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Silver Springs State Park

 Activities at Silver Springs State Park

Bicycling

Bicycling

Off-road biking is permitted on all 15 miles of trails on the River side. Trails are sand, not paved.  Some trails get wet when in the rainy season.  When biking, please be considerate of the foot traffic that shares these trails. Biking is not permitted on the Spring side at this time. There is a bike rack at the entrance on the Spring Side to leave your bike while you enjoy the Spring area.

Boat Tours

Boat Tours

View the underground springs from our glass-bottom boats, where you'll see fish, turtles and alligators in water that's up to 25 feet deep. Glass bottom boat tours run 7 days a week from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and last about 30 minutes. Fees are $9.99 per person + tax, children under 6 are free. Pets are not allowed. For large party reservations please call Silver Springs Management at (352) 261-5840.

Participation Requirements

Cabins

Cabins

Located beneath shady oaks, Silver Springs' 10 cabins each accommodate up to six people. Each cabin has a full dining area, two bedrooms, one bath, stove, refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher, gas fireplace (October 1 to April 30), heating and cooling, screened porch, dishes, pots and pans, silverware, linen, towels, picnic tables and rockers on the porch. Bring food and personal items. Guests make their own beds.

Cabin #6 is wheelchair accessible. Ramps lead to the front door and to the fire ring behind the cabin.

For the guest's relaxation, televisions and phones are not provided.

Reservations may be made up to 11 months in advance through ReserveAmerica. Book Online or call (800) 326-3521 (8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.) or TDD (888) 433-0287. Pets are not permitted in cabins.  Service animals are welcome.

There is a minimum two nights stay in cabins on weekends and holidays, either Friday and Saturday night, or Saturday and Sunday nights. A single Friday or Sunday night may be reserved only if there is already a two night stay booked by another guest.  Cabin Rental: $110.00 per night, plus tax.

View the photo gallery.

Campfire Circles

Campfire Circles

Camp fires are permitted in the fire rings at the campground and behind the cabins. Periodically there may be fire bans due to low humidity and drought. If in doubt, please ask park staff or campground host. Seasoned firewood is available for sale at the ranger station.

Camping, Full Facility

Camping, Full Facility

Fifty-nine spacious sites easily accommodate large camping units. Each site offers water and electric hook-ups with 30 amp service; ten sites offer 50 amp service. All sites have fire ring, a barbecue grill and a picnic table. A separate dump station for holding tanks is located in the park. Firewood is available at the Ranger Station. A canoe/kayak launch provides access to the Silver River. Well behaved pets are allowed in the campground, but not in the cabins.

Maximum RV length = 50 ft.

Reservations: Reservations may be made up to 11 months in advance through ReserveAmerica. Book Online or call (800) 326-3521 (8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.) or TDD (888) 433-0287.

Camping, Youth

Camping, Youth

The youth group camping area, set amid tall pines, is primitive camping for organized groups (scouts, church groups, clubs, etc.) The area includes self mulching toilets, picnic tables and fire rings at each of nine sites. Each site is large enough for about 50 people. Chaperones for youth groups must be a minimum of one adult chaperone per 10 children. There are no shower facilities. There is running water but it is not potable. Call the park for reservations at (352) 236-7148.

Canoeing & Kayaking

Canoeing & Kayaking

The Silver River is one of the most beautiful and peaceful rivers you will ever paddle. With three launching points, you have the option to paddle the entire 5.4 mile river, or enjoy shorter sections at your leisure.  Admission fees are required at each entry point.

You can start from the beginning by coming in the main state park entrance on State Road 40, just east of its intersection with State Road 35.  The launch area is south of the main spring, at the head of the river.  If you venture into the main Silver Springs, please give the glass bottom tour boats plenty of room.  There is a $4.00 per vessel fee to launch your canoe or kayak here.  You can also rent from the park's concessionaire.  Please contact the concessionaire, Silver Springs Management, at (352) 261-5840 for rental rates.

About halfway downriver is the option to launch from the end of our River Trail.  Entering via State Road 35 one mile south of State Road 40, you will drive a mile past the ranger station to the parking lot near the Silver River Museum.  There is no launch fee from this location, but you do need to pay state park admission (if you paid admission to the park at the main entrance, just show your payment receipt).  Canoe rentals are no longer available from the ranger station. This launch point requires you to carry your vessel a half-mile from the parking lot to the river. 

To start near the end of the river and paddle upstream, you can put in at Ray Wayside Boat Basin at the western foot of the Ocklawaha bridge on State Road 40.  This location is run by Marion County parks, with an entry fee of $5.00.  There are several outfitters who offer shuttle service out of Ray Wayside park.  As of October 2013, the state park concession just began operating.  They hope to offer shuttle services in the near future.  

Participation Requirements

Hiking/Nature Trail

Hiking/Nature Trail

Silver Springs has almost 15 miles of biking and hiking trails meandering through a variety of different habitats. From wetland and swamp, to oak hammock and pine forest - the trails offer a glimpse of the wide variety of ecosystems that Central Florida offers.

Horse/Equestrian Trail

Horse/Equestrian Trail

Entry to the equine trails is off of SR 40 at gate #5.  (Call the park for exact directions.) The main gate opens at 8:00 am and closes one hour before sunset.  There are signs on the road indicating the entry. There is a kiosk showing the marked trails, and you may pick up your own copy of the map at the kiosk as well.  Entry is on an honor system.  Please come prepared with exact change.  Pick up an envelope, deposit the fee and return it to the iron ranger.  Keep the portion that hangs off your rear view mirror so that a ranger patrolling will see that you paid the fee.  Payment can be made by cash or check (made out to Silver Springs State Park.)  If you wish to pay by credit or debit card you will have to come to the ranger station at the main park entry.  If you are a holder of an annual pass, please write the pass number and your name on the envelope.  (No charge for pass holders.)  Water is available by hand pump; bring your own buckets. 

If you do not have your own horse, we now have a Visitor Services Provider offering guided trail rides with their horses seven days a week.  Cactus Jack's Trail Rides will offer groups or individuals (6 years and up) rides through the oak trees on well-mannered horses.  Call them for reservations at 352-266-9326.

Interpretive Exhibit

Interpretive Exhibit

Kiosks at most trail heads provide informative exhibits including prescribed burning, the Florida Black Bear and migratory birds.

Museum

Museum

The Silver River Museum and Environmental Education Center has exhibits on Florida’s history and ecology. The museum is open to the public on weekends and holidays from 9 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is $2 per person; children under 6 are free. The museum is operated by the Marion County School District in cooperation with the Florida Park Service.

Pets

Pets

Well behaved pets are welcome in the Silver Springs campground, picnic area and on the hiking trails. Owners are expected to clean up after their pets and leashes are required at all times. Pets are not permitted on the glass bottom boats or in any buildings, including:  cabins, the museum, education center, restrooms and the restaurant.  Service animals are welcome in all ares of the park. 

Picnicking

Picnicking

The picnic area offers three open air picnic pavilions with grills, overhead fans, picnic tables, electricity and water. A playground for the youngsters is also in this area. The pavilions may be reserved by calling the park. Alcoholic beverages may not be consumed at the pavilions.  The only designated area for alcohol consumption is your own cabin or campsite if you are staying overnight with us.

Playground

Playground

Near the picnic area is a delightful playground for the youngsters featuring a swingset, slides and monkey bars. The ground surface is a unique rubber mat that provides a safe surface in case of "spills".

Recycling

Recycling

Recycling bins for aluminum and plastics are available by the campground dumpsters and in the cabin area.  At this time we have not discovered a safe method of glass recycling (due to breakage) but we can point you to the nearest recycling center about a mile away.

Restroom Facilities

Restroom Facilities

Restrooms and shower facilities are conveniently located in both of the campground loops. There is also a public restroom at the picnic area.

Wildlife Viewing

Wildlife Viewing

Almost 5,000 acres of varying habitats provide a wonderful home for many different species of mammals, reptiles and birds. Frequent sightings include armadillos, deer, turkey, fox, Sherman Fox Squirrel and gopher tortoises. Less frequently seen are coyote, bobcats and Florida Black Bear. Bird life is plentiful! Silver Springs is the home to a significant population of Limpkins, and many other water and woodland birds. Download your Wildlife listing or pick one up at the park.