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Island Lake is a 130-acre spring fed lake in Marion County, Florida. This private lake has no public access, making it a perfect winter or summer retreat for those who prefer a quiet and peaceful setting with limited competition for fishing and boating space. Located 20 minutes from the natural beauty of Silver Springs and a short drive from the lush grounds of the Ocala National Forest, it is no wonder that picturesque Island Lake is one of Florida's most fiercely kept secrets.
Many vacation rentals and lakefront real estate on Island Lake offer private boat ramps and docks that stretch out over the water. Fish from your own dock or take a boat out on the calm water to truly enjoy the serenity of the area. Toward the northern end of the lake, you will find the island that gives the lake its name. Marion County is primarily an outdoor recreation area where residents and visitors enjoy all the perks of living in a warm climate. Fish in Island Lake include largemouth bass, crappie, catfish, perch, bream, shellcracker, and bluegill. Note: Although most fish taken from Florida's waters are safe to eat, refer to the Florida Fish Advisory (link below) before eating fish caught from Island Lake or any Florida waterway.
Further opportunities for fishing, boating, and other water sports are within a short drive from Island Lake. Ocala National Forest, just east of Island Lake, is the oldest national forest east of the Mississippi River. This unique forest offers visitors year-round outdoor activities for camping, walking trails, hiking, biking and various water activities in its many springs, rivers and lakes. The National Forest also has designated areas for horseback riding and hunting.
Bicyclists visiting Island Lake will want to make use of the many trails and open roads in the area. The Santos Trailhead in nearby Ocala has received national praise for its superb mountain bike trails, which range from relatively easy-pedaling family trails to those for more experienced riders. Along with Marion County's other excellent trails, Santos has helped establish Marion as an unsurpassed place for mountain biking. You'll find bicycle rental shops along with maps to guide you in your exploration of the area.
For bird watchers, the Cross Florida region has a varied population of native birds and a large number of migratory species. Watch birds from your canoe or kayak on Island Lake or visit one of the many parks or forests in the area for a glimpse of a majestic bald eagle or a flock of snow geese passing through.
Northwest of Island Lake is the city of Gainsville, home to Florida's largest and oldest university, The University of Florida, and one of the state's premier centers of education, medicine, cultural events and athletics. Known for its historic buildings and beautiful natural surroundings, Gainesville's numerous parks, museums, cultural centers, golf courses, and lakes provide entertainment for thousands of visitors.
For a truly relaxing vacation, Island Lake offers tranquility and the beauty of nature in a private and peaceful setting. Swim, fish, motorboat, kayak, canoe, or just pull up a chair on your floating dock and enjoy the beauty of Cross Florida's gorgeous sunsets.
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