March 2, 2017 through March 9, 2017
Juniper Springs Recreation Area
Ocala National Forest
Silver Spring, Florida
On our previous visits to campgrounds within the Ocala National Forest, located east of Ocala, Florida, we camped at Alexander Springs, Clearwater Lake and Salt Springs. On this visit to Florida we camp at Juniper Springs.
This landmark natural spring features a swimming hole, campground, picnic facilities and a mill house. It was opened to the public in 1936. We will spend eight days exploring this beautiful, subtropical area.
Florida has more natural springs than any other region in the world. There are over 600 springs in the state – some merely a trickle and others among the largest in the world. The springs maintain a constant year-round temperature of 72 degrees F.
Juniper and Fern Hammock Springs reside within the Juniper Springs Recreation Area and flow into Juniper Creek. Combined daily water flow from these two springs is about 13 million gallons. That’s enough water to fill 750 swimming pools every day!
Canoeing and kayaking a seven-mile run down the Juniper Creek is very popular year-round. Juniper Springs offers canoe and kayak rentals with pull-out service. Pull-out service is also available for visitors who bring their own canoes and kayaks. The water from the springs forms the Juniper Springs Run, one of the top 25-canoe runs in America.
Just 37 days after President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s inauguration, the first recruits joined the Civilian Conversation Corps (CCC). Between 1935 and 1936, CCC engineers designed and built the most interesting feature of Juniper Springs Recreation Area: the Juniper Millhouse. This structure was built at the foot of the main pool of Juniper Springs. Water flowing from the springs was channeled into a narrow sluice and then allowed to pour back out to its natural configuration. The rushing water that poured through the sluice turned an undershot waterwheel (so named because the water ran under instead of over the wheel). That wheel, in turn powered a generator in the millhouse that produced more than enough electricity to meet the needs of the recreation area during the early part of the 20th Century.
The Juniper Springs Millhouse no longer generates electricity, but the structure has been beautifully preserved. The stone wall at the waterwheel end is a beautiful piece of CCC masonry work.
During our eight-day stay at Juniper Springs Recreation Area, we were amazed and delighted there were no pesky mosquitoes present, day or night. What a relief, the mosquitoes in southern Florida were horrible!
Tomorrow another adventure begins.
Departed: Wauchala, Florida
Departure Time: 9:30 A.M.
Arrived: Juniper Springs Recreation Area
Arrival Time: 1:30 P.M.
Campground: Juniper Springs
Type: National Park
Latitude: N 29.17974
Longitude: W 81.71287
Camping Fee: $23.10 (50% discount with Senior Pass)
Campsite: 34 (March 2 through 4 – First Come, First Serve Campsite)
Campsite: 41 (March 5 through 9 – Reserve Campsite)
Campsite Hookups: None
Campground Amenities: Flush Toilets, Free Hot Showers, Water Spigots, Trash Dumpsters, Sewer Dump
Total Campsites: 79
Cellular Service: Verizon – 4G-2 Bars
Internet Service: Verizon Jetpack – 4G-3 Bars
Dish TV Satellite Service: Excellent service only in campsite 41. All other campsites have obstructed view of southern sky.
Total miles traveled today: 164
North on US-17
East on I-4
North on US-27
North on FL-19
West on FL-40 to Juniper Springs Recreation Area