Blue Spring State Park, Florida, Attractions

Blue Spring State Park, Florida, Attractions
Located just off of the St. John's River, Blue Spring State Park near Orange City, Fla., is one of Florida's most natural areas. In the summer, you can enjoy a refreshing dip in the 73-degree F year-round water. In the winter, that same water is a haven for manatees as they escape the deadly cooler water temperatures of the main river. The spring has long been known to Americans, first explored by Colonial American botanist John Bartram in 1766.

Diving

Whether you are a certified cave diver or simply an open-water diver, Blue Spring State Park has something for you. Open-water divers can venture down 60 feet to the entrance of the cave but cannot go in it. Cave divers can go in as much as 120 feet before needing to turn around. All divers must check in at the ranger station as diving is strictly monitored and is not allowed at all times of the year. The park is a popular freshwater Florida diving location.

Swimming and Snorkeling

For those who like to do their swimming a little closer to the surface, swimming and snorkeling offer just that opportunity. Those who have masks will enjoy looking through the crystal-clear water at some of the native fish and turtles that inhabit the spring. Because the area is a manatee habitat in the winter, it is closed to all water activities from Nov. 15 to March 1.

Wildlife Viewing

The major attractions at Blue Spring State Park are the Florida manatees, which inhabit the spring during the colder months of the winter. These animals have a very low tolerance for cooler water and the spring becomes a haven for them until the temperatures heat up again. The spring is also home to many different birds, both migratory and native. The American alligator is also common, especially in the main river channel.

Boating and Kayaking

Whether it is renting a kayak, bringing your own boat or taking a tour, Blue Spring State Park can accommodate your wishes. There are even places for those who want to visit the park from other locations on the river to tie up their boats, pay the entrance fee and enjoy the day. The spots tend to fill up fast, so make sure you get there as early as possible in the day.

Camping

Blue Spring State Park also offers some of the best Florida camping in the area. There are six, two-bedroom cabins for those who don't like roughing it. For those die-hard campers, 51 campsites are available among the pine scrub, each with its own camping area, water, electricity, grill and picnic table. There is no sewage hookup at the sites, but a dump station is available inside the park.

Article Written By Kenneth Black

Kenneth Black has been a freelance writer since 2008. He currently works as a staff writer for "The Times Republican" in Central Iowa. He has written extensively on a variety of topics, including business, politics, family life and travel. Black holds a bachelor's degree in business marketing from the University of Phoenix.

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