Today we spent the day with friends at Alexander Springs. This is a natural spring area that is located in the Ocala National Forest in Florida. I wanted to go to Alexander Springs because I had heard that it was a great place to swim and tube. Boy was it!
Alexander Springs is located at 49525 County Road 445 in Altoona, Florida. It is important to note that you will see signs a mile or two prior that point to the direction of Alexander Springs, but once you finally get to the destination there is no sign saying you are there. But you pull into the fee booth area and indeed you are there.
There is a lot to do at Alexander Springs, including hiking, canoeing, tent camping, swimming/tubing, snorkeling, diving, picnicking. etc. When we arrived we took the 1 mile hike on The Timucuan Trail. This is a great trail that is half boardwalk, half not boardwalk. The boardwalk part, which is probably around 1/2 mile is wheelchair and stroller accessible (although there is one point where a tree is leaning across the boardwalk, which would make it difficult to get around). But you could go back as far as possible and still see a nice view.
The Timucuan Trail is mostly shaded and there are a few stops along the way where you can look at the water. The water is awesome! It is so crystal clear. You can see all the way to the bottom and view animals. We watched fish and turtles swimming around on that stop of the hike. We also many different kind of cool mushrooms, spiders, trees, moss, dragonflies, etc. Great little hike for the kids!
After our nature walk it was the perfect time to set up near the springs and take a swim. They have bathrooms and changing areas, BBQ grills, picnic tables, benches, etc. We wanted to be closer to the water, so we set our chairs up down near the water.
Alexander Springs has 70 million gallons of crystal clear water that is pumped in each day. Amazing! The water is absolutely beautiful! Crystal clear, a chilly 72 degrees all year long, and just wonderful. I like the colder spring water. I find it to be really refreshing. We tubed over to the spring so that we could check that out. Amazing! We put goggles on and looked under the water to see a whole other world under there. It was beautiful. There were divers under there and you could see them down in the spring. During the summer months there is also a lifeguard on duty. They also have a small supplies store on site.
We picnicked, we swam, we tubed, we hiked, we had lots of fun! All the way up until several hours later when the storms rolled in and the lightning prompted a clearing of the spring. We waited around for a while to see if the storm would pass, but it hadn't, so we headed home. But what a wonderful day we had!
Across the street from the Alexander Spring entrance there is a blue-blazed trail that is part of the Florida Trail. So it provides additional hiking opportunities.
If you want to see a wonderful natural spring, check out Alexander Springs. My son absolutely loved it and kept saying that it was his "favorite place to swim" now. He fell in love with the place, as I think we all did.
At the time of writing this the park entrance fee is $5.50 per person (ages 6 and up), and $21 per night for tent camping, and there are additional fees for launching a canoe, diving, etc. You can find more info here.
Here are some pictures from our adventure at Alexander Springs today: