Area Attractions

Salt Springs is located within a short distance of many things to see and do, some of which include those listed below.
 
Please Note:  This listing is only a guide of some of the many area attractions. You should always contact the entity directly
for more information, as we cannot be held responsible for any incidents of inaccuracy.  Thank you.
Salt Springs Recreation Area

Located in the heart of Salt Springs, on State Road 19 between County Road 314 & 316, Salt Springs Recreation Area is open year-round and is a major attraction for locals & visitors alike.  In addition to camping, hiking, swimming & various recreational water activities, the main attraction is the ancient subterranean springs which flow year-round at a constant temperature of 72 degrees, and pump approximately 53 million gallons of crystal clear water per day.  The park & areas adjacent to the springs are bordered on three sides by an observation walkway that frames the pool in an open-ended rectangle roughly 90 by 20 feet. The pool contains clear, blue, salty-tasting water that, as a result of water rising to the surface through ancient salt deposits, contains a variety of minerals & rare trace elements which give it a mild salt taste.  The depth of the pool ranges from 2 to 5 feet, but is up to 20 feet deep at the spring vents/pits that are scattered in the enclosed end of the pool area.  The springs are home to an abundance of fish and marine life including striped bass, mullet, and small fry.  In addition, needle fish and blue crabs may be seen, with crabs most commonly observed in the deeper portions of the spring openings.  The bottom of the spring has exposed limestone, small rocks and sand, as well as aquatic vegetation and is a favorite location for swimming & snorkeling. The springs at Salt Springs Recreation Area are a must-see while in the area!   ​For additional information, please call 352-685-2048 or visit FS.USDA.gov.

Salt Springs Run Marina and Landing

Located off State Road 19, Salt Springs Run Marina & Landing is adjacent to Salt Springs Recreation Area, where crystal clear water rises from the Springs and flows approx. 5 miles along Salt Springs Run into Lake George.  Salt Springs Run Marina provides a number of recreational opportunities, including fishing, swimming, snorkeling, camping, picnicking & sightseeing.  In additional to a public boat ramp, store, gift shop & refreshments, they also have live bait and offer rentals of canoes, rowboats, power-skiffs and family-sized pontoon boats.  Please Note: Advance reservations are recommended for all rentals.

​For more information and/or reservations, please call 352-685-2255.

Salt Springs Observation Trail

Located off State Road 19, Salt Springs Observation Trail is just south of the intersection of County Road 314.  Showcasing a variety of habitats on a slope down from the Big Scrub to the sinuous Salt Springs Run, the Salt Springs Observation Trail is a 1.9-mile loop trail offering excellent birding from an observation deck along the famed waterway.  When Salt Springs Run is high, the trail tends to flood ankle-deep or more along a stretch in the pine woods close to the boardwalk and the boardwalk is slippery when wet.  This trailhead parking area also provides access for the blue-blazed Salt Springs connector of the Florida Trail, found on the opposite side of US 19 about a quarter mile north of the trailhead.  For more information & trail maps, visit FS.USDA.gov.

 

Salt Springs Civic Park

Located on County Road 316, the Park offers various recreational opportunities that include basketball, tennis, pickle ball, soccer, football, volleyball, bocce ball, horseshoes, a 1/4 mile walking trail and fenced playground.  Maintained by the Salt Springs Civic Association and 'Friends of the Park' via donations & volunteer efforts, the Park is open year-round from dawn to dusk for general use by the public.  Picnic tables are located in the bandstand area, and the Community Center, concession facilities, and private use of the Park grounds are available for rental, for organized functions and/or events. ​

​​For additional information, please contact Dustin at 352-875-1919.

Champions Market  /  Salt Springs Flea Market

Open year-round on Saturdays from 7am to 2pm, we have two venues offering a bounty of wares from numerous vendors & local merchants.  Get there early for the best selection of goods!

--Champions Market & Breakfast Buffet is located off County Road 314 ​at Bass Champions Restaurant -- for additional info and/or to reserve vendor space, call Bass Champions at 352-685-0000.

--Salt Springs Flea Market is located at the intersection of Hwy 19 & 316 at Salt Springs Square -- For additional info and/or to reserve vendor space, call Salt Springs Pizza in the Square.

Salt Springs Local Dining and Take-Out

Offering some of the areas best Southern Home Cooking, there are numerous locations in and around Salt Springs to satisfy your appetite.​  Whether you're looking for a sit-down or take-out option, your local choices include:  Bass Champions Restaurant & Lodge (on CR 314 just west of SR 19), Cactus Jack's (on CR 314 between FR 11/88 & SR 19), Dollar General (on CR 316 at SR 19), 88 Store & Pub (on FR 11/88 between CR 314 & CR 316), Odd Todd's Produce & Food Truck (on SR 19 between CR 314 & CR 316), Papa Joe's Drive-In (on SR 19 just north of CR 314), Salt Springs & Pizza and The Boondock's (on SR 19 at CR 316), Salt Springs Pit-Stop & Subway (on SR 19 between CR 314 & CR 316), Sportsman's Lodge & Store (on CR 314 just west of SR 19), Square Meal Restaurant (on SR 19 at CR 316), and The VFW offering meals nightly (on CR 314 just east of FR 11/88).

 

Ocala National Forest

With millions of visitors each year, the Ocala National Forest (ONF) encompasses approx. 383,000 acres, or 650+ square miles, and is the second largest National Forest in the State of Florida.  Established in 1908, ONF is the oldest National Forest east of the Mississippi River and the southern-most National Forest in the continental United States.  The Forest lies between the Ocklawaha & St Johns Rivers and contains over 600 natural lakes, ponds & rivers, as well as central highlands, coastal lowlands, swamps & springs.  The central portion of the Forest is dry & sandy in contrast to the abundant water resources throughout. The Forest is one of Central Florida's last remaining traces of forested land and contains a high proportion of Florida's scrub habitat; it is noted for its Sand Pine scrub ecosystem and is home to the largest concentration of Sand Pines in the world, as well as some of the best remaining strands of Longleaf Pine in Central Florida.  Additionally, the Forests' porous sand and largely undeveloped character provide an important recharge for the Floridian aquifer.  Please Note: All hunting & fishing activites are managed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and require a permit.

​For additional information, trail maps & OHV permits, please call 352-625-2520 or visit FS.USDA.gov.

ONF Natural Resources

In addition to the many lakes, ponds & rivers in the Forest, it is also home to four major natural springs of crystal clear water; Alexander Springs, Juniper Springs, Salt Springs, and Silver Glen Springs. Water recreation is plentiful and camping is available at various locations including Alexander Springs, Big Bass Lake, Big Scrub, Buck Lake, Clearwater Lake, Lake Delancy, Doe Lake, Grassy Pond, Halfmoon Lake, Hopkin's Prairie, Juniper Springs, Camp La-No-Che, Salt Springs and Silver River.  Native inhabitants of the Forest include: the Florida black bear, white-tailed deer, wild boar, coyote, red fox, grey fox, bobcat, raccoon, nine-banded armadillo, striped skunk, Virginia opossum, Florida fox squirrel, Southeastern pocket gopher, North American river otter, American alligator, gopher tortoise, wild turkey, scrub lizard, sand skink, Florida scrub jay, and many other reptiles, amphibians & birds.  Please Note: All hunting and fishing activities are managed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and require a permit.  ​For additional info, trail maps & OHV permits, please call 352-625-2520 or visit FS.USDA.gov.

Public Boat Ramps

With numerous lakes, rivers and springs, water is an abundant resource within the Forest with several options for watercraft access.  The St. Johns River and the Ocklawaha River are renowned waterways in the Forest and with many other waterways, boating is a popular activity in the area. ​ Motorized boating includes the use of outboard motors, trolling motors, and Jetskis.  Please keep your safety, and that of those around you, first and foremost by practicing safe boating. For a complete listing of boat ramps & watercraft launch sites, please visit MyFWC.com or FS.USDA.gov.​​  Additionally, there are bait & tackle shops located near both Salt Springs Run & Moorehead Boat Ramp, for your convenience.

ATV and Bike Trails

The Ocala National Forest is a unique and productive forest that is actively managed to restore native environments while providing numerous recreational opportunities.  The Forest maintains two trail systems for off-road vehicles, providing opportunities for both licensed & unlicensed vehicles: 

--Ocala North OHV Trail extends 125 miles and is located off State Road 19, north of County Road 316.

--Wandering Wiregrass OHV Trail is 16 miles and is located off County Road 445 near the intersect of State Road 19.​

​​For more info, please call 352-625-2520 or 352-669-3153 or visit FS.USDA.gov.

Ocala Shooting Range

Located in the Ocala National Forest off Forest Road 11 (formerly FR-88), 3/4 miles north of State Road 40, the Ocala Shooting Range is open to the public for use to improve your shooting skills.

The Shooting Range is an unsupervised facility for pistols, rifles and shotguns.  Cooperation amongst all shooters is a must!  Managed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, use of the Range is free to the public and is open from dawn to dusk Thursday thru Tuesday, and from 1pm to dusk each Wednesday (the facility is closed Wednesday mornings for maintenance & repairs).  Backboards are provided.  Shooters should bring their own targets & tacks or staples.  Since the Range is located within a Wildlife Management Area, transportation of firearms to/from the Range is limited to State and County Roads, and is prohibited on Forest service roads. ​  For more information, please visit FS.USDA.gov or MyFWC.com.​

The Florida Trail

Spanning 1,400 miles, from Big Cypress National Preserve to Fort Pickens at Gulf Island National Seashore, the Florida Trail is one of eleven National Scenic Trails in the United States. 

Also known as the Florida National Scenic Trail, the Florida Trail was established by Jim Kern who founded the Florida Trail Association in October 1966.  Kern, a resident of Florida and avid backpacker, received permission from the Ocala National Forest to blaze a hiking trail and the Trail has been underway as a volunteer-driven construction project ever since.  One of the Trail's notable locations is "The Yearling Trail", which is located near Juniper Springs and the Juniper Prairie Wilderness Area, and is the location where "The Yearling" was filmed.  BE AWARE:  On some parts of the Trail, hikers may encounter wildlife that could pose a danger to life and health, such as bears, wild boar, feral dogs, alligators., and venomous snakes. ​ ​For more info, visit FS.USDA.gov or FloridaTrail.org.

Florida Black Bear Scenic Byway

Crossing through the Ocala National Forest, the Florida Black Bear Scenic Byway is filled with long stretches of undisturbed 'Natural Florida' with plenty of fresh air and an array of wildlife to behold.

Stretching from Palatka to Altoona, and from Silver Springs to Ormond Beach, the Florida Black Bear Scenic Byway offers more than 60 miles of exploration via scenic roads through the heart of the Ocala National Forest.  The Byway traverses some of the most pristine ecosystems in Florida and crosses several waterways that have received special designation due to their uniqueness; the St. John's River is an America Heritage River, and the Ocklawaha River is an Outstanding Florida Waterway.

​For more information & driving maps, visit FloridaBlackBearScenicByway.org.

Fort Gates Ferry

Located approx. 7 miles from the intersection of State Road 19 & County Road 316, you may want to consider utilizing the Fort Gates Ferry to shorten your trip from Salt Springs to the East Coast.  Established in 1856, the Ferry is the shortest route from State Road 19 in Salt Springs to State Road 17 in Fruitland / Welaka and it crosses the St. Johns River between Lake George & Little Lake George.

>> The Ferry has been out-of-service due to storm damage that has yet to be repaired.

For more info on the Ferry and/or the Gateway Fishing Camp at Fort Gates, please call 386-467-2411.

Historic Kerr City

Located off County Road 316, approx. 3 miles west of Salt Springs, Kerr City is a wonderfully preserved privately-owned "ghost town", which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.  Covering 205 acres, Kerr City was the second town platted in Marion County and it grew to 100 residents in its day.  Originally a cotton plantation during the Civil War, Kerr City flourished as an orange growing community for a number of years and served as a stage coach stop for travelers commuting from the St. Johns River to Ocala.  Original structures included a hotel, sawmill, general store, pharmacy, post office, school, church, and numerous Victorian-style homes.  In 1885, the Lake Kerr House (hotel) was built and the Kerr City Adviser (newspaper) circulated local news.  In 1907, the hotel burned down, reportedly by arson.  The Post Office operated until 1941.  Following the big freeze that devastated the orange growing community, the town founder began buying abandoned properties around his home and, by 1955, his family owned the entire town.  The school & church are now gone due to vandalism but the gas station, post office, cemetery, stage coach road, and several of the original homes remain, many of which have been renovated and still possess original furnishings.  And, the 1925 gas station is the oldest Texaco station in the state for Florida, still in operation, and the pumps have been converted to unleaded gasoline.

Caravelle Ranch Wildlife Management Area

Nestled along the St. Johns River, Caravelle Ranch and Wildlife Management Area offers 27,251 acres of cooperative public wildlife & recreation lands featuring hardwood river swamps, pine flatwoods, improved pastures, small depression ponds and hardwood hammocks. Managed in cooperation by the St. Johns River Water Management District, the Dept. of Environmental Protection Office of Greenways & Trails, and the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, Caravelle Ranch is open for public recreational access year-round from dawn to dusk.  Entrance points are located along State Road 19, County Road 310 and Silver Lake Drive.​ ​For additional info, please call 352-732-1225 of visit MyFWC.com.

Rodman Reservoir and Recreation Area

Located South of Palatka off State Road 19, Rodman Reservoir covers 9,500 acres and is a premier largemouth bass fishery offering some of the best fishing in Northeast Florida. 

In 1968, the Reservoir (also know as Lake Ocklawaha) was created when an earthen dam was built across the Ocklawaha River whereby flooding the area woodlands.  The forest area was not completely leveled prior to flooding, which has resulted in plenty of underwater structure that makes a great environment for all types of fish.  The Reservoir runs from the headwaters at Eureka Dam to Kirkpatrick Dam and includes the river channel & Cross Florida Barge Canal, offering water depths ranging from approx. 10 to 30 feet and consisting of submersed & floating vegetation and dead standing, submersed & floating timber.  Drawdowns are conducted every 3-4 years for wildlife habitat enhancement and aquatic plant control. ​ For additional information, please visit RodmanReservoir.com or via facebook at SaveRodmanReserviorFor fishing forecasts, please call 352-372-1791.​

Cross Florida Barge Canal and Greenways

Formerly known as the Cross Florida Barge Canal, the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway crosses Central Florida from the St. Johns River to the Gulf of Mexico.

This 110 mile corridor offers a wide variety of trails & recreational areas encompassing diverse natural habitats for observing Florida's native flora & fauna. With hiking, biking, equestrian & paddling trails, boat ramps, fishing spots, campgrounds, a barrier-free playground, and picnic shelters, the Cross Florida Greenway offers recreation opportunities for all ages & interests. ​  ​​For additional info, please visit FloridaStateParks.org.

Rodeheaver Boys Ranch

Located 12 miles South of Palatka, off State Road 19, on 790 acres of land donated by Homer Rodeheaver in 1950, Rodeheaver Boys Ranch was established to provide a wholesome environment for needy boys to learn & grow, giving them a second chance for a better life.  Through his foresight, the ideal setting was created for the development & training of these youngsters, enabling them to flourish and grow into better men.  Rodeheaver is a working Boys Ranch, with horses, cows, pigs and other small animals.  Since the Ranch does not accept government funding, donations are gratefully accepted, and an RV Park has been established on the premises, with over 500 sites, which is utilized for fundraising activities that include two Bluegrass Festivals each year, among other events.  The RV Park is the perfect location for private functions and organized events, which help increase the revenue for the Ranch.​

For more information, please call 386-328-1281 or visit RBR.org.

Ravine Gardens State Park

Located in Palatka, Ravine Gardens State Park has two ravines up to 120 feet deep with steep banks at 45 degree angles.  Unlike common gullies, trenches or sinkholes caused by temporary flooding, the steephead ravine is a permanent feature with a spring-fed creek that never dries up, called Whitewater Branch.  The underground water bubbling up cuts into the bank and carries the sand & soil downstream to the St Johns River.  Over thousands of years, the ravine has widened and deepened to what you see today.  In 1933, this ravine was transformed into a dramatic garden by the federal Works Progress Administration.  Much of the original landscaping still exists as formal gardens and an extensive trail system that includes a 1.8-mile paved road that winds around the ravine, offering motorists
& bicyclists a view of the gardens.  The garden's peak flowering period is azalea season, late January to April. For additional information, call 386-329-3721 or visit FloridaStateParks.org.

William Bartram Trails

The Putnam County Bartram Trail was developed to assist those interested in following in the footsteps of explorers & adventurers, John and William Bartram.  These Trails are intended to be a continual work in progress; as additional resources are found, data will be updated so that the most accurate information is available to those who wish to follow the Bartrams through Putnam County.  For additional information on the History of Bartram Trails, please visit Bartram.Putnam-FL.com.

Silver Springs State Park

Located in Silver Springs/Ocala and famous for its glass bottom boats, Silver Springs State Park combines the charm of a historic Florida attraction with the crystal clear beauty of one of the last uninhabited spring runs in the state. There are three entrances to Silver Springs State Park: the Main Entrance is located on State Road 40 in Silver Springs; the Camping Entrance is located on State Road 35; and the third entrance is our Equestrian Entrance, also located on State Road 40, about 1.3 miles east of the Main Entrance. For additional information, please call 352-236-7148 or visit FloridaStateParks.org.

Rails-to-Trails and More

Whether you’re getting outdoors for recreation or fitness, you’ll discover some great trails for bicycling,

hiking, running and more that stretch from Lake Butler through Palatka to St Augustine.

--Palatka to Lake Butler State Trail (PLB) corridor stretches nearly 47 miles from SR 238 in Lake Butler to west of US 17 in Palatka. The trail follows the bed of the former Norfolk-Southern Railroad right-of-way through Putnam, Union, Clay and Bradford counties.

--Palatka-East Palatka Trail stretches 3.66 miles crossing the St. Johns River via the Memorial Bridge and winding through some Historic & residential areas of Palatka.
--Palatka-to-St. Augustine State Trail currently runs through the communities of Armstrong, Elkton, and Vermont Heights in northeastern Florida. Much of the route follows State Route 207, hence its former name as the State Road 207 Rail-Trail.  Views are a mix of woodlands and rural landscapes.
The Yearling Trail

In the fall of 1876, Reuben and Sara Jane Long established a homestead on Pat’s Island, a high spot in the Big Scrub. Their son, Melvin, found and adopted a fawn he named Dogwood. More than 50 years later, author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings spent time at the Long homestead and learned about the fawn.  It inspired her to write The Yearling, her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.  When the novel became a movie, Pat’s Island became a set for some of the scenes.  Now part of the Ocala National Forest, Pat’s Island is a shady place in the desert-like scrub, with historical artifacts from the Long family waiting to be discovered—remains of homesteads, a cistern, a cattle dip vat, and the family frontier cemetery.  The Florida Trail runs along the western side of the island, but the Yearling Trail provides easier access and your choice of two loops to explore this literary and historic site. For additional information and  trail maps, please visit FS.USDA.gov.

City of Murals

The Conlee​-Snyder Mural Committee was initiated by the City of Palatka Historic Preservation Board and began operation in early 1998 under the guidance of Downtown Palatka, Inc.  The mission of the Committee is to accurately depict the historical, cultural, and natural riches of Palatka and Putnam County in larger-than-life murals, which can be found throughout downtown Palatka.  In sharing these pictorial renderings with visitors and citizens, appreciation of the rich heritage of the community will be forever enhanced and developed.  For additional information and a tour guide/map of the mural locations, please visit ConleeMurals.org.

Hog Waller Mud Bog, Campground and ATV Resort

Hog Waller is a 1,100 acre outdoor family fun park owned by a local Putnam County family.  Open daily,

you can find many people riding through the woods on ATVs and UTVs or braving huge mud pits with specially designed trucks and vehicles.  Hog Waller has campsites, bathing facilities, restrooms, and vendors who provide food, clothing, snacks, and even supplies for your vehicle or ATV.  All are invited to come out for some great fun!  For additional info, call 386-643-8042 or visit HogWallerMudBog.com.

Welaka National Fish Hatchery and Aquarium

Located on County Road 309 in Welaka, the Welaka National Fish Hatchery & Aquarium is a warm water fish hatchery, and the aquarium displays local fresh water fish species and educational information about efforts of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agencies to preserve native wildlife.  For additional information, please call 386-467-2374 or visit FWS.gov.

Mount Royal Indian Temple Mound

Located in Welaka on Mount Royal Road, the Mount Royal Indian Temple Mound was built and used as a ceremonial center by the Timucuan Indians, this 20 foot high archaelogical site dates back to 1250 and is the largest sand mound in Florida.  For additional information, please call 386-467-2863 or visit MountRoyalAirPark.com.