Upon exiting the car, the smell of summer filled the air. At only 10:00 in the morning, the grills were lit with hamburgers and hot dogs cooking. Numerous grills and picnic tables scattered throughout the park provide ample space for those looking to spend a full day enjoying Alexander Springs Recreation Area, part of the Ocala National Forest.
After staking out a table, we gathered masks and snorkels and waded into the refreshing water. Although there were dozens of swimmers, we had the water over the spring to ourselves. Occasionally, someone would drift into the area of the head spring, but for the most part, the other swimmers were content floating on tubes or noodles.
The park has canoes and kayaks available for rent, but unlike the lines of people waiting to launch at Weeki Wachee, the boat ramp was deserted. Our plans for the day did not include padding down Alexander Run, but it would have been a great day to have the run to ourselves and perhaps even throw in a line for a little fishing.
Alexander Springs is the only place in the Ocala National Forest where scuba diving is permitted; and as we left the spring, a group of about a half dozen divers hauled their tanks to the water ready to explore.
After snorkeling in the refreshing cool spring head, we walked the short distance following the Timucaun Trail along the perimeter of the spring. The easy one mile walk was close enough to the swimming area to hear the splashing and laughter of swimmers throughout the hike. Our only encounters with wildlife were a couple of skinks, one even posed so it could be photographed, and a critter of unknown origin that splashed away in the water as we approached. John says a small gator, but I believe it may have been an otter.
Alexander Springs, a perfect place to spend a summer day, and the 13th spring we’ve visited in 2014.