Just for Kids

Swimming area at Alexander SpringsThe Ocala National Forest is full of places where families can play together in the outdoors. In the summer, swimming and snorkeling in our springs means coming face-to-face with fish and, at Juniper Springs, American eels. In the cooler months, there are lots of trails to wander, ride, and paddle.

Family adventures in the Ocala National Forest

Let your parents know where you want to play outdoors in the Ocala National Forest! Here are some adventures you can enjoy as a family.

See Fern Hammock Springs. You can't swim in this bubbly place (although you can swim at Juniper Springs at the other end of the nature trail), but the burps and blobs and tiny sandstorms underwater are fun to watch.

Find the Spring Boils. This is another spot where tiny bubbles push water to the surface and create a little creek. If you read the book The Yearling, you'll discover that this is where Jody played with his fluttermill along the spring run.

Go in search of giants. Walk back to an ancient forest along Salt Springs Run and see some of the tallest cypress you'll see in a National Forest.

Ride the Fort Gates Ferry across the St. Johns River. It's pretty small and the river is just wide enough that along the ride, you can watch for manatees and diving anhingas.

Photograph the fish. Take an underwater disposable camera with your mask, snorkel, and fins to Alexander Springs to get some most excellent photos of fish darting around the springs.

There are many. many more family adventures to enjoy in the Ocala National Forest. See our Recreation section for more ideas!

Learn more about YOUR outdoors!