Immerse yourself in nature’s beauty at Blue Spring State Park. Crystal-clear springs, wildlife wonders and endless adventures await.
Nestled in the heart of Orange City, Florida, Blue Spring State Park stands as a testament to the breathtaking beauty of nature. With its crystal-clear springs, lush landscapes and diverse wildlife, this enchanting destination offers visitors a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
About Blue Spring State Park
Gold Rush prospector turned orange-grower Louis Thursby purchased Blue Spring in 1856. Thursby’s Blue Spring Landing was a hotbed of steamboat activity, shipping tourists and goods to Jacksonville and beyond. The Thursby house, built in 1872, still stands and was used for hosting steamboat passengers as they made their way up and down the river.
The Forgotten Mermaids was filmed at Blue Spring in 1971. This brought attention to the manatees and the importance of Blue Spring as a winter refuge. This greatly influenced the state’s decision to purchase the land in 1972.
Recognizing the ecological importance of the spring and its surroundings, the state has actively engaged in conservation efforts to preserve the natural beauty and biodiversity of Blue Spring State Park. The park is particularly known for its role in manatee conservation, providing a crucial winter habitat for these gentle giants.
Just like Green Lakes State Park, Watkins Glen, and Muskegon State Park provide a haven for outdoor lovers, Blue Spring State Park does as well. The entire family will enjoy all of the diverse activities at this park. If you’re on the hunt for amazing waterfalls, be sure to visit Taughannock Falls State Park.
Before you go, just realize that winter months mean manatee season. Because of this, Blue Spring State Park is closed to all water activities. This includes swimming, snorkeling, diving, tubing, canoeing, kayaking and paddleboarding.
“I’ve visited Blue Springs since I was a child! I used to love spending all day there with my family. The water is so fresh and cold! If you’re lucky, you’ll see manatees swimming along the docks. Snorkeling opens up an entire world under the surface!”
— Mandy, Mandy Brooke
Things to do at Blue Spring State Park
Blue Springs State Park offers a variety of activities for nature enthusiasts. Here’s a list of things to do during your visit:
Witness the awe-inspiring sight of gentle manatees in the winter months as they seek refuge in the warm waters of Blue Spring. The park’s designated viewing areas offer a close-up look at these magnificent creatures.
Take a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear spring waters during the warmer months. The designated swimming area provides a relaxing and picturesque setting for a leisurely swim. If visiting in the summer months, don’t forget to wear sunscreen.
Kayaking and canoeing
Explore the scenic St. Johns River by renting a kayak or canoe. Paddle through the winding waterways and experience the park’s natural beauty from a unique perspective.
Embark on the park’s well-maintained hiking trails, each offering a chance to immerse yourself in the lush vegetation and observe native wildlife. The Pine Island Trail is a 3.6-mile hike, one way, providing a glimpse of Florida’s diverse ecosystems. If you’re looking for amazing hikes, visit one of these national parks in Utah.
Bring your binoculars and camera to spot a variety of wildlife. The park is home to various bird species, including herons, egrets, and ospreys. Look for turtles, deer, and other critters along the trails.
Enjoy a picnic in one designated area surrounded by the park’s natural beauty. Pack a lunch and savor your meal in the shade of towering trees or near the tranquil waters.
Blue Spring is a popular destination for scuba divers. If you’re certified, explore the underwater world of the spring, where you’ll encounter limestone caves, fish, and other fascinating features.
Capture the natural beauty of Blue Springs State Park through photography. The vibrant colors, wildlife, and scenic landscapes offer endless opportunities for stunning shots.
Extend your stay by camping in the park’s designated camping area. Wake up surrounded by nature and embark on early morning hikes or simply enjoy the serenity of the campsite.
Things to do near Blue Spring State Park
Blue Spring State Park is in a region rich with natural beauty and recreational opportunities. If you’re planning a visit to Blue Spring State Park, here are some nearby attractions and activities to enhance your experience:
St. Johns River cruises
Consider taking a scenic boat cruise along the St. Johns River. Tour operators offer guided excursions showcasing the river’s diverse ecosystems and wildlife. Keep an eye out for manatees, dolphins, and various bird species.
De Leon Springs State Park
A short drive away, De Leon Springs State Park offers additional outdoor activities such as swimming, canoeing, and hiking. The park is also known for its historic Old Spanish Sugar Mill Restaurant, where you can cook your pancakes at your table.
Blue Spring Manatee Festival
If you’re visiting during winter, don’t miss the annual Blue Spring Manatee Festival. Held in nearby Orange City, this event celebrates the seasonal arrival of manatees to the warmer waters of Blue Spring.
Hontoon Island State Park
Accessible by boat, Hontoon Island State Park is a peaceful island retreat along the St. Johns River. Explore nature trails, observe wildlife, and enjoy a quiet picnic in this pristine natural setting.
Historic Downtown DeLand
Take a short drive to DeLand and explore its historic downtown area. Wander through charming streets with shops, galleries, restaurants, and cafes. DeLand is known for its vibrant arts scene and historic architecture.
Wekiva Springs State Park
For more outdoor adventures, head to Wekiva Springs State Park. This park offers opportunities for hiking, canoeing, and wildlife viewing. The crystal-clear spring is popular for swimming and cooling off on a hot day.
Casselberry art and music in the park
Check the local events calendar to see if any festivals or events are happening in nearby towns. Casselberry, for example, hosts art and music in-park events that showcase local artists and musicians.
Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens
Located in Sanford, the Central Florida Zoo is a fun, family-friendly attraction. It features a variety of animals, botanical gardens, and interactive exhibits.
If you’re willing to take a slightly longer drive, Daytona Beach offers sun, sand, and a vibrant beach atmosphere. It’s a great option for a day trip to experience the iconic Florida coastline.
These nearby attractions complement the natural beauty of Blue Spring State Park. They provide a well-rounded experience for visitors seeking outdoor adventures, cultural exploration, and relaxation.
Blue Spring State Park is a haven for nature lovers. From the mesmerizing blue springs to the diverse animals that call this park home. Every visit is a chance to connect with the wonders of the natural world. So, pack your sense of adventure and embark on a journey to Blue Spring State Park.
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This article originally appeared on Food Drink Life.