Florida’s Ocala National Forest is the home of Alexander Springs Campground, which is one of the state’s most popular for hikers, backpackers, and campers of all skill levels. You might not be fortunate enough to witness the season change in Florida and all of the amazing colors that come with it, but you’ll usually be guaranteed to get some great outdoor weather all year long.
Some of the activities you can get up to in the campground include camping, kayaking, canoeing, boating, swimming, swimming, hiking, biking, fishing, dirt biking, snorkelling, waterskiing, and scuba diving. The forest itself is just over 600 square miles in size and the campground sits in its southeast corner.
(photo credit: jimbrekke)
The camping area is located close to Alexander Spring, which is a 200-foot wide pool which flows into Alexander Creek. The crystal-clear water flows from the bottom of the huge pool at a rate of about 70 million gallons per day. The water is ideal for swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving with the deepest areas filled with lush underwater vegetation and fish.
Alexander Springs Campground offers 67 campsites in total which are suitable for pop-ups, RV’s, and tents. The area consists of four loops, but the campsites don’t have water and electrical hook-ups. However, each site comes with a grill, contained fire ring, lantern pole, and picnic table. The sites all have paved driveways as well as raised tent pads. There is room for two vehicles on each of the driveways.
If you have more than two vehicles you can park them in the lot near the campground’s entrance for a nightly fee. The sites offer some privacy as they have trees and brush to shield them.
There are washrooms and bath houses in the center of each of the four camping loops. They’re separated into male and female areas and all come with sinks, toilets, and hot showers. Each of the washroom areas also has a smaller room between the male and female sections where campers can wash their dishes and cooking utensils in large sinks.
When it comes to backpacking and hiking, at Alexander springs, there’s a hiking trail that’s about a mile long known as the Timucuan Indian Trail. However, if you’d like to get more of a workout and see more of the scenic forest, you can head over to the Florida Scenic Trail as it will take you through the wonderful Ocala National Forest.
You’ll probably get to see a wide variety of wildlife in the forest as this trail is 66 miles in length. There’s also a fantastic bicycle trail as well which is named after Paisley Woods and is just over 20 miles long.
In addition, you can also rent canoes on site and there’s a big picnic area if you’re with a large group of people or holding a family reunion. However, most of the visitors are there for the snorkelling and scuba diving, with many of them heading over from as far away as Europe. Alexander Springs can get pretty busy at certain times of the year as it’s a popular spot for group activities. It’s especially busy during the nearby Mount Dora Arts Festival and the Daytona 500 motor race.
Overall, the well-maintained Alexander Springs Campground is a fine place to camp, hike, and backpack etc. You’ll find plenty of things to do no matter if you’re visiting on your own or with a large group of people.