The Ocala National Forest is an easily accessible forest that is the perfect place for the outdoors man and his family to spend a weekend. It is the oldest national forest east of the Mississippi. It is located north of Orlando and to the east of Ocala in Florida. It is a perfect place for a day-long sightseeing road trip or other outdoor activities like hunting and fishing
Fall and winter in Florida is the perfect time to enjoy outside activities. The temperature this time of year is perfect. The bugs are gone and you will have a hard time finding a snake. This time of year is what makes Florida so wonderful.
Several paved roads cross through the forest giving access to all areas. Jeep trails section the areas between the paved roads. Biking and hiking are popular activities. The Florida Trail and the Paisley Bike Trail are among the many trails that you will find. You can even go on the horse trail that meanders through the woods. These are well-maintained pathways that are perfect for wildlife viewing. It is possible to see whitetail deer, black bears, alligators, eagles, gopher tortoise and many other animals.
Camping in the Ocala National Forest is available in designated areas. These camp sites are spread though out the forest. Some camping areas are group sites where lots of people gather. Others are primitive areas for those who want to enjoy nature in the piece and quiet. There are even RV hook-ups at certain camping areas.
Some of the best freshwater fishing in the world is located in the Ocala National Forest. Fishing season is open year-round. You can catch largemouth bass, specks, panfish and catfish. There are several hundred lakes of all different sizes here. Many have boat ramps. Lake George is on the western boundary. It has some of the biggest fish anywhere. It is part of the St. Johns River.
Lots of people like to swim in the freshwater springs. The water is 72 degrees year round. More than four natural springs are in the forest. They include Salt Springs, Silver Glen Springs, Alexander Springs and Juniper Springs.
Some of the best whitetail deer hunting available to the public in Florida is in the Ocala National Forest. There are seasons for archery, muzzle loader and general gun. Archery season starts September 26. General Gun season starts November 14. All deer hunting ends January 24. That’s four months of deer hunting if you include all types of weapons. It can’t get any better than that for a hunter. Wild hogs also roam these woods. Before you go, check the regulations because not all of the Ocala National Forest is open to hunting. And some parts are only open for part of the season.
As you can see, the Ocala National Forest offers everything you can think of for the outdoors lover. When you combine that with the perfect weather Florida has in the fall and winter it is hard to think of a better way to get back to nature.