Ocala National Forest is a vast area of lush green forests, crystal clear springs and rivers, and remote wilderness areas in Central Florida. It is the second-largest national forest in the state, covering nearly 387,000 acres. This area is well-known for its abundant wildlife, including black bears, alligators, deer, wild turkeys and bald eagles. In addition to camping opportunities in the park itself, Ocala National Forest also boasts many free camping locations around its boundaries.
The Clearwater Lake Recreation Area is a popular spot for free camping. Located just outside of Ocala National Forest near the intersection of State Road 19 and State Road 40 in Marion County, this recreation area features two primitive campsites on its lake shore. These sites offer beautiful views of the lake and easy access to swimming, fishing and kayaking opportunities. There are no amenities such as electric or water hook-ups available at these sites; however campers are asked to bring their own drinking water.
Juniper Prairie Wilderness, located on the eastern edge of Ocala National Forest near the town of Altoona in Lake County, offers visitors a chance to get away from it all with its remote backcountry campsites. These sites are accessible only by foot or canoe as there are no roads leading into Juniper Prairie Wilderness. Campers must bring all of their own supplies with them as no amenities such as fire rings or pit toilets are available at these sites.
Alexander Springs Recreation Area, located near Altoona in Lake County is another great spot for camping within Ocala National Forest. This recreation area features both fee-based campsites and free primitive campsites that can be accessed by car or foot. The free primitive campsites are located along a short trail just off Alexander Springs Road and offer campers access to hiking trails and scenic views of Alexander Springs Creek.
Silver Glen Springs Recreation Area, also located near Altoona in Lake County offers campers another great opportunity for free camping within Ocala National Forest. This recreation area features two primitive campsites that can be accessed by car or foot from Silver Glen Springs Road. Visitors will enjoy access to swimming holes, scenic views of Silver Glen Run Creek and hiking trails.
Salt Springs Recreation Area, situated on the western side of Ocala National Forest near Salt Springs in Marion County is another great destination for free camping within the forest boundaries. This recreation area boasts several primitive campsites that can be accessed either by car or foot from Salt Springs Road or Salt Springs Run Trailhead.
In conclusion, if you’re looking for a place to camp for free within Ocala National Forest then you have plenty of options! From Clearwater Lake Recreation Area to Salt Springs Recreation Area there’s something for everyone! Whether you’re looking for a secluded backcountry experience or one filled with amenities there’s sure to be an option that suits your needs!