Within the Ocala National Forest in Florida, 90 minutes north of Orlando and 22 miles east of the Silver Springs on State Road 40, there is Juniper Springs. This is a very unique location to check out for anyone who is looking for something different during their vacation. A limestone wall that is surrounded by picnic tables and a lawn that was originally built in the 1930s circles the entire park’s spring. Swimmers and campers can enjoy a deep blue watering hole that is certain to help cool them down during the hot weather in the area.
An old historical mill that was build to provide electricity for the park campground is next to the swimming area and provides a historical and informational exhibit for park guests that would like to learn more. One of the best canoe runs in all of the state is present at this park. A four hour canoe or kayak trip down the spring fed Juniper Creed Run will provide you with a one way, 7 mile ride that winds through the park’s Prairie Wilderness Area. Rental canoes and a seat on the bus for the return trip are reserved at the main concession area.
The Juniper Creek Run is another unique asset to this area. There is a lush, tropical forest of palms, southern hardwoods, cypress, and many other unique plant life. This area surrounds visitors at almost every turn they make. It will provide you with an easy sense of what the native Timucuans may have experienced many years ago. The amount of wildlife in the area is amazing. Visitors can see red-bellied turtles, great herons, monarch butterflies, and many wildflowers. There are a few alligators that are present, but they will stay away from the park for the most part. If you have been seeking a location that feels like you are surrounded by nature, this experience is very unique. It’s a great opportunity to take the kids on a hike and explore different locations and areas of the park; each area seems almost completely unique and separated to itself, which makes it all the more encompassing.
Ultimately, if you are looking for an unforgettable experience and something that you can enjoy for a day or so while you are in the area, visiting Juniper Springs can be a great option. There is something available for the entire family and it’s easily one of the most affordable areas to check out during the summer. It’s also a great place to go if you have kids, as they will naturally want to go play in the water and explore everything that the park has to offer. Taking a camera is a must so that you can capture pictures of all of the wildlife, lush surroundings and the beauty of the water. Once you have visited this unique springs preserve once, you are likely to repeat this mini vacation again throughout the future.