Kayaking with Monkeys at Silver Springs State Park

Wait, isn’t Silver Springs State Park in Florida?

Yes, yes it is.

There are monkeys in Florida?

There are indeed. You can go kayaking with monkeys at Silver Springs State Park.

Silver Springs State Park Campground

RV camping at Silver Springs State Park

Let’s back up a little. First, let’s talk about the campground. I won’t have much to say because we didn’t stay very long and we didn’t do much at the campground.

Silver Springs is where we camped with Paul and Lorena of The Motorhome Experiment for the first time. We spent so much time chatting and hanging out that we didn’t get much work or exploring done. This will be a recurring theme when we hang out together, but we get better at making time for buckling down.

Our spot, site 5, was spacious and nicely shaded. Our neighbors weren’t too close, but the people next to us might argue they were too near when we were all up late talking outside.

campground site 5 at silver springs state park campground

We arrived at the campground a day before Paul and Lorena, so we did get to explore it a bit. Unlike Rainbow Springs, there is no place you can take a dip here, and the park does not permit swimming in the springs.

Here are a few more pictures from around the park. Dig those funky bathrooms!

bathrooms at silver springs state park

silver springs state park

silver springs state park

silver springs state park map

Kayaking With Monkeys at Silver Springs

kayaking prices at silver springs

getting started kayaking at silver springs

Kevin and Paul kayaking at silver springs

We stayed at Silver Springs because we almost always default to a state park if we aren’t boondocking but also because we wanted to be as close as possible to the monkeys. Yes, MONKEYS!

monkey at silver springs state park

Wait, how did monkeys get to Silver Springs?

Back in the 1930s, Colonel Tooey brought the rhesus macaques to Silver Springs. He sold river cruises to tourists and put the monkeys on an island to make the tour more attractive. Monkeys can swim so the promptly left the island and had been inhabiting the surrounding woods ever since.

So, of course, seeing the only wild monkeys on the United States mainland was a bucket list item for us.

Not just monkeys – other wildlife at Silver Springs

If you kayak Silver Springs, you will see monkeys. Adults, babies, groups, singles. But that’s not all the wildlife you can see there.

monkeys at silver springs

Just on that one kayaking trip, we saw turtles, alligators, river otters, manatees, and scores of birds. You can also look down into the crystal clear water and see all kinds of fish.

turtle at silver springs

bird at silver springs

clear water at silver springs

alligator and turtles at silver springs

birds at silver springs

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Not only did we see manatees, we saw manatees trying to have some sexy time. Three of them. All together. We saw this ménage à trois after guides said there weren’t any manatees left in the springs. For reference, we were there mid-March. That’s towards the end of manatee season.

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There are also buildings and objects around from films that were shot here and old attractions.

leftover sets at silver springs

Oh, and these jerks knocked a turtle off his log with their paddle while not paying attention to what they were doing. You’re in their house – be respectful! (She says after filming manatee porn.)

disrespectful kayakers at silver springs

If you enjoy watching YouTube, check out The Motorhome Experiment’s video from our kayaking experience at Silver Springs. If you enjoy that, subscribe to their channel for more fun!

We’re not going to promise that you’ll see everything we saw, but you should go kayaking with monkeys at Silver Springs if you’re in the area. Or, even better, make it your business to be in the area to do this. We would probably put this in our top five favorite experiences on the road so far. If you aren’t comfortable with kayaking, you can take a glass bottom boat tour.

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Laura Nunemaker

About the Author

Laura Nunemaker

vegan. digital nomad. cycling. scuba. intj. former vegan bakery owner.

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