For the last number of years in September, generally right after school starts, we’ve headed to Rock Springs for the day. (Of course we used to camp) As the days of August wore down, we realized that our daughter was not going to be her in September, instead she’d be away at college. We also realized that since we couldn’t go to Rock Springs on a day during the week after school started, that it would be way to crowded to enjoy for a day trip. So, we found an alternative.
About an hour and a half north of Orlando is the Ocala National Forest, and there are a number of springs and recreation areas there. In the past we’ve camped at the Salt Springs area and visited some of the other springs. We decided we’d do a mid week trip to the Alexander Springs Recreation Area and check it out.
This is a federal recreation area in the Ocala National Forest, and it cost $5.50 a person to enter. Once in, there is a paved parking lot, bathrooms, and a store. The store has an air compressor outside so that you can fill up any inflatables you may have brought. It is about a 100 yard walk on a boardwalk and paved sidewalks from the parking lot down to the springs. There is also canoe rental so that you can venture out from the springs along the run. While there are some pavilions and picnic tables, we were able to find a spot under the large trees to set up.
Except for the area around the spring-head, the water was shallow enough to walk around, and deep enough to just float if that’s your desire. With the fresh spring water at a constant 72 degrees, hanging around in the spring is the best way to enjoy nature’s air conditioner and cool down in the August Florida heat. We didn’t see a ton of fish in the spring, and the clear water was great for putting on a snorkel and wandering around the spring-head. There are also a couple of walking trails that run along the banks of the springs with boardwalks through the marshy parts. Alexander Springs is a great way to enjoy the natural Florida while not overheating.
Following our three or so hours at the spring, everyone was hungry. As we left the springs, and everyone was talking about how hungry they were, I noted that if we made a left we’d be at Sparky’s in about 10 minutes. We first visited Sparky’s back in 2010, and nothing has really changed since I wrote that review. It’s still the best cheeseburger around.
We had a great “last day of summer” kind of day: Laying around the springs and eating good at Sparky’s. All the pics in the slideshow below.