Cross the St. Johns River in Old Florida Style on the Fort Gates Ferry
By Gary McKechnie
Although the experience only lasts a few minutes, I’ve never forgotten how magical it was to discover the Fort Gates Ferry.
Getting there (from the west side, at least) requires driving into the Ocala National Forest on Highway 19 near Salt Springs and then into the forest itself for a drive down a long dirt avenue called Forest Roads 62 and 29. From there, you simply wait for the ferry.
The ferry, Florida's oldest, is a single floating barge propelled by a single small boat, accommodates a limited number of vehicle (trucks, cars, motorcycles) at a time and arrives once you reach the shore and honk your horn for service.
Its remote location, the nostalgic feeling of the fish camp/motor court on the eastern shore, the few and far-spread homes along its shores, the pure beauty of the St. Johns River, make this Old Florida experience a must.
Except on Tuesday, when it’s closed.
When you go...
Fort Gates Ferry
229 Fort Gates Ferry Road