Blue Springs is a unique Florida state park, known for its manatees and mesmerizing turquoise color! If you are visiting the Orlando area, this park is located less then hr away. It is located in the north eastern part of Florida, and its a great alternative to your typical Orlando itinerary. So many visitors come to Florida flocking to the theme parks, and completely bypass all the springs Florida has to offer. Don't make the same mistake, make sure you venture out to this stunning spring the next time you visit the sunshine state!
This park main attraction is it's winter population of manatees, that come down to Florida to stay warm.(Usually from November to March) I was lucky enough to catch them this spring, before they made their journey home.We counted over 30 manatees in the park that day, but these two were by far my favorite. They had secluded themselves from the larger cluster of manatees, and decided to venture out on their own.
Facts:They can't survive in water with a temperature of 60 degrees or less,known as "sea cows",herbivores, and manatees don't bite! (They simply don't have the teeth structure to do so, they only have small grinding teeth at the back of their mouth)
We absolutely loved kayaking through the spring, and getting up close and personal with all the wildlife. They also offer canoes for larger families, to venture out into the spring which are much more spacious! It's really one of our favorite activities to do when we are at any natural spring,due to the fact that it gives the whole family an opportunity to become one with nature.
St. John's River Cruises
The park also offers cruises for those wanting to see more of the spring but don't want to do any paddling.This cruise is the perfect option for you, you still get up close and personal without having to do all the work.This cruise tour is consider one of the best in Florida,and its known for its wildlife nature tour. This cruise will cost $25 for adults and $18 for kids 3 and up, kids under 3 are free!(Seniors receive a discount there cost $23) Please note: That these tour only run at 10:00 am and 1:00 pm everyday(So make sure to make it there early to buy your ticket for the day!)
This park offers trails that lead to the head of the spring, and also to some swimming and tubing areas.It also a great alternative to canoeing or kayaking, since you still get to admire the springs from different vantage points along the way. Which work perfectly for those not wanting to get in the water, but they still want to get a good look at this remarkable spring.
For over a thousand years Indians from a tribe called Timucuan, had settled in this very area. Using the spring as drinking water, and also to catch fish to feed their tribe. In the 1860's an anthropologist from the Harvard Peabody Museum discovered the mound was actually shells that the Indian discarded over a course of 100's of years.It the largest mound in central Florida made up of white and brown shells,today on top of the mound sits the Thursby house. Louis P Thursby settled here in 1855 initially with a small cabin,In the early 1900's it was expanded to what it is today.They offer tours of the house, and is a great a historical destination and great addition to this amazing spring.
They have two different areas where you can enter into the crystalline water, you can also rent a tube there for $3. Best part is that if you bring your own, they will blow it up for you for only $0.75 cents!(It does not get better then that) However you could always snorkel or scuba dive(if your certified) they have a fantastic cave for divers to explore.However be wary some divers have died here due to lack of oxygen, and lack of experience when it comes to diving in caves! (If you plan on snorkeling you should not have any issues, but you wont be able to explore the cave)
Exploring the Park
Along the park there are so many great informational guides explaining more about the history of blue spring and about all the wildlife you may see along the way! Also you reach several great landing spots along the way with glorious views, and even an adorable manatee statue! Its the ideal way for visitors to learn more about the park, and history of blue spring.
Blue Spring has plenty of areas for families to have a picnic, so please feel encouraged to bring your own food. (Although they do have a cafe on site that offers several sandwich options, and also some vending machines) Along the park you will find benches and picnic tables everywhere, so its the perfect destination for all family members!( No matter how many times you have to stop along the way for your elders in the group. This is an adventure the whole family should partake in even the grandparents!). The park is more then ready to accommodate people of all ages and sizes, and is even wheel chair accessible throughout the majority of the trails and park!
Address:2100 W French Ave, Orange City, FL 32763
Our Rating: 5
Cost: Park Entrance cost of $6 per car (8 people allowed per car)
Tips: The most IMPORTANT thing at this spring is to arrive EARLY, the park will not allow more visitors in when it reaches its capacity!