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A hidden gem among the dozens of natural springs scattered across Florida is Silver Glen Springs in the Ocala National Forest. This lesser-known spring is only a short drive from Orlando and is the perfect adventure for travelers or locals alike. Silver Glen Spring run is known for its crystal-clear water and its unique secluded location tucked deep into the Ocala National Forest. It is a popular spot among local boaters and kayakers in the summertime as a place to relax in wild Florida.
Silver Glen Springs – Florida’s Best Kept Secret
Many springs in Florida can get very crowded during certain times of the year. When the weather is hot, most locals and visitors will flock to Blue Spring or Rock Springs because of their popularity and proximity to Orlando.
CHECK OUT THIS MAP OF FLORIDA SPRINGS
Silver Glen Springs remains one of the lesser-known natural springs in Florida. This spring is located deep in the Ocala Forest and isn’t really near anything else. Though it can get crowded on the weekends in the summer, this spring tends to be Florida’s best-kept secret!
How To Get To Silver Glen Springs
Silver Glen Springs is located in the Ocala National Forest just north of Orlando. The spring entrance is off of Highway 19 and is about 1.5 hours from Orlando’s attractions.
Use this address to navigate to the entrance.
During the busier months, the guard shack near the entrance will be where you will pay the day-use fee. During the winter months when it’s much less crowded, the office near the parking lot is where you can grab your day-use wrist band.
It costs $6 per person to get into Silver Glen Springs for the day.
When To Visit Silver Glen Springs
Like most springs in Florida, there really is no wrong time to visit. Florida’s beautiful weather all year long makes each season perfect to enjoy Silver Glen Springs.
During the winter months, Silver Glen Springs is much quieter with less boat traffic and only small groups playing in the spring. The winter months are also the best time to see manatees as they make their way to the warmer spring waters.
See the best places to see manatees in Florida.
The summer months are much busier at Silver Glen Springs. This is one of the best places to cool off during the hotter months and tends to only draw the locals. Boaters also frequent the spring run for a fun place to anchor and party.
What To Bring To Silver Glen Springs
- Sunglasses. I’ll never stop recommending these Oakley Sunglasses. I’ve had them for almost 10 years and they are still going strong!
- Hat. I’m sure you have a hat laying around, but if you don’t, here’s one of my favorites!
- Sunscreen. This water-resistant sunscreen is perfect for kayaking!
- Bug Spray. If you don’t do well with some of the harsh insect repellents, try this one!
Know that there are no “actual” restroom facilities on site. There are however portable toilets and changing areas. The portable toilets are well kept, but as the park gets busy in the summer, they turn into your average port-o-potty.
Kayaking At Silver Glen Springs
Kayaking at Silver Springs really is one of the best locations near Orlando to enjoy the crystal clear water of Florida’s natural springs.
The spring boil is the first view you will get walking down the hill from the parking lot. Just past that is the kayak launch. It’s a small ramp that drops you just past the buoys that mark the swimming area.
If you are launching your own kayak at Silver Springs, be prepared to walk a few minutes from your car to the launching point. Once launched, paddle around the spring boil a bit to enjoy the views. Paddling away from the swimming area and to the left will take you along the quarter-mile crystal clear spring run. At the end of the run, you will
Silver Glen does offer canoe rentals, but they are very limited and are on a first-come-first-served basis. From my experience, I believe they only take cash though there was an ATM in the store.
2-hour canoe rental, the price is $16.
4-hour canoe rental, the price is $24.
All-day canoe rental, the price is $38.
All canoe rentals require a $20 deposit
It is FREE to launch your personal kayak, canoe or paddleboard.
Swimming At Silver Glen Springs
Silver Glen Springs in Florida has one of the best swimming holes in the state! The swimming area is roped off to prevent boats and kayaks from entering.
With a shallow section and a deeper section, the Silver Glen Springs swimming hole is the perfect place to cool off in the summer months. Surround the swimming hole are tons of picnic tables, charcoal grills, and grassy areas.
It’s important to always be aware of wildlife when swimming in any of Florida’s springs. Silver Glen Springs, though not as likely, CAN have alligators, snakes, and other wildlife living in and around the spring boil.
Manatees At Silver Glen Springs
The winter months at Silver Glen Springs offer the best chance to see manatees as they congregate in the warmer spring water.
Visit Silver Glen Springs from November through March for the opportunity to kayak or swim with manatees. Arrive as early as possible in the morning for the best chance to see these gentle giants.
This is a lesser-known spot to most so it is important to always mind your manatee manners.
NEVER touch, chase, or harass manatees or any other wildlife.
ALWAYS respect Florida’s natural places and wildlife.
Boating At Silver Glen Springs
There are tons of boat ramps near Silver Glen Springs run.
Most of these ramps aren’t extremely close to Silver Glen Springs, but it would only be a short and beautiful ride to the spring run.
Both Shell Harbor Park & Boat Launch and a marina just down the road from Silver Glen are both perfect places to launch from. Use the links above for their addresses.
Another really great option to launch your boat onto the Lake George and the St John’s River is the Astor Boat Ramp. Free with a large parking lot, this ramp is just a short ride over to Silver Glen Springs.
Other Activities At Silver Glen Springs
While there is no camping at Silver Glen Springs, there are tons of options on where to camp in the immediate area. The closest well-known campgrounds near Silver Glen Springs is Alexander Springs Campground and Salt Springs Campground. Both are only a short drive from Silver Glen Springs.
Use the Ocala National Forest website to search for the perfect campsite near Silver Glen Springs. Most sites start around $20 and up for a primitive site. Salt Springs is the only campground in the area offering full hookups starting at $34.
Silver Glen Springs Recreation Area has over 3 miles of easy trails. The Lake George Trail is a 3-mile round trip hike along Lake George while the much shorter Spring Boil Trail is less than a mile and starts right at the headspring.
Where To Eat Nearby
While there isn’t a restaurant on the property at Silver Glen Springs, there are quite a few great choices just a short drive away.
Be aware that Silver Glen Springs tends to fill to capacity during the weekends in the summer as well as holidays. If the park closes due to capacity, you may be denied re-entry if you leave the recreation area to go grab food.
Just 10 minutes north in Salt Springs are a few restaurants like Papa Joe’s, Salt Springs Pizza, and Odd Todd’s.
About 15 minutes south of Silver Glen Springs is the small town of Astor which has some great hole-in-the-wall places to eat! Check out Blackwater Inn, Sparky’s Place, or Rose Garden Family Restaurant for a few awesome meals after your day on the water!
Where To Stay Nearby
With Silver Glen Springs being located in the Ocala National Forest, there are not many luxury hotels in close proximity. If you are looking for camping locations, check above for a few options.
If you are looking for a hotel that requires just a short drive to the Ocala National Forest, check out locations in DeLand, Florida. This cute town is about a 30-40 minute drive from the major springs in the Ocala National Forest.
The Hampton Inn & Suites is a great place to stay near Silver Glen Springs.
The Courtyard DeLand Historic Downtown is another awesome location to stay at when visiting the Ocala National Forest.