Snorkeling Salt Springs in the Ocala National Forest

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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.

Girl overlooking springs snorkeling area

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.  

View of Salt Springs snorkeling area

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

large oak trees with branches coming over walkway

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.

front of general store at Salt Springs

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. 

Picnic Areas

kids standing at picnic tables in shade

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.

view of Salt Springs swimming area from restrooms

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.

girl standing on stairway into snorkeling area

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. 

woman with snorkel mask on a pool float

Having floats to rest on, makes it easier to take breaks and peek in the water, without actually going under. 

outside view of snorkeling area

There are three springs within the swimming area, so there’s plenty to explore.

snorkeling underwater view of rock formation

As you can see from lots of our under water photos, and our video, there is some pretty rough terrain.

girl in springs swimming area on pool floats

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. 

boy snorkeling into springs fissures

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. 

snorkeling boy waving to camera from deep rocky springs
large underwater rocks with sunlight reflecting up in water

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

snorkeling underwater view of fish near steps

Fish were hanging around the steps when we first entered the spring. 

blue crab walking on large underwater rocks found while snorkeling

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. 

snorkeling girl heading into water

We got back in to see if we could find him, and we did! 

hand holding blue crab claw found snorkeling

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. 

snorkeling kids in Salt Springs swimming area on pool floats

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.

snorkeling underwater view of rock formation at Salt Springs

A couple times my foot got slightly wedged between rocks. 

underwater view of  snorkeling girl kneeling on rocks overlooking deep spring

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. 

Share Our Happy!!

33 thoughts on “Snorkeling Salt Springs in the Ocala National Forest

    • July 26, 2019 at 9:58 am

      It definitely was!!

  • June 5, 2019 at 11:25 pm

    I can tell you and your family had a blast! This seems like the perfect spot to hang out with the family.

    • June 6, 2019 at 9:55 am

      We have lots of family asking to go next time they visit!!

  • June 6, 2019 at 6:53 am

    Fantastic post! Thanks so much for the in-depth look at these springs. I’m a bit new to the area and while I don’t call it home, I do plan on visiting a lot. I’ll add this to my “visit” list.

    • June 6, 2019 at 9:56 am

      Welcome to the area!! There is so much to enjoy!!

  • June 6, 2019 at 1:34 pm

    What a fun outing!! There is so much to do in that area! More people need to know about the outdoor experiences the Ocala Forest offer!! We love them!

    • June 6, 2019 at 4:43 pm

      They sure do!! I plan to keep sharing these gems!

  • July 25, 2019 at 10:56 pm

    Salt Spring looks like a lot of fun! I’ve never even heard of it. We only get to Florida every other year or so, but maybe on our next trip we can give this a try. It looks like a great way to cool off!

    • July 26, 2019 at 9:57 am

      Yes, totally worth checking out next time!

  • July 25, 2019 at 10:57 pm

    Snorkeling is so much fun! This looks like a great place to do it! And that little blue crab was cute. I’ve never seen one before. 🙂

    • July 26, 2019 at 9:57 am

      The blue crab was a nice little surprise. I had no idea they would be right in there with us.

  • July 26, 2019 at 12:43 am

    These photos are amazing! I am always so nervous about alligators in any water in FL, but these waters look so inviting.

    • July 26, 2019 at 9:56 am

      Same here!! Right in the springs is ok, but when you venture out, then I start to worry.

  • July 26, 2019 at 1:09 am

    What a cool place to go snorkeling…so pretty! Great overview on something different to do in Florida.

    • July 26, 2019 at 9:55 am

      More people need to experience them!!

  • July 26, 2019 at 6:39 am

    I typically don’t like to get my hair wet when at the beach but I would totally get it wet for this! Looks like tons of fun!

    • July 26, 2019 at 9:55 am

      I am the same way!!

  • July 26, 2019 at 8:47 am

    I lived so close to Ocala! I can’t believe I didn’t know about these springs!

    • July 26, 2019 at 9:54 am

      Same!! I’ve been here 11 years and just recently finding out there are so many!!

  • July 26, 2019 at 9:02 am

    We love to snorkel so it is fun to see tips from you! Thanks, and my kids loved seeing the underwater toilet!

    • July 26, 2019 at 9:54 am

      The toilet was a gem of a find, LOL!!

  • July 26, 2019 at 9:42 am

    We love snorkeling. And to be able to camp near snorkeling is a place we would love to visit.

    • July 26, 2019 at 9:53 am

      Perfect for you!! And even with hiking trails too!

  • July 26, 2019 at 12:34 pm

    Oh how cool! Is there camping there too? We’ll have to check this out next time we’re in the area. We’ll meet you there. 😉

    • July 27, 2019 at 12:13 pm

      Sounds good!! Yes, there is camping!

  • July 26, 2019 at 2:46 pm

    I’ve come to really appreciate the natural springs in Orlando. Those crabs are big and the water there is so clear

    • July 27, 2019 at 12:13 pm

      We are learning to appreciate them too. Can’t wait to visit another.

  • July 26, 2019 at 5:54 pm

    I love this, especially the underwater pics and videos! Payton would love this place so I am pinning it for later. I agree with the very first sentence. Being a homeschooler as well, we love to travel to places during the off season or weekdays : )

    • July 27, 2019 at 12:12 pm

      We are so close, let us know when you come down!!

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