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Manatee in Blue Spring

Blue Spring is a state park that is west of Orange City, in Volusia County.


The park is open from 8AM until sundown, 365 days a year.

The park frequently reaches capacity during the week and on the weekends, during the winter and summer months. To avoid waiting, visit the park early.


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 can navigate the outlet's swift-flowing waters when manatees are not present.


Flora and fauna[edit]

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. Manatees come in the winter.


Get in[edit]

Sign marking the park's protected status

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 lead to the spring.

Fees and permits[edit]

Admission (Feb 2018):

  • $6 for 2-8 people in a vehicle.
  • $4 for a single-occupant vehicle.
  • $2 for pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers, passengers in vehicle with holder of Annual Individual Entrance Pass.

Get around[edit]

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


The spring is pretty, and can be viewed from a boardwalk.


Buy, eat, and drink[edit]

There is a small gift shop with manatee-themed items and snacks. There are three picnic pavilions and grills if you're bringing food to the park. The Park amenities page has more details.

For more options, there are restaurants in Orange City and DeLand.



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


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

  • Camping (Feb 2018): $24 per night, plus tax, plus a non-refundable $6.70 reservation fee. Includes water and electricity.
  • Cabins (Feb 2018): $95 per night, plus tax, plus a non-refundable $6.70 reservation fee.

For campers who plan to arrive after sunset, call the park on the day of arrival at +1 386 775-3663 to get the gate combination and instructions.

Stay safe[edit]

You may not touch, feed or ride on a manatee. They are an endangered species, so messing with them is illegal.

Go next[edit]

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

This park travel guide to Blue Spring State Park is a usable article. It has information about the park, for getting in, about a few attractions, and about accommodations in the park. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.