What to do in Alexander Springs: Swimming, Hiking

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This first magnitude spring has been bringing people together for generations. With the crystal blue water that’s cool to the touch, who could resist spending the day by its shore. Exploring Alexander Springs has become one of our favorite  things to do when family and friends come to visit. Therefore, I hope this inspires you to check out more of the natural side of Florida. 

Where is Alexander Springs?

Alexander Springs is located in the southern portion of the Ocala National Forest. Which happens to be the oldest National Forest east of the Mississippi River. Also in what’s considered Central Florida, about an hour north of Orlando, and between Altoona and Astor. It’s a pretty remote area, so you won’t find stores, or gas stations too close by. 

About Alexander Springs

Alexander Springs is one of the 27 first magnitude springs in Florida, and is also considered one of the easiest to enjoy. First magnitude means the spring must release a minimum of 64.6 million gallons of water a day, or 100 cubic feet per second. Springs can range anywhere from 68 to 72 degrees, and Alexander Springs is on the warmest end at a constant 72 degrees. Refreshing, but this can also seem very chilly on a hot summer day. 

boy down underwater in Alexander Springs
My cousin diving down in Alexander Springs

Nobody knows how Alexander Springs got its name, or when it was first discovered. Although, it’s known that the Timucuan Tribe were around the spring for years. Plus there have been artifacts found along the water banks. 

Whether you’re looking to spend the day relaxing, or having an adventure, Alexander Springs offers a wide range of activities. For example, hiking, swimming, canoeing, fishing, or even camping. You can find the full list of activities on their website. 

Alexander Springs Hiking Trails

Sign and entrance to Timucuan Trail
Sign and entrance to Timucuan Trail

You can get a glimpse of the landscape where the Timucuan Tribe lived when you walk the nature trail that leads along the springs. We’ve walked the boardwalk trail, but have yet to walk the full 1.1 mile loop leading to the Timucuan ruins. Right now the boardwalk, and trail is currently closed for refurbishment. Each time we visit, we cross our fingers for it to be back open. 

Sunbathing turtles
Sunbathing turtles

You may see some wildlife when walking the trail, like turtles, geckos, raccoon, and even gators could be in the water. Most importantly, always keep an eye out for dangerous snakes, like rattlers, water moccasin, or coral. We’ve not seen any here, but that’s not to say they couldn’t be. 

Hiking overlook at Alexander Springs
Hiking overlook at Alexander Springs

If you follow the boardwalk trail, it leads to this lookout dock across the springs from the beach. The rest of the loop is a marked ground trail. 

view of Alexander Springs from hiking overlook
View of Springs from hiking overlook

Here is the view from the dock, looking back at the beach and swimming area. 

Swimming in Alexander Springs

stairway into Alexander Springs
Stairs into springs, and people sitting on chairs in the water

Two sets of steps at each end lead into the shallow water, making it easy to take your time, and help little ones. 

girls floating in Alexander Springs
My sis and I floating in Alexander Springs

You are allowed to bring your own floats to use in the water. It’s 72 degrees year-round, therefore it’s chilly to stay submerged for long periods of time. A float helps you stay in the sun, and be able to enjoy the beautiful water at the same time. It’s my favorite way to enjoy the springs.

scuba divers underwater at Alexander Springs
Scuba divers underwater at Alexander Springs

If you have snorkeling gear, you can do some underwater viewing. Out by the actual springs, it gets pretty deep, where you can dive down below. The underwater views can be quite amazing. As you swim down toward the spring, you can feel the water rushing up. The video is from our first visit to Alexander Springs, and we got lots of underwater footage of how cool it looks. 

Above water view of beach, and underwater view of springs
Above water view of beach, and underwater view of springs

Just had to share this view of both above and below the water, showing the springs, and the beach. 

small fish in springs water
Small fish in springs water

Little fish like to swim around the shallow areas, and it’s fun to watch the younger kids get all excited. 

Small shells found in Alexander Springs
Small shells found in Alexander Springs

There’s not a lot of shells, but you can muster up some smaller ones around the swimming hole, and in the water. 

Picnicking and Relaxing

Even though there’s lots of picnic tables, be prepared if you’re there on a busy summer day, as you may not get a table. If you bring your own chairs, there’s plenty of room along the water, and between tables to set up. 

Shallow end of Alexander Springs
Shallow end of Alexander Springs

Off to the left in the water is a really shallow spot where you can actually put your chairs in the water, relax, and keep cool. In addition, the tree coverage gives lots of shady area, even though on a hot summer Florida day, shade does not do much for heat relief. Only the water can save you there. 

Adventure at Alexander Springs

canoe on edge of water
Canoe launch area

Along with hiking and swimming, you also have the opportunity to rent a canoe or kayak at the concession stand. Rates are very reasonable, and subject to change, but all the information in available here.

Tips for Visiting Alexander Springs

Concession store at Alexander Springs
Concession store at Alexander Springs

You will find they have a gift shop with anything you may need while visiting.

Raccoon on sidewalk
Raccoon on sidewalk

Be cautious with your belongings, because raccoons like to roam the area, and they don’t mind getting into your belongings. As long as someone remains with your things, they should mostly stay away. We try to cover our things with towels when we walk away. Plus, the vultures can sometimes get close to the tables. 

Folding Beach Wagon
Love our folding Beach Wagon

The easiest way to carry your belongings is with a wagon. The walkway to the water from the parking lot is easily accessible for anything with wheels, or if you get the wagon with sand wheels you can pull it anywhere.

As with any body of water, keep your eyes peeled for gators. I’ve never heard of them ever being in the swimming area, but still be cautious. 

teens showing trash picked up at Alexander Springs
Josephine and her friends with the trash they cleaned up

Clean up after yourself. It makes me sad when we spend time outdoors, and end up picking trash others leave behind. We have one world, let’s take care of it together. 

Restrooms with showers can be found up by the concessions, which makes is convenient to change clothes, and clean yourself up before leaving. 

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, my favorite things about exploring Alexander Springs is its shallow water to wade in. It makes getting into the chilly water so much easier. Plus how big the swimming area is, so you can float around, and still be away from others. 

More Florida Adventures Close By:

Snorkeling in Salt Springs

Ravine Gardens State Park

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15 thoughts on “What to do in Alexander Springs: Swimming, Hiking

  • November 2, 2020 at 6:10 pm

    I had no idea this was in Florida! We are going to check it out next time we are there! Thanks for the great information!

    • November 2, 2020 at 8:43 pm

      You will not be disappointed!

  • November 2, 2020 at 7:11 pm

    That underwater view! 😍 I had never heard of Alexander Springs but it looks awesome.

    • November 2, 2020 at 8:44 pm

      There are lots of them all around Florida!

  • November 2, 2020 at 9:49 pm

    This is close enough to me for a day trip! I am going to schedule this one soon. I have never heard of Alexander Springs.

    • November 5, 2020 at 9:35 pm

      You are braver than me. I would need to stay somewhere. That’s too far for me.

  • November 3, 2020 at 1:15 am

    Alexander Springs is so pretty! And would love to go swimming in that clear water (72 sounds pretty good when you live in Minnesota)…or maybe just wade. And I’m all about hiking so would love to check out that boardwalk trail especially.

    • November 5, 2020 at 9:36 pm

      Yeah, you’ve already had some pretty cold weather this fall.

  • November 3, 2020 at 9:09 pm

    I would be looking out for gators too! But that is good that there having been any in the swimming area. 72 degrees all year long sounds nice!

    • November 5, 2020 at 9:36 pm

      I get weirded out every once in a while thinking about them being around.

  • November 4, 2020 at 1:39 pm

    It looks so clean and clear. I would love to do more travel to Florida and Alexander Springs looks gorgeous.

    • November 5, 2020 at 9:38 pm

      When you make it back, I hope you get the chance to visit some springs.

  • November 4, 2020 at 2:06 pm

    I’ve never been to Florida, but it was so interesting learning about what magnitude springs are. Alexander Springs sounds like a great place for a day or weekend trip. It’s so interesting to see and hear about the different landscape and wildlife out there compared to my home state of Colorado. Hopefully you don’t encounter any gators or poisonous snakes while wading in the water. Yikes!

    • November 5, 2020 at 9:30 pm

      I am the same way. I enjoy learning about so many places all over the USA!

  • November 8, 2020 at 5:40 pm

    Ok, I was good until you said gators. I don’t think I would be able to get them out of my mind. In any case, this looks absolutely beautiful. The water is so clear. 72 degrees sounds amazing to me.

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