Silver Springs State Park

Mark Kosinski
Landscape and Nature Photographer

In June of last year we took a day trip to the Ocala area. I had been looking at the State Parks web site and in particular Silver Springs. The springs actually refer to a group of artesian springs and a historic tourist attraction. In the early to mid 1800's it began attracting vistors from across the United States. In the mid 1870's glass bottom boat tours began. In the 1920s, W. Carl Ray and W.M. "Shorty" Davidson, after leasing the land from Ed Carmichael (upon whose death the springs were left to the University of Florida), developed the land around the headwaters of the Silver River into an attraction that eventually became known as Silver Springs Nature Theme Park. The attraction featured native animal exhibits, amusement rides, and 30 or 90-minute glass-bottom boat tours of the springs. In 2013, the State of Florida took over operations of Silver Springs and combined it with the adjacent Silver River State Park to form the new Silver Springs State Park.
Walking is very easy within the park as almost all of the foot paths are either boardwalks or paved paths. The springs themselves are very beautiful and easily described as breathtaking. We walked the paths directly behind the information booth.
The boardwalks appear extremely well maintained and a good many of them look new. They extend well into the springs and provide very nice vantage points.
One of my favorite photographs I took while at the springs. I took this directly from the boardwalk.
There are 3 entrances to the park. The main entrance has a large paved parking lot, the camping entrance and the equestrian entrance. There are boat rides and canoes available. There are also facilities for dining and large reception facilities.
This is one of those places that you should place on your bucket list of places to visit in Florida. The charm, visually stunning beauty and opportunity to relax and enjoy Florida are all here. We will make more trips to this place.