Ocala National Forest was next on our list. We would have missed it if it weren’t for a co-worker’s recommendation! Although it is a slightly longer drive (1 hour and 30 minutes) you can easily spend the day here and it’s a beautiful escape from Orlando. We decided to drive to Juniper Springs first and took a half-mile walking trail through the forest on a raised boardwalk. It brought us to this other smaller spring with a beautiful arch bridge, perfect for picture-taking. Once our legs felt stretched, we headed over to Silver Glen Springs, only about 10 minutes down the road. This is one of the most popular springs to visit (and for good reason) but since we went on a weekday, it wasn’t crowded at all. The spring water was crystal clear, cool enough to be refreshing for a swim.
“We decided to rent kayaks and explore more of the area. I highly suggest doing this to make the most of your visit there! ”
One of the things to also look out for are the vultures. They’re harmless, but make sure to keep food and drinks securely locked in a cooler. We didn’t have any issues but witnessed a few other groups with this problem. Pictures won’t do this place justice, you’ll have to see it in person to believe how beautiful it really is!
After a full day at Ocala National Forest, we took some time to recharge at the resort before going to ICON Park for the evening. We arrived close to sunset and took in views of the giant observation wheel, one of the most popular attractions in Orlando. There are a number of great restaurant options here like Sugar Factory, Yard House, and Shake Shack. It’s a nice place to sit and enjoy drinks outside since the weather is milder in the evening. There’s also an aquarium, arcade, and a few museums so families will really enjoy their time here. Parking is also free at the ICON PARK parking garage!