One of the perks to homeschooling, is visiting busy places during the week. We had a fun time snorkeling Salt Springs in the Ocala National Forest, so enjoy some tips from our experience.
The Ocala National Forest has separated us from our oldest daughter over the past 2 years, so we’ve had countless drives through Salt Springs. Driving past Salt Springs Recreation Area, we had planned to make it a meeting point to hang out.
Our college girl has had such a crazy schedule, we finally took the opportunity to meet up with her, before schools were out for summer.
Lots of friends have shared how much they love Salt Springs, and many claim it to be their favorite spring. Therefore, we were pretty anxious to check it out for ourselves. Especially since we had just visited Alexander Springs for the first time, and loved it!!
Parking At Salt Springs
There are two parking lots for the springs, and we parked in the south lot. We found a couple shaded parking spots, and had enough of us to carry our things down. But next time I would bring my beach wagon for sure. From the south lot, you have to cut through a dirt path to get to the sidewalks, and restrooms.
The north lot is by their general store, which has snacks, snorkel gear, floats, and more. Be sure to check operating hours, because they closed at 3:00pm the day we were there.
It was nice to see there weren’t many people at the springs when we got there. They have paved areas with picnic tables, grills, and lots of shade.
Or there is plenty of green grassy area to have a blanket picnic.
Snorkeling Salt Springs
Salt Springs gets its name due to the salinity of water from the amounts of potassium, magnesium, and sodium.
We headed down to the water, and were excited to try out our new snorkeling equipment. I have to say, I was pretty proud of myself for how quickly I got in the chilly water. It’s really not my thing.
Having floats to rest on, makes it easier to take breaks and peek in the water, without actually going under.
There are three springs within the swimming area, so there’s plenty to explore.
As you can see from lots of our under water photos, and our video, there is some pretty rough terrain.
Most of the rocks are very slippery, so it’s tough to just walk around. Therefore, it’s another good reason to bring some floats to help you keep your balance, and move around.
The kids had fun swimming down to the deep areas. It’s tougher than it looks when the water is flowing back up. Be careful, because the strong current can push you into the rocks around.
On our videos, I love the way sunlight was reflecting back, so it looked like the light was coming from the deep water.
Josephine was silly, sitting on the “under water toilet seat.”
What Else We Found Snorkeling
Fish were hanging around the steps when we first entered the spring.
During one of our breaks from the water, we walked around the spring to take so photos, and there was a blue crab walking around in the shallow water, near the corner spring.
We got back in to see if we could find him, and we did!
Sadly, we even found some parts of other blue crabs.
Away from the springs, in the swimming area, it’s really shallow and perfect for little kids to play. You can find lots of shells.
Tips & Reminders
This is Florida, so be sure and bring your sunscreen. Insect repellant is always good to have on hand too. We’ve lived here 11 years, and this is our first year dealing with yellow flies. They bite, and it stings a little, then itchy days later. Peak season for them is April – June, so it may, or may not be an issue. And we had no problem with them while in the water.
I chose to wear water shoes, and I’m happy I did. They didn’t necessarily help with the slippery rocks, but when I did slide off, I was happy I had shoes on to protect my feet.
A couple times my foot got slightly wedged between rocks.
No one else wore shoes in the water and they were fine, so it really is a preference.
What Else You Should Know
Park is open from 8:00am to dusk
Entry costs $6.50 per person
Canoe and boat rentals are available at Salt Springs Marina
There are NO lifeguards on duty
Snorkeling Salt Springs is something we look forward to doing again! Have you visited any springs in Florida?
Looking for more outdoor fun?
You can hike on the Salt Springs Observation Trail
Check out Ravine Gardens State Park, about 30 minutes north of Salt Springs.
Full Hook Up Campsites are available, and you can read more about camping at Salt Springs from Janet, and her experience.