The community of Salt Springs, Florida is located--as that proverbial old crow flies--about 27 miles east-northeast of Ocala.
These days the entire springs area, located in the Ocala National Forest, is now a federally operated Recreation Area offering daytime
recreation such as swimming, snorkeling, hiking, boating, and picnicing. Plus, camping facilities are available for RVs and tents.
Although fishing is not allowed in the spring, many people enjoy fishing in the four-mile spring run that empties into Lake George. In this photo
we're looking down the spring run, to the east.
The Spring Run Flows about Four Miles to Lake George
The boat launch area is on the spring run's south side, less than a mile from the Recreation Area's main entrance.
The Boat Ramp at the Marina on the Spring Run
As far as the springs themselves, their waters are only very slightly salty, having nowhere near the salinity of ocean water.
Florida's Salt Springs
Surrounded by the retaining wall you see in the picture, the springs spill forth their
mineral waters from several crevices in the rocks.
From what I could tell, most of these crevices
are around 15 feet deep.
Except for the spring crevices, the waters within the retaining wall generally are fairly shallow--maybe
two to four feet deep.
Steps on the north side of the retaining wall (that's to the left in the photo) lead down to the water, making entry
and exit as easy as getting into and out of a swimming pool.
A Look Underwater
On this winter's day, I brought my mask and snorkel (I almost always do), as well as an underwater camera to give
you a first-hand look at the springs. The 70-degree water's exhilarating rush came over me as
I got wet up to my shoulders. After just a couple of minutes or so, the initial cold feeling
turned to one of just cool delight, and I was ready to enjoy the springs.
Current in the springs is slight, and I could very easily swim against it, or float lazily downstream
whenever I chose.
The spring's waters are teeming with life. Under the surface are more
mullet--big mullet--than I ever remember seeing in one place. Besides mullet, there are shiners,
bass, some type of big sucker fish I can't identify, blue gill, and other species. Normally blue
crabs hang around near the springs but this day I didn't see any.
This underwater video I took shows you what I'm talking about:
In case you were wondering, nobody was actually playing Viennese waltz music underwater. I just used a very
cool and slick video editing trick to put that in there. :-)
Salt Springs has:
106 campsites--52 with full hookups for RVs and trailers.
Salt Springs RV Camping
The rest have no hookups,
and are presumably for tent camping. But watch out. You might have to share your campsite with
a deer, or who knows what. It's all part of the joy of the great outdoors.
A Whitetail Deer Checks Out A Campsite
Some campsites can be reserved. Others are first-come, first-served.
Full restroom facilities and hot showers.
Complete Facilities are Available
A grocery store within a mile or two of the campground.
For more information, call the Salt Springs Visitor center at 352-685-3070.