With over 700 Springs in the State, why choose Alexander?
Florida has become a theme park staple, but those who know it best enjoy native Florida and it’s natural resources. Florida is home to the largest collection of fresh water springs on earth, over 700. Most are located in North or Central Florida. Year round they remain 68 - 72°. But how can you know where to begin or how to enjoy these wonders?
How does the aquifer create all of these springs?
Rains and freshwater over the years formed tunnels and cavities, collecting in what would become a giant reservoir. In some areas, where the crust is thin, the water bubbles to the surface.
First, location, location, location!
If you were coming to Florida for other reasons such as Orlando, or the beach you can find a spring close to you. All of them are beautiful while they each have a bit of a different vibe, the unique features draw the crowd. Located inside of Ocala National Forest, this is Old Florida at it's best.
Alexander Spring is centrally located about an hour north of Orlando, and 40 minutes west of Ormond Beach. The closest town to it is a small little village called Astor. For planning purposes you will want to stock up your cooler or grab your picnic lunch before arriving in this area as there is not much offered locally. That is part of the beauty of this very remote place.
While some springs fill to capacity early, we tend to avoid such hot spots as Wekiwa Springs, Ginny springs, and even Weeki Wachee because the crowd can sometimes take away from the nature. We do love the mermaid show at Weeki Wachee, and it’s fun loop to circle in your tube. Jenny Springs is definitely the place you want to go with your college buddies and party. And Wekiwa Spring is so centrally located that it’s an easy draw, all of these are worth a visit. They are all a great experience. Another favorite is Rainbow Springs. Further north and west, their set up is unique in that you can rent a tube, float and then be right back to your car! The amazing colors and tubing voyage is one of a kind. Each Spring has it's own characteristics making it special. Weekends and summer days all springs are likely to fill up, so factor timing into your planning.
~~Everything you need to know about Alexander~~
Entry Fee: $7.00 per person. Weekends = $10.00 per person.
Hours: Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily; may close earlier seasonally.
Parking: The parking lot is pretty compact and there is not a lot of walking from your car to the spring. The grassy area in between is a great place to find your spot and set up. The earlier you get there the closer you will be to the spring itself.
Campground Fees: $28 per campsite per night; $8.50 per extra vehicle per night (after two vehicles on campsite);
What to bring:
Pack a cooler and Any other items you will need to make this day fantastic. I have seen people pack tents, and any variety of lounge chairs, and floats you can imagine. There are small grill stations set up allowing people to cook and the smell of barbecue will make you wish you had some if you don’t. If you grab enough charcoal, lighter fluid, and tinfoil you can do some thing mid day to feed your party and stay a little longer. Bring snorkels, goggles, sunscreen, and maybe bug spray. Towels, and flip flops.
Crystal clear and beautiful! Somewhere between the beautiful turquoise color, the refreshing cool temperature, and the serene wooded area you will find total zen! Even with the kids playing and people playing music it’s like a little break from reality. It’s beautiful. If you float right over the actual spring itself you can see the water coming up through the rocks in the ground.
Bring goggles and a snorkel for the full affect!
The swimming hole itself is not huge, it has ropes on either end to designate a safer place to stay. This is central Florida. There are gators. And bears...
I feel this is a great half a day.
There is no playground, the earth is the play ground!
There is a concession stand (closed now - covid), public restrooms with showers and changing areas. They were very clean in my encounters.
Alexander Springs is a first-magnitude spring from which over 64 million gallons of crystal clear spring water flows ever day. The water is a refreshing 72 degrees year-round and is very clear. The spring has multiple boils and the area has a sandy bottom. The depth of the swimming area varies from knee/waist level on the periphery (perfect for young children) to around 30' at its deepest point. There are a few sets of steps into the Spring, and a launch area off to the side for those entering with kayaks or canoes. Many people dive, snorkel and explore the bottom area as there is a lot of cool rock and great There is no playground but a concession stand, public restrooms with showers and changing areas.
My recommendation: Get there earlyish and enjoy the morning wild life. Birds and fish are especially visible earlier in the day. You may see turtles, alligators, otter, and bald eagle. Get your area set up and then hang out in the spring floating, swimming, maybe playing beach ball or frisbee and breathing the clean air. Enjoy a picnic lunch, BBQ or subs, what ever ends up being best. Then camp out for a few hours. Enjoy being. Hike the trails, or rent a canoe or kayak the afternoon. This is a great way to see more of the beauty of the world.
Timucuan trail was closed while we were there, but the 0.9-mile loop through an excellent representation of habitats found in and around the Big Scrub. It references the people who once lived along the shores of Alexander Spring.
Our memories there are priceless.
A growing body of research points to the beneficial effects that exposure to the natural world has on health, reducing stress and promoting healing. Now, policymakers, employers, and healthcare providers are increasingly considering the human need for nature in how they plan and operate.
Studies have shown that time in nature — as long as people feel safe — is an antidote for stress: It can lower blood pressure and stress hormone levels, reduce nervous system arousal, enhance immune system function, increase self-esteem, reduce anxiety, and improve mood. Attention Deficit Disorder and aggression lessen in natural environments, which also help speed the rate of healing. Psychiatric unit researchers found that being in nature reduced feelings of isolation, promoted calm, and lifted mood among patients.
The moral of the story is: If you can get to Alexander Springs, go!
Make the memories, explore, and live!