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Manatee in Blue Spring

Blue Spring is a state park located west of Orange City, in Central Florida.

Understand

History

The largest spring on the St. Johns River, Blue Spring is a designated Manatee Refuge and the winter home (mid-November through March) to a growing population of West Indian Manatees.

For centuries, the spring area was home for Native Americans. In 1766 it was visited by Colonial American botanist John Bartram, and was settled by Louis Thursby and his family in 1856. The Thursby house, built in 1872, remains standing. The spring´s crystal clear, 73 degree water can be enjoyed by swimmers, snorkelers, and certified scuba divers with a partner. Canoes and Kayaks cam navigate the outlet's swift-flowing waters when Manatees are not present.

Landscape

Flora and fauna

Typical for central Florida. A combination of pines, palmetto scrub, some hardwoods (especially along outlet and spring). A variety of birds (incl. endangered Scrub Jay), squirrels, fish live here.

Climate

Get in

Take US-17 from Deland or Sanford to Orange City, look for French Avenue and signs to Blue Spring State Park. There is a street called Blue Springs Avenue, but this doesn't actually lead to the Spring.

Fees/Permits

$5-10

Get around

The park is small and has several short walking trails and a boardwalk overlooking the spring and outlet.

See

The spring itself is pretty in its own right, and can be viewed from a boardwalk.

Do

  • St. Johns River Cruises, +1 386 917-0724. River boat tours.
  • Canoe rentals are available through the park.

Buy

There is a small gift shop with manatee-themed items and snacks.

Eat

Drink

Sleep

Lodging

Various motels are available along US-17 in the Deland, Sanford areas.

Camping

Air-conditioned cabins, a full-facility campground, and primitive campsites are available in the State Park.

Stay safe

Yes, manatees show up during winter. No, you may not touch, feed or ride on a manatee. They are an endangered species, so messing with them is expressly illegal.

Go next

Routes through Blue Spring State Park
OrlandoSanford  S/W US 17.svgUS 92.svg N/E  Orange CityJacksonville/Daytona Beach



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