spirit!
- Key West Resort on Lake Dora: If glamping doesn’t sound like you, then you’ll find the comforts you need at the Key West Resort on Lake Dora. Located right on the lake, this resort features a waterfront swimming pool and restaurant.
- The Hammock House: Want a more secluded overnight experience? Rent out the Hammock House, located right on the Wekiva River. This cozy, four bedroom cabin is located on a 14000 acre state reserve, has a separate mother-in-law house, and comes with two canoes and four kayaks!
So there you have it, the perfect day exploring Alexander Springs in Lake County, Florida. For more information on things to do in Lake County, visit www.VisitLakeFL.com.
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Have you been to the Florida springs before? Where did you go and what was your favorite part about your visit?