We recently returned from a week long vacation to Florida! Our main purpose of this trip was to visit the Kennedy Space Center, but on our way to the coast, we stopped at Blue Spring State Park near DeLand, Florida. This is the first time I have ever visited a Florida state park and it did not disappoint!
I usually research the places we plan to explore, but since we ended up here as almost a last resort due to widespread rain throughout Georgia and northern Florida, I didn’t really have any information on this park. We arrived just as the St. Johns River Cruise was boarding for the 10 o’clock departure. On a split second decision, we decided to pay the $25 per person and hopped on the the boat tour. I am so glad we did this! This tour is considered one of Florida’s most popular nature-oriented tours.
The captain cruises at a slow speed (no more than 6 miles per hour) for most of the tour which allows you ample opportunities to hear and spot wildlife. The captain was very knowledgeable and had so many fun stories and facts to share. We saw so many birds and even alligators!
Below is the biggest alligator we saw and he was staring right at the camera!
We cruised south along the St. Johns River, around Goat Island and then headed back to the dock at Blue Spring State Park.
This river is unique since it is the longest river in Florida and flows south to north and then into the Atlantic Ocean. The tour lasted 2 hours and I really feel like it was well worth the $25 per person fare.
Blue Spring State Park is most known for it’s population of manatees that reside here during the winter months. The warm waters of the spring run stay a mild 72 degrees all year round. Almost 500 manatees called Blue Spring home in 2018.
During the summer months, you can swim, tube and even snorkel in the spring. I found this interesting since swimming in the springs in Missouri is prohibited. A lush canopy hangs overhead as you walk the 1/3 mile trail to the spring. We even caught a glimpse of one manatee! I enjoyed the stroll along the boardwalk.
Also, on the property is the Louis Thursby House. The Thursby family first arrived in 1856 and were the first permanent settlers at Blue Spring. The house was built in 1872 and was an iconic landmark along the St. Johns River for steamboat travelers.
We did have to pay an entrance fee to visit this park.
Once of the best parts of Blue Spring State Park is everything we did was wheelchair accessible!