A part of the fabric of everyday life for thousands of people who live in communities inside and around its boundaries, the Ocala National Forest is a significant public resource for residents and visitors alike.
Deer hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, horseback riding, and canoeing are all traditional uses that continue to this day, along with more modern additions such as OHV trails.
Dispersed Camping: Many enjoy the solitude and primitive experience of dispersed camping - camping away from developed campgrounds and other campers. However, no services and little to no facilities are provided. Additional responsibilities and skills may be necessary for a successful trip, and it is your responsibility to know your limits and abilities before you try this experience. Camping rules and regulations apply; they make your experience safe and they keep Forest settings scenic and unspoiled for fellow campers.
The new Interactive Visitor Map is a work in progress. We will continue to update it with additional information as it becomes available. The map currently includes information for most National Forest recreation sites and roads.
There are only 27 first-magnitude springs in Florida, and Alexander Springs is by far one of the easiest for visitors to enjoy. A broad and naturally gently sloped spring pool becomes a natural water park when visitors come to picnic, swim, and play. The water is a constant 72°F and extraordinarily clear. Ripples play across the sand bottom as small fish dart about. Surrounded by a floodplain forest of maples, sweetgum, and cabbage palms, this recreation area feels almost tropical.
Salt Springs Recreation Area is one of the recreational jewels of the Ocala National Forest. The recreation area is located in the lush, semi-tropical setting of central Florida. Within the recreation area is a natural spring rising from vertical fissures (cracks) from deep within the earth. The presence of potassium, magnesium and sodium salts give the waters in the spring a slight salinity. Hence the name Salt Springs.
Showcasing sparkling springs in a subtropical setting, Juniper Springs is one of the oldest and best known recreation areas on the East Coast. Located between Ocala and Ormond Beach along SR 40, this complex of swimming and picnic area, campground, and trails was constructed in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The setting is unlike any other found in the United States, with hundreds of tiny bubbling springs and massive springs gushing out of crevices in the earth beneath a dense canopy of palms and oaks, an oasis within the heart of the desert-like Big Scrub.
As the sun shines, rainbows play across the bottom of the crystal-clear spring basin at Silver Glen Springs, a beautiful spot along the edge of the Big Scrub of the Ocala National Forest, with a spring run that pours out into Lake George, the largest of the St. Johns River Chain of Lakes, north of Astor. Both a popular day use recreation area and an important archaeological site, Silver Glen Springs showcases the delicate balance necessary between enjoyment of the outdoors and preservation of irreplaceable resources.
The Ocala North OHV Trail System offers 125 miles of trail which includes a 14 mile motorcycle-only trail; 35 miles of trail usable by motorcycles, all terrain vehicles (ATVs), and utility vehicles (UTVs) less than 50 inches wide; and 76 miles classified as "mixed use," which means OHVs share the trail with licensed vehicles.