Silver Glen Springs is another cerulean pool tucked away in the Ocala National Forest. The spring resides next to Lake George, which is fed by the St. John River. You have probably seen photos and videos of the large school of striped bass that hang out at the base of the spring swim area. Another iconic nature feature is a palm tree that seems to literally grow out of the crystal waters. But…there is much more to experience at this social media famous spring.
Swimming at Silver Glen Springs
On the other side of the rope, there are boats that have come in from Lake George to park and hang out near the spring. If you want to do a little paddling, you will drop-in your watercraft to the left side of the spring, on the other side of the swim area rope. There are kayaks and canoes for rent, but there are very few, so get there early. The cost ranges from $20.00-$45.00 for rentals. There is no drop-in fee if you bring your own watercraft. Boat traffic, for those paddling, is much heavier on the weekends. Among the boats is a barge with food and drinks for purchase, so keep some cash on hand. You can enjoy the paddle down Silver Glen Run to where it meets Lake George. Right at the opening of the lake is a group of small islands. At the furthest one, you are able to pull up and park your vessel to enjoy the serenity of a private island with unobstructed views.
Another paddle option is to follow the small tributary towards the opposite side where you drop-in. The water starts off a bit murky from the churning of the rich soil below, eventually becoming clearer. A little ways down, it becomes too shallow to bring a watercraft. If you have rope or bungee cables you can tie it up to the fence post. Making your way through the water and over tree limbs, you will begin to see various sand boils. Most are quite large. You can step into them feeling suspended in space and sand. A little reminder that this is the water from the Florida aquifers that lie underground bubbling up through the sand boils. You can continue down the water-led path until a wooden boardwalk lookout comes into view. The group of sand boils here is known collectively as Jody's Spring. Back at the park area, you can walk the path known as the Spring Boils Trail to arrive at this collection of bubbling springs. It is a very short trail, less than a mile round trip.
If you are wanting to do some more serious hiking, Lake George Trail is the path for you. Beginning at Silver Glen Springs leading you to Lake George. The journey is a little over 2 miles round trip. The dirt path will guide you through a Florida forest of oaks with Spanish moss dangling from its limbs, palmettos, cedars, and traditional wetland shrubbery. You will arrive at several stunning look out points along Lake George.
You will see houseboats parked just outside the swim area on the river. You can actually stay on these houseboats. Located in Deland is the Holly Bluff Marina. They have houseboats for rent that you can then sail up the Saint John River to Lake George to Silver Glen Run.
Because Silver Glen Springs is connected to the St. John River, in the winter months, there is a chance to see Florida’s favorite winter guest, the manatee. Technically only at King's Bay can you swim with the manatees. But here at Silver Glen, like Blue Springs, you can view and gaze upon the gentle sea cow from your watercraft.
If you are looking to swim with the manatees, Florida Springs Passport Holders receive an EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT on Manatee Dive & Tour at Hunter Springs Kayaks and Tours. Click HERE for more information.
For facilities, there aren’t any brick-and-mortar restrooms, only port-a-potties. They do check coolers when entering the park, no alcohol is allowed while on the state park grounds. There are grills and picnic tables if you want to bring food to grill or set up for an enjoyable lunch. Entrance fee is $8.00 per person on the weekdays, and $11.00 on the weekends.
Striped Bass | Blue Gill | Largemouth Bass | Red Bellied Cooter Turtle | Manatees
Go and visit Silver Glen Springs, this spring is so much more than an Instagram story. For more information on other Springs inside the Ocala Nation Forest, head over to our next blog: 5 Springs to EXPLORE in the Ocala National Forest