Nature-Lovers Travel Guide

Nature-Lovers Travel Guide

See Also: Who are the Naturalists, Trip Planning, Tours

Natural Springs

The world-class natural springs are a primary attraction for the naturalist. These are the more natural spring settings:

    • Alexander Springs
    • Silver Glenn Springs
    • Juniper Springs & Fern Hammock Springs
    • Salt Springs
    • Silver Springs
    • Sweetwater Springs

See Also: Swimming, The Springs, Alexander Springs, Juniper Springs, Silver Glen Springs, The Springs – Byway Video Clip

Links: Alexander Springs, Silver Glen Springs, Juniper & Fern Hammock Springs, Salt Springs, Silver Springs,
Sweetwater Springs


Pontoon Boat Ride

There are a few opportunities along the byway to take boat tours on the Ocklawaha River and the St. Johns. Contact Captain Erika or Captain Ernie respectively.

    • Captain Erika – on the Ocklawaha, Eureka
    • Captain Ernie – on the St. Johns River, Astor

Links: Captain Ernie – St. Johns River Tours, Captain Erika – Cruising Down the River


Bird Watching

The diversity of bird species along this byway is really something! Ospreys, Bald Eagles, Red-tailed Hawks, Anhingas, Double-crested Cormorants, and Scrub Jays are just a few of the many different birds to watch.

  • Great Florida Bird and Wildlife Trail
  • Spotting the Florida Scrub Jay on the Yearling Trail
  • Keep an eye out for the Osprey nest along SR 40.

Honestly, there are birds to be seen at any destination along the byway, so bring your binoculars and your camera!

Links: Great Florida Birding Trail, Ocala National Forest Birding Guide, The Yearling Trail


Short Hikes

Most visitors to the byway aren’t interested in a lengthy overnight backpacking experience, but still want to know where to find a short enjoyable and interpretive trail – especially in the heat of the summer. Here are a few ideas:

  • Salt Springs Observation Trail – 3 miles round trip
  • Juniper Springs Nature Trail – 2 miles round trip
  • Timucuan Trail – Alexander Springs – 1 mile round trip
  • Boils and Lake George Trails – Silver Glen Springs – 2 miles round

Links: More Day Hikes, Timucuan Trail, Lake George Trail, Juniper Springs Nature Trail, Silver Springs Observation Trail


William Bartram Oak (Astor/Volusia Oak)

Visit the several hundred year old oak tree nearby the St. Johns River where Bartram, a botanist, stopped in 1774.

William Bartram, a Quaker from Britain, fell in love with wild Florida in the late 1700s/early 1800s. A naturalist, painter, and visionary, he conveyed through his books a sense of the area as an Eden. This euphoric vision inspired Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge to produce great works such as the famous poem Kubla Khan. He has a famous tree, the Bartram Oak, forever associated with him along the byway in Astor. You can locate the historic oak tree by following the link below to the Byway Map.

Links: Map of the Byway, USF Professor Relates to 18th Century Naturalist