Alexander Springs + nearby places to eat, stay and shop • Authentic Florida

Last updated on January 28, 2023

florida springs are popular tourist destinations and Alexander Springs is no exception. Alexander Springs is in the Ocala National Forest, not far from state parks like blue spring Y Springs of Leon.

About 60 miles north of orlando and 80 miles southeast of Gainesville, the central florida The recreation area is in the northeast corner of Lake County. It is known for being one of the only 1st magnitude springs in Florida.

Best Places to Visit Near Alexander Springs Recreation Area

alexander springs
Photo Source: Ocala Adventure

Here are our recommendations for the best places to visit near Alexander Springs Recreation Area, including nearby places to eat, stay, and shop during your trip.

You can find delicious food to dine on, relaxing accommodations, and timeless shops. Take a look at all the places you can visit on a trip to this subtropical oasis.

Alexander Springs Recreation Area

alexander springs

Alexander Springs is a 1st magnitude spring, which means that, on average, the spring head discharges approximately 100 cubic feet of water per second. That’s hundreds of gallons of water!

The seven-mile Alexander Creek flows into Alexander Springs

The spring run known as the Alexander Run runs into Spring Creek. The spring pool is a popular destination with beautiful palm trees, amazing water quality, and an average water temperature of 72 degrees.

Photo of the San Francisco trail
The Ocala National Forest has many trails to hike

Alexander Springs is one of the most visited places in the Ocala National Forest. The spring is located just a few miles from the St. Johns River, off the area’s main highway, County Road 445.

There is a paved parking lot to park when you arrive. Parking can fill up quickly on weekends and holidays, so arriving early is recommended.

Things to do in Alexander Springs

divers in spring
Source: USDA Forest Service

Alexander Springs Recreation Area has much to offer visitors. Of course, taking a dip in the bathing area is the favorite part of their trip for many visitors.

Source: Soulful Yoga Connections on Facebook

Also, yogis are known to practice on paddleboards, and scuba divers find this place excellent for diving.

Experiences in Alexander Springs

Photo of a Timucuan Trail sign in Alexander Springs
Alexander Springs Timucuan Trail

Hikers have great options here, like the Timucuan Trail, a 0.9-mile loop through a palm forest filled with cabbage palms. The area also has a trailhead with a blue trail connecting the area to the Florida Trail, a National Scenic Byway that is approximately 1,500 miles long.

The recreation area has a concession stand that has a limited number of kayak and canoe rentals. You can also bring your own kayak or canoe to the springs!

There is a shaded picnic area with picnic tables near the spring, the perfect place to enjoy a meal in Alexander Springs.

Camping in Alexander Springs

entrance to the bathhouses

The recreation area is a great place to camp. It has drinking water, toilets and public restrooms. There are 67 campsites at the campgrounds, which can accommodate tents and RVs up to 35 feet, though there are no water, sewer, or electrical hookups.

If you need anything while camping, the concession stand sells snacks and groceries, as well as charcoal and firewood if you want to build a campfire.


  • Alexander Springs is open daily from 8 am to 8 pm, although it may close earlier depending on the season.
  • The most popular times to visit include the summer months, weekends, and holidays. The site will close if capacity is reached, so it’s best to get there early and avoid the crowds.
Florida black bear
Photo Source: US Forest Service.
  • Black bears are commonly seen in the Ocala National Forest. It is important to know what to do when you encounter a black bear.
  • Are you planning to spend a lot of time in the Ocala National Forest area? You may want to purchase the Ocala Springs/National Forest Hopper Pass. At $70 per person plus tax, the pass provides admission to Adventure Ocala-managed recreational areas for one year.
    It includes some of the best springs and lakes in the region. (Alexander Springs, Silver Glen Springs, Juniper Springs, Clearwater Lake and Wildcat Lake).

For more information, visit the USDA Forest Service official website.

Alexander Springs Address: Latitude: 29.078245, Longitude: -81.577837, Alexander Springs, FL 32702

Where to Eat Near Alexander Springs: Castaways Restaurant

greetings sign next to the bench and yeti
Source: Castaway Restaurant

Castaways Restaurant is a great place to visit during your trip to Alexander Springs Recreation Area.

Castaways Restaurant Creamy Crab Stuffed Flounder with Mashed Potatoes and Asparagus

The family restaurant is just under eight miles away from the spring and is known for its delicious food and fun theme.

Castaways Restaurant Steak and Broccoli
Source: Castaway Restaurant

This laid-back spot offers a menu that is a mix of seafood dishes and dine-in food.

Source: Castaways Restaurant on Facebook

Try any of the tasty seafood appetizers or the broccoli and cheddar bites. Don’t miss out on amazing specials like land and sea speeders.


  • Castaways Restaurant is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Closed on Wednesday.
  • There is a children’s menu available.
  • This restaurant accepts takeout orders.

For more information, visit the Castaways restaurant official Facebook page.

Castaway Restaurant Address: 23525 FL-40 W, Astor, FL 32102

Additional places to eat near Alexander Springs:

  • sparky’s place24646 FL-40, Astor, FL 32102
  • Rose Garden Family Restaurant1455 FL-40, Astor, FL 32102
  • Essex Seafood House1360 West, 1360 FL-40, Pierson, FL 32180

Where to stay near Alexander Springs: Runaway Bay Lodge

Yurt at Runaway Bay Lodge
Source: Runaway Bay Lodge

Runaway Bay Lodge is a wonderful place to stay near Alexander Springs. This lodge is located about 30 minutes from the Lake George Recreation Area. The picturesque location is a favorite among many who stay in this region.

aerial view of the water
Source: Runaway Bay Lodge

Located in Seville, Florida, Runaway Bay Lodge has a variety of different accommodations to choose from. There are beachfront lodge rooms, serenity yurts, and other great cozy options.

Runaway Bay Lodge offers activities on the property. Enjoy yoga, meditation, kayaking, games, and more during your stay.

Guests can use John boats free of charge. You can also rent motors that will help you get to great fishing spots.

people kayaking
Source: Runaway Bay Lodge

If you are interested in a boat tour, the lodge offers a 3-hour private scenic boat tour customized to your interests. Whether you’re interested in fishing, photography, or seeing the nature of the area, this is a fantastic option!


  • Runaway Bay Lodge is open every day.
  • Check in is at 15:00. Departure is at 11 am.
  • If you are celebrating a special occasion, check out the special packages you can add to your reservation, such as the Romance Package or the Picnic Basket for Two.
  • Daily cleaning service is not provided.
  • Well-trained dogs are allowed with prior approval at an additional charge per night.

For more information, visit the Runaway Bay Lodge Official Website.

Runaway Bay Lodge Address: 1610 Lake George Rd, Seville, FL 32190

Additional places to stay near Alexander Springs:

  • Shamrock Thistle & Crown Bed & Breakfast12971 SE Hwy 42, Weirsdale, FL 32195
  • Astor Bridge Marina and Motel1575 FL-40, Astor, FL 32102
  • Hotel Pierson107 S. Volusia Ave, Pierson, FL 32180
  • Riveria Resort and Marina2760 Botts Landing Rd, DeLand, FL 32720
  • cabin on the lake222 Tangerine Ave, Lake Helen, FL 32744

Places to Shop Near Alexander Springs: The Orange Shop

the orange shop
Source: Florida State Library and Archives

The Orange Shop has been around for over 80 years. Located about 50 miles from Alexander Springs, this place is worth the trip. The store opened in 1936 and sold hand-picked seasonal fruit to travelers passing through US 301.

Not much has changed since The Orange Shop first opened – the place offers great customer service and the best citrus in the area.

You can buy all kinds of sweets here.

  • Seasonal varieties of oranges, grapefruit and tangerines
  • Honey
  • Jelly
  • jams
  • coated pecans
  • Desserts like pecan pie and key lime pound cake.

Be sure to visit this timeless Florida shop during your trip!


  • The Orange Shop is open daily from 8 am to 5 pm, seasonally from October to mid-May.
  • Shipping is available on many items.

For more information, visit the orange store official website.

The address of the orange store: 18545 US-301, Citra, FL 32113

Additional places to shop near Alexander Springs:

  • Square of the six weapons4901 E Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala, FL 34470
  • Sportsman’s Lodge and Shop12959 NE 250th Ct., Salt Springs, FL 32134
  • Scrambletown Country Store15480 NE Hwy 314, Silver Springs, FL 34488
  • Forest Mall15940 FL-40, Silver Springs, FL 34488

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