15 Best Things to Do in Silver Springs, FL
Silver Springs has been a famous tourist attraction in Florida since the late 1800s.
This census-designated neighborhood north of Ocala City is 90 miles north of Orlando.
Silver Springs, which feeds into the Silver River, serves as the most extensive artesian spring worldwide.
If you're from Florida, Silver Springs is the kind of place that doesn’t need a lengthy introduction because it’s a popular tourist destination.
In addition, this small community in Marion County is the oldest tourist attraction in Florida through the Silver Springs State Park, which draws thousands of visitors yearly.
It’s known throughout Florida for its unique glass-bottom boat tours that provide visitors a magical view of the crystal-clear waters below them.
Aside from its natural beauty, Silver Springs and the adjacent city of Ocala has a rich historical background that makes this destination even more interesting to travel to.
If you’re planning to discover Silver Springs, there is plenty to do and see in this tourist destination.
From its famous glass-bottom boats and lush forests to its rich history, there are many things to discover in this place.
So, here are the 15 best things to do in Silver Springs, FL:
Wander through the Magical Silver Springs State Park
Upon arriving at Silver Springs, there’s no other attraction to visit first but the Silver Springs State Park.
This enchanted natural attraction is the largest and most loved spring worldwide.
One of the most popular activities to do there is boating and kayaking.
Once you’re there, don’t dare miss riding the glass-bottom boats that give you an awesome view of the underwater world below.
There are plenty of outdoor recreations to do in Silver Springs State Park aside from boating and kayaking.
The state park is also surrounded by historical structures that give you a detailed backstory of how this place became a popular tourist attraction in the 1800s.
The entire state park spans 4,000 acres of beautiful springs, rivers, and forests to discover.
Browse through Historical Artifacts at the Silver River Museum
The Silver River Museum situated inside the Silver Springs State Park near the campgrounds is one of the most-recommended attractions you need to visit in the area.
If you’re fascinated by Florida’s natural wonders and history, this museum is the best place you need to visit.
This museum has a vast exhibit featuring prehistoric remains of animals dating back 12,000 years.
In addition, the Silver River Museum also houses a collection of Florida’s cultural and natural history, including artifacts from the Native Americans that once ruled this state.
Overall, the Silver River Museum is a fascinating place to visit in Silver Springs that are both educational and highly interesting.
Do Stand Up Paddleboard at Ray Wayside Park
If you’re looking for an exciting waterborne activity in Silver Springs, head to Ray Wayside Park, a popular destination for stand-up paddle (SUP) boarding activities.
The entire Ray Wayside Park has a lake that gives you access to the Silver River from the other end of the Silver Springs State Park.
If you’ve drifted way off the starting point, the park’s staff will whisk you back safely.
If you’re worried if the stream is too strong, Silver River is known for its calm streams, perfect for this kind of waterborne activity.
Overall, your experience there will let you appreciate even more the beauty of nature.
Ride a Glass Bottom Boat
Your visit to Silver Springs won’t be complete without hopping on the classic glass-bottom boat that’s been the standard way to tour through Silver Springs since the 1800s.
Instead of the usual solid-colored boats and canoes, the people who managed Silver Springs State Park came up with a clever idea to see the water below.
They replaced the boat’s bottom with reinforced glass.
With this idea, people marvel at the beauty of Silver Springs even more.
You’ll be exploring the area and seeing various species of fish and local wildlife on the riverside.
Traverse the Creek Trail
At the back of the Black Bear Pavilion in Ocala is where you’ll find the Creek Trail, an out-and-back trail that loops around the Silver River.
The entire trail covers roughly 2.3-miles that highlights the lush forested area of the Silver Springs State Park.
Further down the trail, you will discover other trail systems, such as the Sinkhole Trail and other natural attractions.
During your hike, you will come across various wildlife in the area, such as exotic birds, small reptiles, and the rhesus macaques.
The hike is fairly easy regardless of the hiking experience.
Overall, it’s a must-hike trail for those who want to explore the Silver Springs State Park from a different perspective.
Step Back in Time at the Cracker Village
The Cracker Village is a fascinating historical attraction in Silver Springs State Park that serves as a replica of the 18th-century settlement of the area’s pioneers.
Since it’s open to the public, you should seize the moment to discover the life of pioneers back in the day.
The entire village has numerous homesteads and cabins, along with essential buildings like blacksmiths, schoolhouses, a smokehouse, and a barn which the pioneers used back in the day.
The Cracker Village is adjacent to the Silver River Museum, so it would be convenient to head there after you’re done visiting the latter.
Experience the Thrill of the Ocala Escape
A few minutes' drive from Silver Springs takes you to the popular escape room called Ocala Escape along E Silver Springs Blvd.
Like most escape rooms, this one in Ocala gives guests an hour to escape its puzzling challenges depending on the story path they’re choosing.
It’s an exciting place to bring friends or family and work as a team to solve the puzzles before time runs out.
The Ocala Escape features three immersive and highly-engaging escape room experiences for those who dare to take on the challenge.
If you’re in Silver Springs, it would be awesome to experience the thrill and fun at this place, especially with your loved ones.
Children ages nine and above can join the escape room adventure as long as they’re accompanied by their guardian or parents.
For an exciting experience while visiting Silver Springs, head to the Ocala Escape.
Appreciate Art Masterpieces at the Appleton Museum of Art
Less than a mile from Ocala Escape along E. Silver Springs Boulevard is the Appleton Museum of Art.
This art museum which opened in 1987, is a great place to visit whether you’re an art enthusiast or a casual tourist.
Immerse yourself into the astonishing artworks from various local and well-known artists from Central Florida.
It features more than 24,000 artworks from objects, sculptures, and landscapes displayed through its exhibits.
The entire museum spans 81,610 square feet, which is a great place to visit and pass the time while visiting Silver Springs.
If you’re looking for a bit of a detour on your Silver Springs travel adventure, visit the Appleton Museum of Art.
Enjoy the Outdoors at the Jervey Gantt Recreation Complex
This 63-acre community park in Ocala is another outdoor destination in the city near Silver Springs that you should visit.
This park is where most locals do outdoor activities like sports and other recreation since it's situated within residential and commercial areas.
Aside from outdoor sports and recreation, you can take a dip at its swimming pool with your family or perhaps hike at its trails.
There are many fun-filled outdoor activities you can enjoy at the Jervey Gantt Recreation Complex, which is why it’s worth visiting while you’re in Silver Springs.
Find Out the History of the Fort King National Historic Landmark
The Fort King National Historic Landmark in Ocala was built in 1827 after Colonel William King’s name.
Colonel King led the Fourth Infantry during the Second Seminole War in the 1800s and used this historic landmark as their headquarters.
In 2004, the vast majority of this historical site was turned over to the local government ownership to preserve its historical value.
Today, the Fort King National Historic Landmark still stands firmly, which the public can visit.
When you’re in Silver Springs, it would be great to check out this old wooden fort to learn the compelling history of the Seminole Wars.
You can also proceed to its visitor’s center, where you’ll find an archeology center and a library.
Immerse Yourself with Nature at the Silver Springs Forest Conservation Area
The Silver Springs Forest Conservation Area is nestled between business and residential areas adjacent to the Silver River State Park.
Despite its proximity to these urban locations, the Silver Springs Forest Conservation Area maintained its solitude and natural beauty.
With that in mind, it’s a beautiful place to immerse yourself in nature.
The Silver Springs Forest Conservation Area has two trail systems perfect for hiking and nature viewing.
In addition, you can also do biking, horseback riding, fishing, and limited hunting at the Silver Springs Forest Conservation Area.
If you want to further explore the natural features of Central Florida, the Silver Springs Forest Conservation Area is the best place to go.
Learn the Past of the East Hall
The East Hall or the former Florida Industrial School for Girls has a historical value in Marion County and Ocala.
This redbrick building, situated along Southeast 26th Terrace in Ocala, was designed by Frank Parzaile in 1915 for delinquent female youth in the region.
The National Register of Historic Places listed the East Hall on its record in 1995 to preserve its historical value in Ocala.
Today, you can learn its past and historical relevance to Ocala and Marion County since it is now the Marion County Museum of History and Archaeology.
If you’re planning to visit more historical sites in Silver Springs, this museum is a fascinating place worth visiting.
Hike through Marshall Swamp Trailhead
South of Silver Springs takes you to the Marshall Swamp Trailhead, which offers you another hiking opportunity that takes you to the lush forested areas of Marion County.
It’s an excellent place to appreciate the beauty of nature as you're hiking through thickly forested areas that teem with wildlife.
The entire trail inside the Marshall Swamp stretches for about three miles.
In addition, the trail is a dog-friendly outdoor destination, so you can bring your fur buddy with you during the hike.
Moreover, it also has picnic pavilions and tables at the trailhead for convenience.
If you have extra energy for some more hiking in Silver Springs, check out the Marshall Swamp Trailhead.
Wander through the Indian Lake State Forest
North of Silver Springs takes you to the 4,466-acre Indian Lake State Forest known for its deep sinkhole lake that drains into its aquifer.
The Indian Lake State Forest is currently managed by the Florida Forest Services, which also serves as an outdoor recreational destination in Silver Springs.
Before heading home, it would be awesome to do outdoor activities one last time at the Indian Lake State Forest.
This place is also well-known hiking, bird-watching, nature viewing, and horseback riding destination in Silver Springs.
It has a 2.6-mile trail for hiking and horseback riding that ultimately takes you to the Silver River Forest Conservation Area.
Overall, the Indian lake State Forest is a great place to do outdoor activities to wrap up your Silver Springs travel adventure.
Do Outdoor Activities at the Coehadjoe Park
The Coehadjoe Park in Ocala once served as a home for more than 450 White Seminole Indians in the 1800s.
The park was named after a Seminole Chief, Coe Hadjo, who inhabited the area in the early 1800s.
Today, it’s a popular outdoor recreation destination in Silver Springs and Ocala.
Locals and visitors spend their time at this park enjoying various outdoor activities and sports.
The park has numerous sports facilities such as basketball, volleyball, pickleball, tennis, and racquetball courts.
In addition, it also has walking trails, pavilions, and picnic areas, making it an excellent place to bond with your friends or family.
On its northern portion lies an old Indian burial ground which signifies the historical relevance of this park.
So, whenever you’re looking for a nice place to have a picnic or play sports, just head to Coehadjoe Park.
Silver Springs is more than its famous glass-bottom boats; it’s a magical place worthy of your time and energy.
It’s a haven for outdoor and nature enthusiasts with many natural wonders and interesting historical places to discover.
With so many outdoor activities in Silver Springs, there is something incredible for those who want to explore this natural wonder in Florida.
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