Alexander Springs in Altoona is set in the Ocala National Forest and is one of the state’s most famous natural swimming areas to visit. Boasting clear turquoise waters and a hardwood swamp forest backdrop, this spring’s atmosphere will instantly make you feel connected to the earth.
For around 10,000 years, Alexander Springs has served as a favorite swimming site in Florida for human and animal residents. The vast pool area is in a very natural, virtually unspoiled environment that looks like something from a scenic wall calendar. The indigenous Timucuan tribe also utilized the spring as a place to unwind and refresh on a hot, humid day.
Natural Springs Pool
Alexander Springs is one of The Sunshine State’s many first-magnitude springs, but many would argue it’s the best. The water temperature is about 72℉ all year, and since Florida has mild winters, there is never really an off-season for crowds.
This subtropical pool discharges over 80 million gallons of water daily, constantly refilling the sandy bottom basin with a sloped beach entry. The 300-foot-wide and 25-28-foot deep swimming area provides plenty of space for many to enjoy on its own, but it’s also a feeder for the 6.5-mile Alexander Creek (also known as “Springs Creek”).
Swimming and snorkeling are two of the most popular activities in the water. Management requests that swimmers do not use inflatable floats over 60 inches so it doesn’t disrupt others’ enjoyment of the water.
Paddling, canoeing, kayaking, and boating down the run are great ways to explore the narrow paths and enjoy viewing the variety of plant life. Free diving is popular among those with the proper certification to scuba dive, as there are many caves and crevices underwater to discover.
Visitors enjoy hiking, biking, picnicking, and wildlife watching from the landside. Fishing is available in some areas from platforms, such as the ones on the Timucuan Trail, which is also a must-see walking path.
Campsites are offered on a first-come, first-served basis, but a few are reservable by contacting recreation.gov. There are 67 unique sites that are set up for tents and RVs up to 35 feet long. Amenities include showers, drinking water, a dump station, a picnic table, a fire pit, and BBQ grills. There are no electrical, water, or sewer hook-ups at the campground.
The recreation area’s hours are usually 8 am to 8 pm, but campers are given a unique code to get through the locked gates to their location for the night. There is a maximum stay of 14 days in 30 days to allow other travelers a chance to enjoy the property.
Pets are not allowed in the springs, but they can be at the campground as long as they aren’t unattended. Alligators and bears inhabit the area, so if bringing a pet, be extra cautious. Extra vehicles will be charged a nightly fee.
Address: 49525 County Rd 445, Altoona, Florida 32702
Hours: 8 am to 8 pm for day-users