The St. Johns River offers boaters access to some of Florida’s most beautiful freshwater springs along the Ocala National Forest.
Recreational Activities and Wildlife Exploration
Visitors can enjoy swimming in the crystal clear spring water, which remains at a refreshing average temperature of 70 degrees year round. Other activities to try include:
- scuba diving
The springs are also home to a large bird population and many species of marine wildlife, including manatees.
Benefits of Boating to the Florida Springs
Although you can drive to almost all of the Florida Springs, boating offers a scenic experience we encourage you to try. There are also many great fishing spots along the way.
If you do not own a boat, we have rentals! Start planning your next boating adventure on the St. Johns River to some of Florida’s most breathtaking springs.
Salt Springs, on the northern edge of Lake George off the St. Johns River along Salt Springs Run, is a popular spring within the Ocala National Forest.
Visitors can swim and snorkel in the spring. While the spring is home to a variety of turtles, Blue Crabs and bass, fishing and motorized boats are not permitted.
Since Salt Springs is in the Ocala National Forest, the area is managed by the U.S. Forest Service. The spring can also be accessed via U.S 19.
Silver Glen Springs
Also off the St. Johns River is Silver Glen Springs at the end of Silver Glen Springs Run off Lake George. The area is another popular spot for tourists. During the cooler winter months, manatee sightings are frequent as they seek warmer water than that of the river.
Silver Glen Springs also sits within the Ocala National Forest. The crystal clear water gives way to swimming, snorkeling, fishing, kayaking and canoeing. Did you know that the spring’s two vents produce an average of 65 million gallons of water daily?
A leisurely boat ride along Juniper Creek off the St. Johns River or by land traveling along S.R. 40 will lead to Juniper Springs. The surrounding complex dates to the 1930s making it one of the oldest in the region.
Like other springs in the area where swimmers can enjoy the pristine waters, the spring is also an access point to the Florida Trail/Florida National Scenic Trail in the Ocala National Forest.
The Land of Springs
Several other springs to consider for day trips include Alexander Springs, De Leon Springs and Blue Spring. You can take the St. Johns River or a feeder creek to reach any of these springs.
The First Magnitude Spring
Considered a first magnitude spring, Alexander Spring in Altoona on C.R. 455 is an 8-mile boat ride east of the St. Johns River.
De Leon Spring’s Rich History
De Leon Springs, east of the river, is steeped in history dating back to when the native Mayaca inhabited the area for 6,000 years and the 1500s when the Spanish began building missions in the region.
Manatees at Blue Spring
If you are looking to spot manatees during the winter months, then head to Blue Spring. It’s the largest spring on the St. Johns River and is known as the winter home of manatees in this part of the state. The spring discharges 165 million gallons of water daily.
Boat Rental and Contact Information
Checking out any of the springs in the area is a great way to spend a few hours or make it an all-day outing to enjoy the unique bodies of water. There is really no better way to access many of these sites than by boat. Bring your own boat and leave from our dock or hop in one of our boat rentals at Castaways on the River.