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Florida Black Bear Scenic Byway

Florida Black Bear Scenic Byway visitors travel along the 60-mile segment of State Road 40 and spur roads to access world-class resource-based recreational adventures and outdoor learning experiences in a vibrant, scenic landscape of natural pinelands and wetlands. The corridor between Ormond Beach and Silver Springs serves as the backbone for a network of scenic roads and interpretive trails that foster an understanding and appreciation of the Greater Ocala region and its inhabitants.


Florida Black Bear Scenic Byway

From I-75: Exit #352(SR-40). Travel on SR-40E to intersection of SR-35 and SR-40 in Silver Springs. (West end of byway)

From I-95: Exit #268(SR-40). Intersection of I-95 and SR-40 is east end of byway)

Florida Black Bear Scenic Byway includes a 60 mile segment along SR-40, beginning in Silver Springs, Marion County and ending at Interstate 95 in Volusia County. The corridor also includes a 56 mile series of loop and spur roads.

Florida Black Bear Scenic Byway

Volusia County Tourism
http://www.volusia.org/

City of Ormond Beach
http://www.ormondbeach.org/

Ocala National Forest
http://www.stateparks.com/ocala.html

Silver Springs
http://www.silversprings.com/

Florida Black Bear Scenic Byway
floridablackbearscenicbyway.org/

Florida Black Bear Scenic Byway

Silver River State Park – This park has more than 10 distinct natural communities, dozens of springs, and miles of beautiful trails. The park is home to a pioneer cracker village and the Silver River Museum and Environmental Education Center. The center is open to the public on weekends and holidays. Visitors can canoe down the crystal clear river, hike or bike along one of the nature trails, or just sit and watch for the wide variety of birds and wildlife. (352) 236-7148

Ocala National Forest – The Ocala National Forest is a unique and fascinating forest that offers an accommodating climate for year round recreating. The cool crystal-clear water of Juniper Springs, Alexander Springs, Salt Springs and Silver Glen Springs entice many visitors to take a swim. Snorkelers frequently find a thrilling underwater view of fish, swaying vegetation and cavernous springs. (352) 625-2520

Silver Springs – Silver Springs is a 350-acre nature them park that surrounds the headwaters of the beautiful Silver River, the largest artesian spring formation in the world. Here you can view the underground springs from our famous glass-bottom boats, where you’ll see fish, shellfish, turtles and alligators in water that’s up to 80 feet deep and 99.8% pure. Visitors can also walk the beautiful grounds and experience the natural habitats of Florida’s largest alligators, endangered bears, and panthers. (352) 236-2121

Highlighted Spring: Juniper Springs
Juniper Springs is the most representative of all the springs of the byway – it has a swimming area by the water wheel created by the Civilian Conservation Corps to bring electricity to the area, and if you walk on the trail back to Fern Hammock Springs – you see a quiet, exquisite spring where swimming is prohibited to protect the fragile ecosystem. The historian in your group will marvel at the construction of the main spring’s millhouse, the most advanced project of the CCC in this area. The naturalist will love the flora, fauna, and spectacular beauty. The adventurer will grab a canoe or kayak and paddle Juniper Run, one of the most rewarding and challenging runs in Florida. The vacationer will splash around with the kids in the jeweled pool of the main spring.

http://floridablackbearscenicbyway.org/explore-2/springs/springs/juniper-springs/

Barberville Pioneer Settlement for the Arts
Authentic period buildings have been gathered to create this authentic settlement, including the original schoolhouse, the old Astor Bridge, a turpentine still, a church, and a blacksmith’s shop. The Settlement was established as “… to render constructive, educational, and cultural services to the community through collection, preservation, conservation and exposition of objects which are the cultural heritage of this community.” There are popular festivals in Spring and Fall with wonderful roots music and craft booths.  Check Events on FBBSB site to link to the exact dates for  April and November. Great place for kids.

http://www.pioneersettlement.org/

Silver Springs Nature Park
This is Florida’s oldest theme park. Surrounding the springs is a marvelous diversity of animals and nature you simply won’t find anywhere else. Come and explore the stunning beauty of Florida in its natural state.

    • See where TV shows and movies were filmed
    • Ride world-famous glass-bottom boats tour through the magnificent springs
    • Ross Allen’s Reptile Institute
    • Outdoor Concerts

http://www.silversprings.com/

The Yearling Locations
The Pulitzer prize-winning novel, The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings is set along this byway.
Some sites mentioned in the novel, which are great to check out, are:

  • Hike the Yearling Trail in the morning to see scrub jays, and possibly a black bear
  • Visit beautiful Silver Glen Springs and check out the and the boils trail
  • Head to Astor and Volusia, towns on either side of the St. Johns River to see more sites associated with the old town of Volusia

http://floridablackbearscenicbyway.org/about-2/history/historic-travel-guide/

World-Class Paddling
The byway features plenty of places to canoe or kayak. In addition to two major rivers – the Ocklawaha and St. Johns – there are spring runs flowing from every major spring, and lakes to be paddled as well. Here are some highlighted spots to check out.

  • Alexander Springs Run – 5 miles, 3 hours, casual
  • Juniper Creek Run – 7 mile run; 4 hours; strenuous/challenging
  • Salt Springs  – Camp with full hookup for RVs, great swimming hole, too. Close to Lake George, the St. John’s River, and the Ocklawaha River
  • Silver River State Park  – Educational museum, Cracker Village, and hiking path down to the Silver River

http://floridablackbearscenicbyway.org/explore-2/to-do/paddling/

Rodman Recreation Area
This area has some of the nicest campgrounds on the byway, with abundant fishing and boating opportunities. Great place for a picnic. Focused around the Rodman Reservoir, the Kirkpatrick Dam, and the Ocklawaha River, this recreation area is a magnet for anglers looking for bank fishing along the dam. An accessible pier and a boat ramp provide a variety of fishing opportunities.

On the opposite shore below the dam, a recreation area maintained by the Office of Greenways & Trails has an additional pier as well as an easy canoe launch into the meandering original channel of the Ocklawaha River. Ten minutes from Palatka if you want to camp out in a hotel for your expedition!
http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/ocala/recreation/wateractivities/

Family Camping: Lake in the Forest Black Bear Resort
This place is an example of one spot for those who want an all-in-one spot to let the kids have supervised activities, etc.

Located in the middle of the byway at Forest Corners, the family vacation spot has a little pool, cabins for those who don’t want to rough it as much as a tent. RVs are welcome. This is a low-maintenance way to get closer to nature with the whole family. Great jumping – off spot to wander elsewhere during the day and return for night festivities.            http://www.lakeintheforest.com/