During the summer months, my job offers a wonderful "summer hours" program, where you can work extra hours in the week and have Friday's off. I love this program and participate every year so that I have available days to go do adventurous activities without having to interrupt my weekend. This summer hours my friend and I decided to check out Alexander Springs in the Ocala National Forest. It was only an hour away and neither my friend or I had ever been inside the forest, so we headed out. The springs are off a dirt road off of FL 19 and the front entrance appears out of nowhere on the left. The price for entrance (not a FL state park) was $11 for two of us. We pulled in and found canoe parking.
Normally we always walk around and check out the surroundings before heading straight to our adventure. This time was no different - we checked out the canoe rental area, walked through the picnic section over to the swimming hole. The water is always 72 degrees and with the sand that they added to the bottom of the area - the water is crystal clear so that the bottom and all of the wildlife are visible. Many divers frequent this spring and actually have their own section.
Normally when we have our adventures we kayak, but there was only canoe rentals available at this location so we went for it instead. You can bring your own kayaks and launch here, there are just none available to rent.
After we paid and got all of our gear together we headed out. The ramp to get the canoes and the launch were pretty far from each other so they provided us with a canoe dolly to use - it was pretty cool and so helpful - the thought of carrying that canoe the 50 feet was not something I would have enjoyed doing.
Once on the water the tranquility of the area and the wildlife were refreshing and much needed. The signs of civilization slowly slipped away until bird and gator chirpings were the only noises to be heard. We spotted numerous birds, gators, and turtles - otters have been known to frequent the area as well as black bears - unfortunately we missed both of those.
If you are looking for a place to slip into the soothing sounds of nature or need a dip in a refreshing pool of water, come check out Alexander Springs - you will enjoy it.
Find out more information about the springs - times open, directions, etc. -