The Ultimate Guide to Ocala National Forest Camping
Put Ocala National Forest camping at the top of your RV bucket list when you’re looking for an RV getaway with seclusion and plenty of nature. From kayaking to hiking and biking, you will want to schedule at least a few days to explore all 673 square miles within this Florida destination.
The Ocala National Forest is a rare Florida gem. Freshwater springs are home to migratory birds, manatees, and rare tropical plants. Known as one of the last wild places in the state, bring your RV to camp and enjoy over 600 lakes and rivers. Pack your paddleboard and kayak, there’s plenty of water sports too. Best of all, your perfect camping spot is waiting. “The Ocala” as it’s known, has campsites for all RV sizes. You can’t go wrong with 14 campgrounds to choose from.
This guide to the Ocala National Forest camping will make your RV trip planning a whole lot easier.
Ocala National Forest Camping Sites for RVs
You have tons of places to camp in Ocala National Forest! Beautiful RV and tent camping includes:
Reservations are a must. Book your getaway up to a year in advance. But reserve early to ensure your preferred dates are open.
Water Recreation in Ocala National Forest
Spending time on the water is a fun option. Canoe, kayak, or paddleboard. Inside the Ocala National Forest, you have more than 600 lakes, springs, and ponds to choose from.
Juniper Springs is one of the local’s favorite swimming holes. The springs remain at a constant 72 degrees all year. This gives naturally heated water for swimmers in the winter, and warm waters for the manatees passing through during the coldest Florida months.
Are you a paddleboarder or kayaker? The Salt Springs Run is one of the best paddle trails in Florida. A third spring, Alexander Springs is also a popular location for water sports.
Both Juniper Springs and Alexander Springs welcome snorkeling. But only Alexander Springs allows scuba diving.
Hike and Bike Hundreds of Trail Miles
Juniper Springs, Salt Springs and Alexander Springs all feature boardwalks, nature trails and thick forest trails for hiking. Get lost on hundreds of miles of forest roads. Bike or hike, starting at trailheads located at Alexander Springs and Clearwater Lake. There is an off-road trail in the Ocala National Forest: The Paisley Woods Bicycle Trail. Meander through a round-trip, 22-mile path over hills and wooded areas. Be warned though, it is a challenging loop.
Get a Horse and Ride Ocala National Forest
Got horses? Throughout the Ocala National Forest, you and your four legged navigator can explore 100 miles of riding paths. The One Hundred Mile Trail is most popular. The Lake/Alchua/Marion County (LAM) trail is too. The One Hundred Mile Trail consists of three shorter loops: Prairie Riding Loop (38 miles), Baptist Riding Loop (19 miles) and Flatwoods Riding Loop (38 miles).
Want to get off the trails and take a stroll through the woods? Feel free to park the horse trailer on the side of the road and unload. Riding isn’t restricted to these two trails.
Horses are not permitted on the Paisley Woods Bicycle Trail, the Ocala section of the Florida National Scenic Trail, or in developed campgrounds. All riders must have and retain proof of a negative Coggins test for their horses.
Know Before You Go: Ocala National Forest RV Camping & Recreation Facts
Hiking, biking and camping may be restricted during the fire season (October to May). Hunting season has different rules too. Always check with the ranger station before venturing into the wild. Call 352-625-2520.
Make campground and cabin reservations online for Ocala National Forest at fs.usda.gov/ocala, or call 1-877-444-6777.