Juniper Springs, photo of the blue water spring

Travel Guide for Visiting Juniper Springs- Everything You Need to Know

You have probably seen photos of the crystal blue waters of Juniper Springs and picturesque landscape without realizing it was a little oasis located in Ocala, Florida.

For most Floridians, Juniper Springs is one of the most popular springs to cool down in and there are a lot of activities you can do in and around the springs. Such as hiking, swimming, kayaking, camping, and more!

We’re excited to get into our travel guide for visiting Juniper Springs, so let’s get into it!

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About Juniper Springs

Juniper Springs is one of the oldest recreation spots on the east coast. It’s located in the Ocala National Forest in the city of Ocala. 

The springs are about a 1-hour drive from Daytona Beach and a 1 and a half-hour drive from Orlando. So, if you are visiting one of these cities, you should definitely take a day trip to Juniper Springs!

Juniper Springs sits between Ocala and Ormond Beach and is a gorgeous natural area to visit. Juniper Springs is made with 13 million gallons of natural spring water and was developed back in the 1930s.

There is a large variety of things you can do at Juniper Springs Recreation Area where you’ll find camping, hiking, swimming, and hundreds of springs that range from tiny to huge.

This little Florida oasis and is perfect for those looking for outdoor adventure!

Things to Do

Swimming/ Snorkeling

The water is cool, clear, and refreshing, and Juniper Springs. Visitors are welcome to go cool off and go swimming in the springs of Ocala National Forest and even bring along snorkeling gear if they want to see the small fish swimming around in the water below.

The water is crystal-clear so you may not even need any snorkeling gear if you aren’t looking to get a really close look at the fish.

Year-round the water stays between 68º – 72º Farhenheit. When you’re visiting this national forest make sure you know where you can and cannot swim.  

Hiking

In the Juniper Springs Recreation Area, you’ll find the statewide Florida Trail. It passes through the state park and hikers can walk along it through the Juniper Prairie Wilderness and the Big Scrub along Farles Prairie.

You can also go for a hike on the Florida Trail which is an easy 10-mile hike. Or you can walk along the Juniper Springs Natural Trail which is an easy 1.4-mile hike. 

Camping 

You can also go camping when visiting the park. The Juniper Springs Campground is one of the more popular campgrounds in Ocala National Forest for a variety of reasons.

The campground is surrounded by the natural beauty of Juniper Springs and also offers a lot of shade for campers. The campsite is right by everything you can do while in Juniper Springs.

You’ll have easy access to picnicking, canoeing, snorkeling, hiking, and bird or wildlife watching. 

Canoeing/Kyaking

In the Juniper Springs Recreation Area, you’ll also be able to go canoeing or kayaking down Juniper Run. You can bring your own canoe or kayak or you can rent a canoe from the concessionaire in the park. They also offer a $12 haul-back service to take your canoe or kayak and you back to Juniper Springs.

Juniper Run is a seven-mile-long stretch of water that will take you along the Juniper Prairie Wilderness. While floating down Juniper Run you may get the opportunity to see some wildlife, such as alligators making their way through the shallows or otters enjoying their day. 

Picnic

There are also multiple picnic tables. You can bring a picnic with you and eat it in the park or buy food from the canteen in the park. No alcohol is allowed and make sure you leave the park better than you found it. 

Where to Stay

Homewood Suites by Hilton Ocala

juniper springs, photo of outside of the best western hotel
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Residence Inn Marriott Ocala 

Juniper Springs, photo of the outside of the Residence Inn hotel
Photo Courtesy of Expedia.com

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Sleep Inn and Suites

juniper springs, photo of the outside of Sleep Inn and Suites hotel
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Click here to see more hotels!

Wrapping Up 

Juniper Springs is a popular recreational spot in the Ocala National Forest. It’s not too far from a few popular cities in Florida and is an excellent spot to take a day trip to!

There are a number of things you can do when visiting the springs, along with swimming, visitors can hike, kayak, have a picnic, camp, etc.

Overall, it’s a fun way to cool off from the hot Florida sun and a great place to spend your day! 

For more info on Juniper Springs visit the Ocala national Forest website here!

FAQs 

How much does it cost to get into Juniper Springs?

The entrance fee on weekdays is $7 +tax/per person and on weekends it is $10+tax/per person. If you are bringing your own Kayak or Canoe it costs $10 per watercraft to launch it into Juniper Run.

Can you swim at Juniper Springs?

Yes, you can go swimming and snorkeling in designated swimming springs. 

Are there alligators in Juniper Springs?

Yes, there are alligators around the Juniper Springs Recreation Area. There usually isn’t an issue with the alligators getting close to people, just make sure you are swimming in designated swimming areas and using common sense when visiting the Ocala National Park.