North-Central Florida

Like I’d want to swim in a muddy foot of water? Oh, maybe it’s talking about the alligators aren’t allowed to swim there?

We took I-10 east to I-75 south, down to Alexander Springs – just east of Ocala, Florida. AL&L manages these Forest Service campgrounds. Good thing we didn’t get here when we’d planned because they had a tornado that twisted a few trees that night!

Alexander Springs is accessible to swimmers and scuba divers. We were told that the local alligator, Alice, doesn’t bother the swimmers or divers. We didn’t see her at all – maybe that’s why she doesn’t bother anyone? I think we met all the Hosts here – all very friendly!
There is a great boardwalk trail around the springs and you can rent a canoe to explore from the crystal, clear river. It’s amazing how much water comes out of the ground here at a constant 72 degrees! It’s beautiful!
Here’s the swimming area at Alexander Springs.
Salt Springs is another AL&L managed campground. The springs (not the campground) were closed for a couple years for much needed maintenance. They opened last December (2009). I love these sprawling oaks with all the spanish moss hanging from them.
Here is the swimming area for the Salt Springs. (no we didn’t taste it)
There is a camping area with full hook-ups that is more like an RV park (you know, sardine-style camping). But there is also a primitive area that does not have electricity or water at the sites. Those looked nice too. We talked to several of the Hosts – a great group of people!
We were so close to the Atlantic Ocean that we just had to dip our toes in it. This is Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area at Flagler Beach.
Here’s our campsite. We did not have reservations but we got here at noon on Sunday and lucked out. We can see the ocean from our back door.
The difference between high and low tide, today, is only 8 inches. But look how steep the shore is and how narrow the beach is.

The sea turtles that lay their eggs on this beach, have come all the way from the Mediterranean Sea! The babies hatch, crawl out to the ocean, then swim all the way to the Mediterranean Sea (over by Italy). Then, as adults, they swim all the way back here, to the same beach, lay their eggs! Sounds like bigger bragging rights than those pacific salmon!


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