Lakes Along the Byway

There are literally over a hundred lakes accessible from the Byway.  Lake George, Florida’s second largest lake, dominates the region.  Lake George is a part of the St. Johns River and today provides boaters and sportsmen plenty of open water.  Extending from Lake George is Little Lake George to the north, which you can cross via the Fort Gates Ferry.  Two popular lakes for swimming and boating are Wildcat Lake (SR 40 east of SR 19) and Mill Dam Lake (SR 40 west of Juniper Springs).  Both of these lakes have sandy beaches and boat ramps.  Other popular lakes are:  Beakman Lake and Grasshopper Lake (south SR 19), Halfmoon Lake and Lake Bryant (west SR 40), Lake Dexter and Lake Woodruff (east SR 40), and Lake Kerr and Lake Delancy (north SR 19).

Lake Facts:

  • Lake George is Florida’s second largest lake: 11 miles long, 6 miles wide
  • The For Gates Ferry crosses just south of Little Lake George
  • Wildcat Lake is unusually deep and has great bass fishing
  • Lake George is fairly shallow (average 8 feet deep) and is brackish
  • Three springs flow into Lake George:  Salt Springs, Silver Glen Springs and Juniper Springs
  • Largemouth bass, speckled perch, bluegill, crappie, and shellcracker are plentiful in these lakes

Canoeing & Kayaking Florida
Florida Kayak & Canoe Meetup Group

Lake George


Lake George is Florida’s second largest lake, second only to Lake Okeechobee in south Florida. It is a shallow brackish lake on the St. Johns River. The lake forms part of the eastern boundary of the Ocala National Forest and is located east of SR 19, north of SR 40. The lake has a rich history because of its connection to the St. Johns River. Orginally known as Lake Welaka (“Welaka” meaning “chain of lakes”),which was the name for the St. Johns River among the Timucua Indians who lived in the area before the Europeans. Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, who settled St. Augustine and was the Spanish governor of Florida in the 1500’s, was the first European to discover and explore the St. Johns River. Today the river is a haven for boaters, vacationers, and fishermen.


Mill Dam Lake


Mill Dam Lake is accessible through Mill Dam Recreation Area on SR 40 just west of Juniper Springs. This lake has a large sandy beach with a roped off swimming area. There are picnic tables and grills shaded under a canopy of ancient trees. There is also a boat ramp for lake access.


Rodman Reservoir


Rodman Reservoir was formed during the days of the Florida Barge Canal when Kirkpatrick Dam was built to regulate water flow on the Ocklawaha River. Once a bone of contention due to the ecological threats to the area that the Cross Florida Barge Canal project posed, today the Rodman Reservoir is one of the great fishing lakes in the area.


Wildcat Lake


Wildcat like is one of the prettiest and most untouched lakes in the area. The lake sits on the south side of SR 40 just east of the intersection of SR 19. There is a swimming area, picnic tables, a boat ramp, and two parking lots.