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RV camping at Silver River State Park will give you access to approximately 5,000 acres of state park land to explore. While motorhome camping here, you’ll be in the north-central area of Florida’s panhandle, between Ocala and Ocala National Forest, and about 40 miles south of Gainesville. One of the easiest ways to see the area is to book an RV in Marion County. Just be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen to help shield you from the Florida sun.
Silver River State Park can trace its tourism history back into the 1820s when tourists and visitors first poled their way along the narrow streams of the river to see the area. After the invention of the paddlewheel, Silver River and the nearby springs became a distribution center for the area, with plantations growing plenty of vegetables, tobacco, and oranges to ship out from nearby Ocala. It wasn’t until 2013 that the area began being managed by the Florida Park Service, and with that acquisition, an additional 213 acres were added to Silver River State Park.
There are a lot of outdoor adventure opportunities to keep you busy while camping at Silver River State Park, including both land and water-based activities. Bicycling is popular at the park, and there are a few miles of paved trails to explore, in addition to many more miles of off-road mountain biking trails. Biking is also permitted on all sidewalks and roads within the park, so be sure to bring your bike while packing your rental RV.
Birding also brings many guests to the park, as Silver River State Park is part of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail system. The park contains a plethora of upland habitat, and it is possible to spot wild turkeys, bobwhite quail, American kestrel, woodpeckers, and more. While looking for birds in the swamp and wetlands of the park, keep your eyes peeled for ducks, wading birds, limpkin, and other similar species.
Of course, boating is one of the most popular activities at Siver River State Park. Although there is no boat launch within park boundaries, guests can launch their boats at the nearby Ray Wayside County Park. There are many opportunities to explore the area even for Silver River State Park campers who don’t have their own boat, as many tour companies provide glass-bottom boat tours throughout most of the year.
Campers can easily park and stay overnight at Silver River State Park, just be sure to reserve ahead of time when you’ll be visiting during peak tourist season. There are just under 60 RV compatible sites, split between two campground loops. The maximum RV length allowed at any of the campsites is 50 feet, and each site has its own water and electricity hookups with 50 amp service. Two campsites are ADA accessible.
Additionally, every campsite has a fire ring, a barbeque grill, and a picnic table for added convenience. There are centrally located dump stations throughout the park, and campers can purchase firewood from the ranger station. Pets are welcome as long as they are kept restrained on a short leash at all times and are well behaved. This part of Florida tends to be rather hot and muggy during the summer months, so be sure to bring the appropriate clothing while camping with an RV in Silver River State Park.
One of the easiest and most convenient places to learn about the local history of the area is at the Silver River Museum and Educational Center. This museum is open to the public on weekends and some holidays and is composed of two extensive exhibits that cover Florida’s geology, archeology, paleontology, and natural history. There are many interactive exhibits to keep children entertained, and plenty of unique things for adults to learn, too.
More museums can be found in Ocala, just west of Silver River State Park. In Ocala, you’ll find many different options to explore. The Marion County Museum of History and Archeology, which was opened in 2011 and includes Native American artifacts, is a great destination for families. On the other hand, the Discovery Center is a kid-focused museum that is filled with interactive exhibits focusing on science and space exploration.
Given that Ocala is a decently large city, it is no surprise that there is a diverse collection of restaurants. In downtown Ocala, you’ll find plenty of places that are easy to walk to after visiting a museum, including pizza, Southern, American, Chinese, and more. In other places throughout town, there are fried chicken joints, breakfast-centric diners, Korean BBQs, upscale restaurants, and more.