National Forest: Ocala National Forest

Nearest major town or city: Silver Springs, Florida

While wandering through the desert-like Big Scrub throughout the Ocala National Forest, you may be dreaming of crystal clear waters and cool shade. If you make your way to the Juniper Springs Recreation Area, you’ll find it’s not a mirage. This palm- and oak-covered oasis offers pristine swimming areas that are refreshing to both the body and the eyes.

Constructed in the 1930s and just as beautiful today, the Juniper Springs trails will lead you right to scenic springs that must be seen to be believed. While these springs aren’t ripe for swimming like the due to ecological concerns, feel free to sit on the banks and watch the plant life sway in the breeze above the vibrant blue water.

For canoers, the 7-mile waterway down Juniper Run is a perfect opportunity to explore the region. Keep your eyes peeled for animal inhabitants including alligators, turtles, deer, and even less common species like river otters and American eels.

Learn more and plan your visit:

National Forest Foundation