Salt Springs is one of the Ocala National Forest’s top destinations for snorkeling. In its shallow pool of slightly salty water, constantly at 74°F, snorkelers can spot several species of fish, as well as blue crabs.

Salt Springs
Salt Springs

How to get there – Snorkeling Salt Springs

Salt Springs is located in the Ocala National Forest, approximately 1.5 hours drive north of Orlando and 30 minutes drive south of Palatka. The entrance fee is $6.50pp./day, + parking fee.

Salt Springs snorkeling map

Water entrance for snorkeling Salt Springs

Two concrete stairways on the north bank of the spring provide an easy water entrance.

Salt Springs snorkeling tips

The snorkeling area, which corresponds to the swimming area, is about 330ft/100m long by 165ft/50m wide.

It is delimited by a rope. In the pool, the depth is less than 6ft/2m almost everywhere, except near the vents, where it can reach 20ft/6m.

Orinoco sailfin catfish and blue crab
An Orinoco sailfin catfish/plecostomus (Pterygoplichthys multiradiatus) and a blue crab encountered in the rocky areas near the vents.

The presence of potassium, magnesium and sodium makes the spring water slightly salty, which has earned it its name “Salt Springs”. The water of the spring is constantly at 74°F (around 23°C), making snorkeling pleasant all year round.

The pool has quite varied beds, with areas of sand, rocks, and other covered with aquatic plants. Several species of fish, including mullets and Orinoco sailfin catfish, live here.

You will also encounter many blue crabs on the sand or around the rocks.

School of mullets
A school of mullets spotted in the pool.

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

There’s a campsite about 1/3 of mile/500m on foot from the spring. Otherwise, there are several restaurants and accommodations around Lake Kerr, a short drive away.

 

  • Level required Beginner
  • Protected areaOcala National Forest
  • Maximum depth20ft/6m near the vents
  • Water entranceFrom concrete stairs
  • Visitor numbersMedium to high
  • Access costsEntrance fee $6.5pp/day + parking fee
  • Public toilets & showersYes

MAP Spot

These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.