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“great place for birding”

Ocala National Forest
Ranked #1 of 9 things to do in Umatilla
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: National parkland consisting of 383,220 acres of various landscapes, including highlands, coastal lowlands, swamps, springs, lakes and ponds.
Reviewed 5 August 2017

We went for birding and even during off season had a great time. We stayed in Silver Springs which was a fairly convenient location. You drive for hours on dirt roads and bird and look for wildlife. We saw bears on two different occasions which was great. We got the Florida Scrub Jay there which was a lifer for us. We did not get the red cockaded woodpecker, though, which was too bad. Lots of different habitat. Trails is recreation areas are nice. The recreation areas are also really nice. We hiked through one with a spring and it was a very nice facility. We went to the ranger station to get park maps and the bird list for the park. The staff there was nice but I was surprised a national forest didn't have an up to date bird list and a place for birders to list what they are currently seeing. We also had to pay for a map. Speaking of maps, watch out for navigating the roads through the forest. They go by different names and numbers than on the map and it can be very confusing trying to figure out where you are or how to get somewhere. We got lost one night on one of the dirt roads that are okay for cars and were really getting concerned when a nice guy in a truck came down the road and asked if we needed help. We were able to find out from him what road we were on and where it went which was extremely helpful. (We did see a great horned owl, though, that night.) I would definitely go back and plan to during migration.

Thank L M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"juniper springs"
in 22 reviews
"recreation area"
in 8 reviews
"alexander springs"
in 12 reviews
"national forest"
in 10 reviews
"black beans"
in 10 reviews
"silver glen"
in 8 reviews
"natural spring"
in 3 reviews
"canoe trip"
in 3 reviews
"deep sand"
in 2 reviews
"natural beauty"
in 4 reviews
"bbq grill"
in 2 reviews
"picnic tables"
in 5 reviews
"worst part"
in 2 reviews
"fire ring"
in 2 reviews
"turkey vultures"
in 2 reviews
"oak trees"
in 2 reviews
"ranger station"
in 3 reviews
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17 - 21 of 135 reviews

Reviewed 28 July 2017 via mobile

There is so much to do and see here. Choose trails that suit your ability and then find a Spring to jump in and cool off. We chose lake Eaton sinkhole and silver Glen Springs. Saw otters, woodpeckers, humming birds and snakes.

Thank ginalaura
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 July 2017 via mobile

Visited several of the springs and drove they much of the paved roads. Park is beautiful. Some of the recreation areas have better camping than others so do your homework before you go. Would love to have walked some of the trails as there were a lot of trail heads. Keep an eye out for wildlife . We saw a bear crossing the road!! It was awesome. Watch for deer too. Sadly we saw a dead one on the side of the road.

1  Thank Kam2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 July 2017 via mobile

We spent the day on the beach by the lake at the Mill Dam Recreation Area. It was not crowded and very clean. There were picnic tables, restrooms and a place to rinse the sand off before you get into the car. It's only $2 a person to get in and you pay after you park as you walk down the path to the park area. It's on the honor system. The kids enjoyed playing on the beach and we all loved swimming in the lake. The water was perfect and there were fish swimming all around us. So glad we discovered this place!

3  Thank Donna U
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 4 July 2017

The Ocala National Forest is the southern most forest in the United States, it has the largest track of sand pine, it is a large forest with numerous hiking trails, camping, off road trails, scenic drives, wilderness areas and beautiful fresh springs. If you have one day go directly to Juniper springs and enjoy the crystal clear, cool, refreshing dip underneath canopies of oak trees. Take in a canoe trip, picnic, or walk the trails after the swim. Lots to do and explore. Great place to see wildlife and birdwatching. Note of caution, this is a large forest, many roads are sand roads, I recommend doing your research before arriving especially if camping. The forest is also home to a live bombing range, Farles Prairie Recreational area may be the site closest to the range. You may be able to see jets streaking across the sky.

1  Thank happytraveler709
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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