I’ve written about kayaking on Silver River in Ocala before, but I haven’t touched on any of the other cool things to do there.
I’ll hit on a few of them quickly, and I’ve put together a little video to give you the sense of what else is out there.
Hiking: The park has 15 miles of multi-use trails (hiking and biking). All of the trails make for a great afternoon hike. Some of the trails wind through pine groves pock-marked with sinkholes. For Floridians used to flat expanses of forest, climbing down into impressive, centuries-old sinkholes is pretty cool. Most of the hiking is along level ground, and none of it is very challenging – but it’s still a great walk for a fall afternoon.
Biking: On a bike, some of the trails are better than others. The trails closest to the river are sandy, narrow and riddled with roots. If you’re not on a mountain bike, you don’t have much of a chance. On the trails near the campground and the entrance, any fairly durable bike will do (a beach cruiser would be fine). They are smooth, flat and clear. Nice, easy riding.
Camping: Great campground. I spent a few nights there, but in a cushy RV with air conditioning – which, to be honest, beat the pants off my usual tent-and-sleeping-bag accommodations. The campsites are big, shaded and far from each other. The river and hiking trails are both within easy walking distance of the campground, and we had deer wander within a 100 feet of the campsite (never gets old!).
Kayaking: If you haven’t kayaked at Silver River yet, you’re missing out! Click here to see a full review.
History: The park has a “pioneer cracker village” and a history museum, both of which are open on the weekends only. You’re free to walk through the village – a collection of late-19th-century buildings from Florida – anytime, but on the weekends, it turns into a living history museum. What’s more interesting, though, is the early-20th-century glass-bottom boat that used to ferry tourists up and down the river.
There’s enough stuff to keep you busy at Silver River on a weekend trip, but if you’re in the area, this park makes for a killer day trip. Just throw your kayak, bike and trail-runners in the car and spend the day enjoying the park.