If you’ve had your fill of playing in the amusement parks and just want to get out and enjoy nature, then Blue Spring State Park might be just the kind of getaway that you are looking for! It is located just North of Orlando. Now I’m not sure about all of you, but my favorite animal ever is the West Indian manatee, which lucky for me, are in various places around the state of Florida! Blue Springs State Park is one of those places. During the winter months in Florida, (Yes, we have cooler temperatures in Florida….like in the 60’s and you’ll see Floridians out in parka’s and mittens, which is quite amusing after growing up in the midwest), the manatees will swim into the springs because the water is warmer there, as the temperature in the spring remains a constant 72 degrees, where as the waters get a lot cooler elsewhere when we have cooler temps.
If you happen to be in the area during the months of November thru April, those are the peak months you’ll have the opportunity to see numerous manatees in the spring! The morning my friend, Stephanie & I decided to venture off to check out the manatees, we arrived around 11am and we got to see a good 20 or more manatees just lounging about the springs. I could have stood there and watched them all day! It was just gorgeous…everything from the crystal clear waters, the moss trees, wildlife, 80 degree weather…it was just stunning! We overheard one of the workers at the springs say when we got there that when they opened around 8am there were around 80 manatees in the springs! Can you imagine!! I’ll have to suck it up and try to be a morning person, so I can see that sight for myself one of these days!
The park has a super nice wooden board walk, with viewing area decks over the springs every so often. It makes a great place for a Sunday stroll to enjoy the sunshine & some breath taking scenery! During our visit, while watching the manatees and even some baby manatees playing around, we also see a huge gator sunning himself on the bank, a good sized turtle swimming around & tons of various fishes and birds. We even came across a curious squirrel that liked getting his picture taken. Lucky for me, Stephanie got a super nice camera for Christmas, so you can thank her for all the fabulous photos you’ll see throughout this post. Thanks Stephanie!!
Besides just coming and taking in nature like we did for a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon, Blue Spring State Park has a lot more to offer! They have boat tours on St. Johns River Cruises and Tours daily at 10am and 1pm, which is a 2 hour narrated nature cruise along the river. If you’re into camping, they have camp sites, as well as, a few cabins for those of you that can’t handle full on camping. The Manatee Gift Shop is also on site, as well as a place you can rent kayaks and canoes. Stephanie tried persuading me to get a canoe or kayak, but I wasn’t about to get in a tippy canoe or kayak when I had just seen a gator not too far away, as well as signs right by the canoes that state, “SWIM WITH CAUTION…GATORS”!
There is also swimming allowed during the summer months, but swimming with manatees is NOT permitted. If you have kids, they have an awesome playground. If you have dogs that you like to walk, they are permitted in the park. We met several friendly pooches while we walked along the boardwalk. Oh, there is an entrance fees for cars which $6 or $4 if you are by yourself, which is pretty affordable for an afternoon to relax in a gorgeous park. The park is open 8am to sundown year round, but there is a limit as to how many cars they let enter each day, so it’s best to get there early. I hope you all take the opportunity to go & enjoy Blue Spring State Park!
Blue Spring State Park
2100 W. French Avenue
Orange City, FL 32763