Orange City, FL
About 30 miles east of Daytona Beach, is Blue Springs Florida State Park. Every year from November through March, the Florida Manatees leave the cooler water of the St. Johns River and gather in the fresh water springs which remain a comfortable 72 degrees year round. This should be a must see for anyone visiting the Daytona Beach area in the winter months. Take the one third mile self guided tour o the boardwalk with plenty of observation platforms with breathtaking views of natural Florida.
While walking through the lush landscapes be sure to keep your eyes on the plants and trees as well as the water. You’ll find so much more than you expected to see. However, if you want to get a closer view of what’s going on down the river you can always rent a kayak or canoe. You can also take a narrative nature cruise on a pontoon boat or take a guided kayak tour.
These graceful Manatees are always smiling. We had such a great time viewing them and they were so close we could almost reach out and touch them, but don’t be tempted! To potect the endangered animals, swimming and diving are suspended during these months and any attempt to swim or harass the manatees is prohibited.
If you can’t make it to Blue Springs in the winter, don’t worry, there is lot’s to do in the spring and summer as well. There is swimming in designated areas, kayaking, canoeing, boating, tubing, diving, snorkeling, camping primitive style and also cabins you can rent. Nature hiking trails, picnicking, a playground for the kids, lots of BBQ pits and tables, sunbathing and self guided tours in the Thursby house! Whew!
A car of 2 or 4 cost $6.00 to get in the park, larger vehicles are slightly higher. If you bring your own water toys and picnic, that’s all you spend for an entire day of fun! Renting water toys is additional, of course and if you want to take the eco boat tour that’s about $22.00 per person at this writing. There are only concessions and soda machines around the bathrooms and gift shop, so if your going to spend the day, bring your lunch, because once you leave the park, you have to pay to get back in and if the park has reached it’s parking capacity you may not get back in at all.
See you at the Beach!