I’m not sure if it’s the admission fee or signs warning about the dangers of alligators and bears that cause the biggest surprise upon entering Juniper Springs Recreation Area in the Ocala National Forest. It’s not that a $10.60 day use fee for two is excessive, but since state and county parks usually charge $5.00 per vehicle, I had to dig in my purse for some extra money, only to be greeted by a Caution and a Warning sign.
We unloaded the bikes and rode through the park checking out the campground. Over 70 large sites for RVs and tents sit in the shaded loop. Although very few sites were occupied, the ranger told us they were near capacity last weekend. Maybe the rain discouraged campers this weekend or perhaps they don’t roll in until later in the afternoon.
Only a few swimmers braved the cool waters of the spring probably due to the dark clouds that hung in the sky to the west. Before changing into swimsuits we checked out the canoe rentals, and although we arrived well before the 11:30 final departure time, the predicted rain and thunderstorms made a trip down Juniper Run something that would have to wait for another day.
One of the “to do’s” on our 14 in 14 list is to visit at least 14 of Florida’s springs this year. Our trip to Juniper Springs brings the number to eight. We were determined to swim in the spring today, but as we prepared to enter the water, the ranger cleared the spring due to an approaching storm.
- Rainbow Springs – cold rain
- Fanning, Hart, and Otter Springs – temperature in the 40s
- Blue Springs – no swimming due to the manatees
- Silver Springs – no swimming permitted
- Juniper Springs – thunderstorm
We’re not quitters! We not only will visit at least 14 springs, we will swim, canoe, or kayak and enjoy the water. Maybe Ichetucknee will be the first.