Silver Lake Recreation Area

Area Status: Open

Beach with man and woman on left watching children play in clear water with trees and blue skies in

Visitors most often come to the largest recreation area on the Apalachicola National Forest to swim off the 250-foot white sand beach, walk the mile-long interpretive trail or picnic at one of 45 picnic tables, each of which comes with an individual grill. This family-friendly destination just outside Tallahassee is ideal for a family day of fun in the sun!


  • Non-motorized boats float on the 15-acre lake angling for largemouth bass, brim or catfish. The landscape is a mostly longleaf pine and hardwood hammock forest.


  • Fish from banks of the lake, which are accesible in many spots via the hiking trail. 

Nature Watching

  • Bald eagles and songbirds are at home in this longleaf pine forest that also makes room for cypress, tupelo trees, turkey oak and palmettos. Rare species of plants and animals can be found at Silver Lake, but the observant visitor is more likely to see turtles, alligators, bears, turkeys and armadillos.
  • Silver Lake is in the Munson Sandhills, which are composed of deep dry sands that have accumulated over limestone. Because the sand absorbs rainfall so completely, wetlands are relatively rare in this part of the forest. In places, the limestone dissolves and collapses, forming the depressions and ponds, lakes and sinkholes that are common in the area.

Walk the Trail

  • The gentle one-mile loop Silver Lake Trail circles the lake.

At a Glance

Operational Hours: Day use only
Fees: $5 per vehicle. Separate fee for OHVs. See our OHV web page for more information on OHV passes and fees.
Usage: Medium
  • No alcohol allowed
  • Only non-motorized boats are allowed on the lake.

General Information


The picnic area is accessible.


From I-10 to Tallahassee

  • Go through the intersection of State Highways 263 and 20.
  • Follow SR 20 west approximately 4 miles, then south onto County Road 260.
  • Go about 4 miles and turn left at the Silver Lake sign.

General Notes:


  • Bathhouse with showers
  • Boat ramp
  • Drinking water
  • Parking
  • Picnic tables with grills (45)
  • Toilets (flush)
  • Year-round host lives at the site

Licenses and Passes


  • Boating in the National Forests in Florida is regulated by the state of Florida. Please visit our boating web page before you grab your personal floatation device and head out onto the water.  


Vehicles allowed on Apalachicola OHV trails

  • Licensed vehicles registered with the state, legal on public roads. Display metal license plate with serially numbered validation decal. Carry registration certificate.
  • Off-highway vehicles (OHVs) includes all terrain vehicles (ATVs) or off highway motorcycles (OHMs) not registered or licensed for use on public roads.
  • Recreational off highway vehicles (ROVs) includes motorized vehicles 60 inches or less in width, dry weight 1,500 pounds or less, four non-highway tires, non-straddle seating, steering wheel, manufactured for recreation use by one or more persons.

Roads / trails and vehicles allowed

  • Numbered roads
    • Open to licensed vehicles only.
    • No OHVs except on mixed-use roads.
    • Low maintenance roads have vertical numbers on brown fiberglass posts.
    • Higher maintenance roads have horizontal numbers on wood posts.
  • Unumbered roads
    • Not open for motor vehicle use (licensed or unlicensed).
  • Mixed-use roads
    • Open to both licensed and unlicensed vehicles.
  • Liberty County
    • Marked by brown fiberglass posts, the road number (3 digits) and a Jeep symbol.
    • These are unmaintained system roads for 4x4 and ATV use during hunting season.
    • No permit required.
  • Leon County
    • Parts of the OHV trail system are on numbered roads.
    • These mixed use roads (30 mph speed limit) have both licensed and unlicensed vehicles.
    • Marked with yellow or white posts, the road number (3 digits). and a Jeep symbol.
    • Mixed use is allowed on numbered roads from one section of OHV trail to another, not the full length of the road.
  • OHV trails--only in Leon County
    • Only OHVs allowed with required OHV pass.
    • Travel is two way on all trails.
    • Trails marked with yellow or white fiberglass posts and trail number (1 or 2 digits) and ATV or motorcycle symbol.
      • Yellow OHV trails allows ATVs, ROVs and motorcycles (55 miles)
      • White OHV trails allows motorcycles only (56 miles)

Please drive safely. Be considerate of other users. Stay on trails.

Call 850-576-5205, ext. 6611 to report missing or damaged road or trail numbers.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Lake and Pond Fishing

Recreation areas with activity Lake and Pond Fishing:

Day Hiking

Recreation areas with activity Day Hiking:

Viewing Wildlife

Recreation areas with activity Viewing Wildlife:

Viewing Scenery

Recreation areas with activity Viewing Scenery:

OHV Trail Riding

Recreation areas with activity OHV Trail Riding:


Recreation areas with activity Picnicking:

Boating - Non-Motorized

Recreation areas with activity Boating - Non-Motorized:


Recreation areas with activity Swimming:

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


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