A Guide to Glass-Bottom Boat Rides at Silver Springs State Park
Everything you need to know to enjoy a glass-bottom boat tour at Silver Springs State Park near Ocala, Florida.
A day of boating is always fun—skimming above the water, catching glimpses of wildlife in the trees and on the riverbanks. But boating gets even better at Silver Springs State Park, where you can experience the world-famous glass-bottom boats that let you see what’s happening underwater, too!
These innovative boats were first invented in the late 19th century. When they launched at Silver Springs, the glass bottom boats quickly became one of Florida’s very first tourist attractions.
Silver Springs is located just east of Ocala in Marion County. It is one of the largest artesian springs ever discovered, making it the perfect spot for visitors to scope out fish, manatees, turtles, alligators and vegetation in the crystal-clear waters beneath the boats. Look closely and you’ll even see a dugout canoe dating back to the 1500s resting on the riverbed, a relic of the area’s Native American settlers.
From the historic design of the boats to the serene setting of the Silver River, stepping aboard a glass-bottom boat tour feels a bit like stepping back in time. So discover Florida’s untouched history at Silver Springs State Park. Plan your visit to Silver Springs, including a glass-bottom boat tour, with this helpful guide!
When are boat tours available?
Glass-bottom boat tours depart about every 30 minutes from 10 am to 6 pm year-round. Regular glass-bottom boat tours run about 30 minutes. For those curious to know even more about Silver Springs, extended 90-minute tours are available Friday through Sunday at 11 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm. During the 90-minute cruise, your boat captain will share the rich history of the springs while pointing out wildlife on land and underwater.
How much do the boat tours cost?
Admission to Silver Springs State Park is $8 per vehicle. The park is open 365 days per year, including holidays from 8 am until sundown. For complete park pricing and fees, click here.
30 Minute Tour Tickets
Seniors 55+ $12
Children 6-12 $12
Children under 5 ride free.
Extended 90 Minute Tour Tickets
Seniors 55+ $20
Children 6-12 $20
Children under 5 ride free.
Can I reserve my tickets ahead of time?
Yes, you can reserve your tickets online here. Advanced reservations are highly encouraged for the 90-minute tours.
Can you swim in Silver Springs State Park?
Swimming is not permitted in Silver Springs State Park. Visitors may enjoy the river and waterways on a glass bottom boat ride, kayak, or canoe.
Are dogs allowed at Silver Springs State Park and on boat tours?
Dogs must be leashed at all times and are welcome in most outdoor areas of the park. Dogs are not permitted to join you on the glass bottom boat tours. Service animals are welcome in all park areas. For more information visit the tour website.
Are there on-site dining options?
Bring your own lunch and take advantage of the park’s many picnic areas and grills. The on-site dining options include casual options and healthy fare at Spring Side Cafe, along with ice cream and other sweets from Paradise Treats. These dining options are currently closed for renovation and expected to re-open early 2023.
Are the glass-bottom boat tours wheelchair accessible?
Silver Springs offers an accessible boat in the fleet of glass bottom boats. The boat is named Chief Potackee Betty Mae Tiger Jumper, after the only female Seminole Chief! The benches on this new boat lift up and down, making it accessible for wheelchairs and making it easier for every passenger to see the glass viewing area.
What are the other top things to do at Silver Springs, in addition to the glass-bottom boat tours?
Silver Springs State Park offers 5,000 acres of outdoor fun. Explore the river on a kayak or canoe, or go hiking and biking on 14 miles of multi-use trails. Keep an eye out for wildlife including frogs, tortoise, white-tail deer, wild turkeys, and of course many species of birds. Visit The Silver River Museum and Environmental Education Center, which offers a look into the park’s past, including pioneer settlement buildings and exhibits highlighting local wildlife, vegetation, geology, and human inhabitants dating back thousands of years! Admission to the museum is $2 per person. The museum is usually only accessible to the public on weekends and holidays, so call before you arrive to make sure its open.
Click here for a park map and brochure.
Were famous TV shows and movies filmed in Silver Springs?
Yes, definitely ask your tour guide about the park’s history. Many of the original “Tarzan” movies were filmed at Silver Springs, along with “Creature from The Black Lagoon,” the TV series “Sea Hunt,” and more. Read more about filming in the area here.