Alexander Springs + nearby places to eat, stay and shop • Authentic Florida

Last updated on January 28, 2023

Florida Sources are popular travel destinations and Alexander Springs is no exception! Alexander Springs is located in the Ocala National Forest, not far from state parks such as blue spring and DeLeon Springs.

About 60 miles north of Orlando and 80 miles southeast of Gainesville, the Central Florida Recreation area is in the northeast corner of Lake County. It is known to be one of the few first magnitude wells in Florida.

Top Attractions Near Alexander Springs Recreation Area

Alexander Springs
Photo Credit: Adventure Ocala

These are our recommendations for the top places to visit near the Alexander Springs Recreation Area, including nearby restaurants, lodging, and shopping during your trip.

Here you will find delicious diner food, relaxing accommodation and timeless shops. Check out all the places to visit on a trip to this subtropical oasis.

Alexander Springs recreation area

Alexander Springs
Source: recreation.gov

Alexander Springs is a first-magnitude spring, meaning the springhead discharges an average of approximately 100 cubic feet of water per second. That’s hundreds of liters of water!

The seven-mile long Alexander Creek empties into Alexander Springs
Source: fs.usda.gov

Known as the Alexander Run, the spring run culminates in Spring Creek. The spring pool is a popular destination with beautiful palm trees, amazing water quality and an average water temperature of 22 degrees.

Photo from St. Francis Trail
The Ocala National Forest offers many hiking trails

Alexander Springs is one of the most visited places in the Ocala National Forest. The spring is located just a few miles from the St. Johns River, off the area’s main thoroughfare, County Road 445.

There is a paved car park where you can park when you arrive. Parking spaces can fill up quickly on weekends and public holidays, so getting there early is recommended.

Things to do in Alexander Springs

Divers in Spring
Source: USDA Forest Service

Alexander Springs Recreation Area has much to offer visitors. Of course, a dip in the swimming area is the most popular part of their trip for many visitors.

Source: Soulful Yoga Connections on Facebook

Additionally, yogis have been known to practice on paddleboards, and divers find this location excellent for scuba diving.

Alexander Springs experiences

Photo of a Timucuan Trail sign in Alexander Springs
Alexander Springs Timucuan Trail

Hikers have great options here, like the Timucuan Trail, a 0.9-mile loop through a palm forest filled with cabbage palms. The area also has a trailhead with a blue marked trail that connects the area to the Florida Trail, a National Scenic Trail that is approximately 1,500 miles long.

The recreation area has a concession stand that offers limited rentals of kayaks and canoes. You can also bring your own kayak or canoe to the springs!

There is a shaded picnic area with picnic tables near the spring – the perfect place to enjoy a meal in Alexander Springs.

Camping Alexander Springs

Entrance to bathhouses
Source: recreation.gov

The recreation area is a great place for camping. It has drinking water, toilets and bathhouses. There are 67 campsites within the campgrounds, which can accommodate tents and RVs up to 35 feet, though there are no water, sewer, or electric hookups.

If you need something while camping, the concession stand sells snacks and groceries, as well as charcoal and firewood if you want to make a fire.


  • Alexander Springs is open daily from 8am to 8pm, but may close earlier depending on the season.
  • The most popular times to visit are the summer months, weekends and bank holidays. The site closes when capacity is reached, so it’s best to get there early and beat the crowds!
Florida black bear
Photo source: US Forest Service
  • Black bears are frequently sighted in the Ocala National Forest. Knowing what to do when encountering a black bear is important.
  • Planning to spend a lot of time in the Ocala National Forest area? You may want to purchase the Ocala National Forest/Springs Hopper Pass. For $70 per person plus tax, the pass provides year-long access to recreation areas managed by Adventure Ocala.
    It includes some of the best springs and lakes in the region. (Alexander Springs, Silver Glen Springs, Juniper Springs, Clearwater Lake, and Wildcat Lake.)

For more information, see USDA Forest Service official website.

Address of Alexander Springs: Latitude: 29.078245, Longitude: -81.577837, Alexander Springs, FL 32702

Where to eat near Alexander Springs: Castaways Restaurant

Greeting sign next to bench and Yeti
Source: Shipwrecked Restaurant

Castaways Restaurant is a great place to visit during your trip to the Alexander Springs Recreation Area.

Castaways Restaurant Creamy shrimp stuffed flounder with mashed potatoes and asparagus

This family-run restaurant is just under 13 km from the spring and is known for its delicious food and fun theme.

Castaways Restaurant Steak and Broccoli
Source: Shipwrecked Restaurant

This laid-back spot offers a menu that’s a mix of seafood and diner fare.

Source: Castaways Restaurant on Facebook

Try one of the delicious seafood appetizers or the broccoli and cheddar bites. Don’t miss out on great specials like Surf & Turf Slider.


  • Castaways Restaurant is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday from 11am to 10pm and Friday and Saturday from 11am to 11pm. Wednesday closed.
  • There is a children’s menu.
  • This restaurant accepts take away orders.

For more information, see Castaways Restaurant Official Facebook Page.

Castaways restaurant address: 23525 FL-40W, Astor, FL 32102

More restaurants near Alexander Springs:

  • Sparky’s place24646 FL-40, Astor, FL 32102
  • Family restaurant Rosengarten1455 FL-40, Astor, FL 32102
  • Essex Seafood House1360 West, 1360 FL-40, Pierson, FL 32180

Accommodation near Alexander Springs: Runaway Bay Lodge

Yurt at Runaway Bay Lodge
Source: Runaway Bay Lodge

Runaway Bay Lodge is a wonderful place to stay near Alexander Springs. This lodge is located approximately 30 minutes from the Lake George Recreation Area. The scenic spot is a favorite among many who stay in the region.

Aerial view of the water
Source: Runaway Bay Lodge

Runaway Bay Lodge in Seville, Florida offers a variety of different accommodation options to choose from. There are waterfront lodge rooms, quiet yurts, and other great, cozy options.

Runaway Bay Lodge offers on-site activities. Enjoy yoga, meditation, kayaking, games and more during your stay.

John boats are free to use. You can also hire motors to help get you to some great fishing spots.

people kayaking
Source: Runaway Bay Lodge

If you are interested in a boat tour, the lodge offers a private 3-hour scenic boat tour tailored to your interests. Whether you are interested in fishing, photography or exploring the area’s natural beauty, this is a fantastic option!


  • Runaway Bay Lodge is open daily.
  • Check in is at 3pm. Check out is at 11am.
  • If you’re celebrating a special occasion, check out the special packages you can add to your reservation, like the Romance Package or the Picnic Hamper for two.
  • A daily cleaning service is not provided.
  • Well behaved dogs are allowed with prior approval and at an additional charge per night.

For more information, see official website of Runaway Bay Lodge.

Address of Runaway Bay Lodge: 1610 Lake George Rd, Seville, FL 32190

Other places to stay near Alexander Springs:

  • Shamrock & Crown Bed & Breakfast12971 SE Highway 42, Weirsdale, FL 32195
  • Astor Bridge Marina and Motel1575 FL-40, Astor, FL 32102
  • Hotel Pierson107 S Volusia Avenue, Pierson, FL 32180
  • Riveria Resort & Marina2760 Botts Landing Rd, DeLand, FL 32720
  • cottage by the lake222 Tangerine Avenue, Lake Helen, FL 32744

Shopping near Alexander Springs: The Orange Shop

The Orange Shop
Source: Florida State Library and Archives

The Orange Shop has been around for over 80 years. Located about 50 miles from Alexander Springs, this place is worth the trip! The store opened in 1936 and sold hand-picked seasonal fruit to travelers passing by on US 301.

Not much has changed since the Orange Shop opened – the shop offers great customer service and the best citrus around.

Here you can buy all kinds of sweet treats.

  • Seasonal varieties of oranges, grapefruits and tangerines
  • Treasure
  • jelly
  • jams
  • Coated pecans
  • Desserts like pecan pie and key lime ring cake.

Be sure to check out this timeless Florida store during your trip!


  • The Orange Shop is open daily from 8am to 5pm, seasonally from October to mid-May.
  • Shipping is available for many items.

For more information, see official Orange Shop website.

The Orange Shop address: 18545 US-301, Citra, FL 32113

More shopping near Alexander Springs:

  • Six Gun Plaza4901 E Silver Springs Blvd, Ocala, FL 34470
  • Sportman’s Lodge & Store12959 NE 250th Ct., Salt Springs, FL 32134
  • Scrambletown Country Store15480 NE Highway 314, Silver Springs, FL 34488
  • forest mall15940 FL-40, Silver Springs, FL 34488

If you enjoyed this article on the best places to eat, stay, and shop near Alexander Springs and are looking for a few other recommendations, check out these suggestions:


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