First Step: Set your reservation at Alexander Springs
Check Out: Alexander Springs Home Page, Juniper Springs Home Page
Load Directions: Google Directions Home Page Map
Day 1: Set up camp at Alexander Springs recreational campground. Alexander Spring issues vertically from a conical depression and has a large spring pool and that measures 300 ft (91 m) north to south and 258 ft (79 m) east to west. Depth is 25 ft (7.7 m). The water is clear and sky-blue. There is a large boil on the pool surface over the vent. Native aquatic grasses are plentiful. The bottom is mostly sandy with limestone outcropped near the vent with a vertical ledge running north to south near vent. There are multiple vents in a tight cluster. Thin algae patches are present on rocky substrate. High ground to the south rises gently to 12 ft (4 m) above water level. A rock wall forms the south shoreline. There is a mixed hardwood and palm forest around the spring. Alexander Spring Run flows east trending approximately 8 river miles (13 km) until reaching the St. Johns River.
Walk on over to the springs, only a short distance from your camp. Camping here offers water, but no electricity and during the summer months, this is a blessing. Native Floridians know the best swimming pools in the state are not in someone's backyard but are courtesy of Mother Nature. With a near constant year-round temperature of about 72 degrees, the tepid waters of Alexander Springs is the perfect watering hole on those swelteringFlorida summers days.
Day 2: Head on down the road to Juniper Springs and check out the sister branch of Alexander Springs. Showcasing sparkling springs in a subtropical setting, Juniper Springs is one of the oldest and best known recreation areas on the East Coast. Located between Ocala and Ormond Beach along SR 40, this complex of swimming and picnic area, campground, and trails was constructed in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The setting is unlike any other found in the
United States, with hundreds of tiny bubbling springs and massive springs gushing out of crevices in the earth beneath a dense canopy of palms and oaks, an oasis within the heart of the desert-like Big Scrub.
No paddling vacation is complete without a trip to the Juniper Springs Recreation Area, located in Florida's Ocala National Forest. The recreation area and surrounding wilderness consist of two medium sized blue springs, a seven mile spring run, fantastic RV and tent camping sites, visitor center, picnic tables, and miles of hiking trails. If you didn't bring a canoe or kayak, the US Forest Service runs a concession stand offering 15 and 17 foot aluminum canoes for rent. The Forest Service will transport you and your personal boat from the takeout to the rec area for $6 per person and $6 per boat.