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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. 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 in the Headsprings area at this time. There is a bike rack at the Main Entrance to leave your bike while you enjoy the Spring area.

Birding

Birding

WIldlife abounds at Silver Springs State Park. The whole park provides birding opportunities for both upland and wetland species.  The bird and animal list can be found here

Boat Tours

Boat Tours

View the underground springs from our glass-bottom boats, where you'll see fish, turtles and alligators in the crystal clear water.  Glass-bottom boat tours  run 7 days a week last about 30 minutes. Fees are $11 for adults, $10 for seniors and students, and children under 6 are free. Pets are not allowed. For information about hours, extended tours , or 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 (8am to 8pm) 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.

Silver Springs State Park will be undergoing several maintenance upgrades beginning April 13, 2015.  Because of potential service interruptions during construction, reservations will not be available through Reserve America or by any other means.  Availability for camping will be on a first come, first served basis by arrival at the Ranger Station.  Please contact the park at (352) 236-7148 for detailed information about park amenities.

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.

Silver Springs State Park will be undergoing several maintenance upgrades beginning April 13, 2015.  Because of potential service interruptions during construction, reservations will not be available through Reserve America or by any other means.  Availability for camping will be on a first come, first served basis by arrival at the Ranger Station.  Please contact the park at (352)236-7148 for detailed information about park amenities.

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.

Canoe/Kayak Launch

Canoe/Kayak Launch

There are two options to launch paddle crafts at Silver Springs State Park. The Main Entrance offers a convenient launch in the southeast corner of the main parking lot. There is a $4.00 launch fee to utilize this ramp. The Ranger Station entrance offers a free launch, but vessels must be transported a 1/2 mile through trails to reach the launch. There is NO location to launch a motorized vessel at Silver Springs State Park. A motorized vessel launch is located near the confluence of the Silver and Ocklawaha Rivers 4.9 miles from the headwaters at Ray Wayside County Park.

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 headwaters by coming in the Main 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 headspring area, 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.  Canoe and kayak rentals are available. Call (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 and no rental from this location. State park admission applies. 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 County Park at the western foot of the Ocklawaha bridge on State Road 40.  There is an entry fee of $5.00.  Information on shuttle service can be found here

Participation Requirements

Concession & Restaurant

Concession & Restaurant

The Springside Cafe and Paradise Treats food concessions are open for business at the Headspring area of the park.  Enjoy anything from a snack to a full meal right next to the headspring.  For more information on food concessions or catering in the park, please contact (352) 261-5840 or click here

Family Reunions

Family Reunions

Silver Springs State Park has many options for hosting family gatherings.  The Ranger Station entrance to the park has 3 rentable pavilions with grills. Reservations can be made by calling (352) 236-7148 or coming into the Ranger Station.  Gatherings at the main entrance and headsprings location are accommodated through the concession.  Please contact (352) 261-5840 for more information. 

Gardens

Gardens

Both more traditional gardens and natural landscaping grace the slopes of the Silver River.  The main entrance of the park offers paved paths through the planned gardens that can be enjoyed by any and all visitors. 

Geo-Seeking

Geo-Seeking

Whether you are in the park or on the Silver River itself, there may be a geocache near you.  Pull out your smart phone or GPS device and see if you can find them!

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

NOTE: Silver Springs State Park’s horse trail traverses a wetland habitat.  Unless we are in drought conditions, expect areas of mud and standing water along the trails.  Summer seasons feature biting insects, plan accordingly.

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, 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. Cactus Jack may refuse service based upon current conditions.

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 Marion County School Board's Silver River Museum 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. 

Picnic Pavilion

Picnic Pavilion

Three rentable picnic pavilions can be found through the Ranger Station entrance to the park.  Grill out or just relax with your group.  Pavilions are rented by calling (352) 236-7148 or by visiting the Ranger Station. 

Picnicking

Picnicking

The picnic area offers three open air picnic pavilions with grills, overhead fans, picnic tables, electricity and water through the Ranger Station entrance. A playground for the youngsters is also in this area. The pavilions may be reserved by calling the park at (352) 236-7148 or coming into the Ranger Station. Picnicking is available at the Main Entrance on the south end of the parking lot (with grills) and throughout the grounds. Alcoholic beverages may not be consumed in any public areas of the park.

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.

Swimming

Swimming

Swimming is available seasonally at the Wild Waters Water Park, accessed through the Spring Side entrance off of State Road 40.  For more information on pricing and hours, please click here.

Tours

Tours

To see a list of Ranger Programs, please click here. The staff of Silver Springs State Park offers monthly Florida Safari Tram Tours, Cracker Village Tours, and guided hikes.  

Concession-run paddling tours of the Silver River are available by clicking here or calling (352) 261-5840.  

Visitor Center

Visitor Center

The Spring Side Education Center is a great place to learn more about Silver Springs State Park and the important part it played in history and the important part it continues to play in contributing to a healthy Florida ecosystem.  Featuring both a Natural Resource room and a Cultural Resource room, visitors can explore both the history and the present of this unique park. 

Walking

Walking

Stroll through the paved garden paths at the Main Entrance of the park.  Go at your own pace and enjoy the beauty of the banks of the Silver River. 

Weddings

Weddings

Silver Springs State Park offers one of the most beautiful venues in Florida for your wedding. For wedding information, please contact the park's concessionaire at (352) 261-5840 or visit them here.

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.