Silver River State Park
A couple of weeks ago, we packed up the van and headed up to Ocala for Rosie’s final gymnastics meet of the season. She did great and we ended up having enough time to explore one of Florida’s State Parks.
Have I told you how much I adore state parks, national parks, national forests or anything that lets people be outside and explore nature?
Well, I do. (Someday I will tell you all about my State Park Passport……that I am pretty obsessive about.)
I love checking out new potential camping places, visitors center and hikes.
After hours in the car and more hours watching Rosie compete the last thing we needed was to sit in a restaurant. We needed to get out and move our legs.
We stopped at Publix, bought a couple of sandwiches and headed to Silver River State Park. The picnic area was nice–plenty of tables, plenty of shade, and a nice play structure for the kids.
Silver River is a peaceful, slow moving river that is fed by natural springs from the underground aquifer. The river is crystal clear and beautiful and would be great to canoe down–but unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time. The park rents canoes for $5.00 per hour–which really is a bargain.
The park ranger at the visitors center told us -the swamp trail was the best trail to see with limited time. I packed my pockets full of Girl Scout cookies (Do-see-do’s!) as hiking bribes and we headed on down the trail.
The trail was very well marked and was an easy and casual walk. We didn’t see any wild animals, except for the occasional squirrel, which wasn’t surprising since Rosie and The Bean were so loud– I think we pretty much cleared out the entire park.
The highlight was a tree that had fallen across the trail–
At the end of the swamp trail, a short boardwalk —-
crosses a cypress swamp and leads to the river.
We hung out at the end of the trail for a bit looking for fish and listening to the birds. It was really quite beautiful.
We drove through the campground and find it to be quite nice. It didn’t seem as crowded as some State Park campgrounds and we were there during the beginning of Spring Break. The bathrooms were clean and they had showers.
Unfortunately, we were there kind of late in the day and the museum and Florida cracker village were closed for the day. These would have been neat to check out and we may have to go back in the future.
Warning: We have camped a couple of times in Northwest Florida and both times have come across ticks. Aaron seems to be extra sensitive to them and will find them crawling on his legs. The tick problem was evident at Silver River State Park as well. All camping and outside activities may result in interaction with bugs and creepy crawly things—and Florida ticks aren’t known to carry Lyme disease. I am not that worried about the ticks but would wear socks and long pants and think twice about taking my dogs to this park.
If you want more information on this park, check out their website.