The Silver River

Silver Springs, FL

The Silver River is one of the most beautiful and serene rivers in Florida. Located in Silver Springs, it’s one of the most unspoiled and unique rivers in America and is definitely worth a visit.

THE RIVER

The Silver River is the outflow for Silver Springs.  Due to the immense water flow, the Silver River has a swift current and is surprisingly deep. My Garmin sonar measured multiple spots over 30 feet deep as I meandered up the river. In addition, the water remains very clear throughout and creates a scene of immense beauty as it cuts through the forest. It’s also worth noting that swimming isn’t allowed on the Silver River. 

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SPRING HEAD

There are 30 springs that make up Silver Springs and they produce a daily flow of 500 million gallons of crystal clear, 72 degree, fresh water. The flow works its way down the Silver River and eventually to the Ocklawaha River, St. John’s, and Atlantic Ocean.

NAVIGATION HAZARDS

The Silver River is a waterway that requires your attention when navigating by boat. The primary reason is because so many huge trees have fallen over the river in past years. Consequently, it’s pretty easy to hit one with your motor if you stray too close to the banks or aren’t paying attention. I counted roughly three submerged trees that, although cut, could’ve gotten me if I wasn’t watching because they were only one to two feet below the surface. In addition, some of the elbows in the river have shallow banks that stick out surprisingly far.

WILDLIFE

I can honestly say that there are very few Florida places I’ve seen that have the unspoiled feel of the Silver River.  The wildlife witnessed is a nature lovers dream. Countless birds, eagles, ospreys, alligators, snakes, turtles, manatees, fish and even monkeys are routinely observed.

MONKEYS!

Yes, that’s correct! The banks of the Silver River are lined with resident Rhesus Monkeys. The monkeys were brought in after the movie “Tarzan” was filmed here in the ’30’s. Today there are an estimated 300+ monkeys that call this area home. In fact, there are likely much more as some have been found as far north as Jacksonville.  Despite the vast number of monkeys, there’s no guarantee you’ll see them when you visit. In fact, I looked all day and didn’t see one.

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AMAZING HISTORY

I didn’t appreciate the history of the Silver River and Silver Springs until after I visited. It was then that I found out that this beautiful location was home to over 20 movies. Stars like James Dean, Gary Cooper, and Lloyd Bridges filmed here. The most famous movies are Tarzan, The Creature From the Black Lagoon and the tv series “Sea Hunt”.  Another thing I didn’t realize is there are a few movie props still visible under the water’s surface. I had no idea. So cool!

BOAT LAUNCH

The best place to launch your boat is from Ray Wayside Park. The park is located approximately five miles from the spring head and consists of two boat ramps, restrooms and plenty of parking. There’s a nice staging dock and a separate kayak/canoe launch. The cost for park use is $5 per vehicle.  More information about Ray Wayside Park can be found HERE.

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KAYAK SUGGESTION

The Silver River has a pretty swift current. As a result, kayaking the entire five miles against it would be really difficult. If you want to kayak the river, especially the part closest to the spring head, I would suggest that you rent and launch your kayak from within Silver Springs State Park. There’s a small launch fee of $4 if you bring your own kayak. If your goal is to simply explore the area near the boat launch then I’d definitely recommend leaving from Ray Wayside Park.

I utilize the service and benefits of Boat U.S.  They are a great organization that every boater should consider. You should too.  Click HERE to learn more. 

BOAT INFO

LAT/LONG:
29.21’58”N 82.04’92”W

SETTING:
Freshwater Spring, Unspoiled, “Old Florida”

SPRING BOTTOM:
Sandy Pockets, Grass Beds, Fallen Trees

ANCHORING:
Sandy Areas

BOAT RAMP:

Ray Wayside Park

SHOWERS:
No

BATHROOMS:
Yes

COST TO ENTER RIVER

$5 Per Car

WATER CLARITY:
Very Clear

Click on the 360 Video below for an immersive look at this location

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