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Blue Spring State Park Is Florida's Crystalline Manatee Playground


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Blue Spring State Park is located in Central Florida, just north of the Orlando area, right outside Orange City. Situated along the St. Johns River near the border of Volusia County, it is just one in a cluster of outdoor spaces that include destinations like Hontoon Island State Park, Lower Wekiva River Reserve State Park, and Seminole State Forest. The largest spring in the St. Johns River basin, the 72-degree water that feeds the spring area, is also winter home to hundreds of West Indian Manatees.

In addition to being a designated manatee refuge, the park is full of crystal spring water swimming areas and a destination for all types of aquatic activities such as boating, snorkeling, scuba diving, and more. If you're looking for an authentic Florida outdoor experience you won't find anywhere else, plan your trip to Blue Spring State Park today!

Blue Spring State Park Manatees

Image taken at Blue Springs State Park

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One of this Florida state park's most popular features is its manatee viewing opportunities. When winter comes, so does manatee season, and visitors can expect to see quite a few sea-cows who've swum all the way inland from the Daytona Beach area.

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However, when these enchanting creatures arrive, some day-use activities might be compromised to protect the gentle giants. In the end, it's a small price to pay to show the big lumps some love.

The Other Blue Springs State Park

Hold on a second! There's also a state park named Blue Springs (emphasis on the "s") in Florida's neighbor state of Alabama for some unfortunate reason. We're not here to discuss that park. With any luck, we'll have an article about this Alabama analog sometime in the future.

Things to Do in Blue Spring State Park

Manatees at Blue Springs

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Water Activities: The park's primary draw is its wide range of aquatic attractions that are sure to float your boat, wet your whistle, and other punny adages. These include but are not limited to swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, tubing, and fishing.

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Boat Tours and Rentals: A couple of boat tour outfits operate in the area, most of which are dedicated to Manatee viewing. Meanwhile, the park offers canoeing and kayaking rentals for those who don't have their gear.

Picnicking: The park has several designated picnic areas with convenient picnic tables, making it a great place to barbecue with friends and family. As tempting as it may be, please don't feed the manatees hotdogs.

Wildlife Viewing: The Blue Spring Run produces some of the clearest water you've ever seen or can see right through, as the case might be. As such, visitors can get amazing views of all types of aquatic life, including beautiful tropical fish, turtles, and more.

Hiking Trails: Since the park is dedicated chiefly to its gallons and gallons of water, it only has a few scenic walks to choose from. There's the Pine Island Hiking Trail at 3.6 miles and a nice boardwalk that should keep you from getting gobbled up by alligators.

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Thursby House: Visitors are welcome to take a self-guided tour through this historic landmark. The park also has a gift shop, so make sure to bring some fun money for souvenirs!

Awesome Accommodations

Blue Spring State Park Camping

Campers will be pleased to know the park has a campground with over 50 spots. Each one has access to convenient hookups, as well as a dump station, making Blue Spring an excellent destination for tent, trailer, and RV campers alike. Now, if only they had underwater yurts for scuba divers.

Blue Spring State Park Cabins

Along with its campgrounds, Blue Spring has a small smattering of cabins. But before you pack up your hammock and kayak, be sure to check their availability and make your reservations well in advance. Blue Spring is trendy, and you don't want to get caught in the park with nowhere to sleep after sundown!

Have any tips for folks heading to Blue Spring State Park? Let us know your secret swimming spot on our Wide Open Roads Facebook!

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READ MORE: Walk Through History on a Tour of Tallahassee, Florida

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