Location: Orange City
Fees: $4-6 per vehicle
Open: 8 AM until sunset daily
Leashed pets welcome
Upwards of 200 manatees crowd the spring run in the chill of winter, nursing calves and begetting the next generation. The park is packed on winter weekends, so visit early or on a weekday, as the gates are closed when they reach capacity.
In 1775, botanist William Bartram marveled at Blue Spring, writing “what a surprising fountain it must be, to furnish such a stream.” He didn’t mention the manatees, but perhaps it was the wrong time of year.
Like Bartram, paddlers have the wild reaches of the St. Johns to explore, and backpackers can get close to nature along their own riverine peninsula. Notable are the ecotours along the river offered by St. Johns River Cruises from the park dock, as they – along with the park’s extensive boardwalk for manatee watching – are fully wheelchair accessible.
Explore the park
- Blue Spring State Park Boardwalk - If you’ve never seen manatees by the dozens, let alone a hundred or more, there’s no better place in Florida to watch these gentle giants drift past than near Deland along the boardwalk at Blue Spring State Park, paralleling the length of Blue Spring Run to the St. Johns River. This short, easy trail offers […]
- Pine Island Trail - Starting near the exit of the lower parking area, the Pine Island Trail at Blue Spring State Park is lesser-known and lesser-used than its popular counterpart, the Blue Spring Trail(and boardwalk) along Blue Spring Run. It might be the distance – a 7.3 mile round-trip – or the terrain. The going isn’t easy at first, […]