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While kayaking at Blue Spring State Park is an excellent activity, the state park is also a winter home to hundreds of manatees. Here is everything you want to know about Blue Spring State Park FL!


The state of Florida is consecrated with hundreds of crystal clear springs and represents the world’s highest attentiveness to freshwater springs. Many of these springs, including Blue Spring, have been set aside for public use and protecting the wildlife they call their home.

West Indian Manatees

Blue Spring State Park FL


Blue Spring State Park FL, occupies more than 2,600 acres, including the biggest spring on the St. John River. The state park is also a designated manatee refuge and a winter home to hundreds of West Indian manatees. It is a remarkable place and attracts more manatees than anywhere else in the world.


Moreover, the state park is a park for all seasons. Blue Spring invites visitors to enjoy swimming and tubing after the migration of manatees in spring. In addition, kayaking at Blue Spring State Park is also a fun activity as you go with the flow of the crystal clear water surrounded by the green Shangrila.


Furthermore, Blue Spring State Park FL, is also an excellent launch site for canoes and SUPs and allows you to discover the backwaters of St. Johns. Similarly, bicyclists can enjoy excursions on shady paths in the contiguous paved spring-to-spring trail.


Blue Spring vs. Blue Springs


When making travel plans, be more cautious about ensuring you are headed to the right park. While Blue State Park, FL, is located in Orange County, two other Florida state parks have similar names.


Firstly, Lafayette Blue Springs State park is located in Mayo, Florida. Similarly, the second one is Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park in High Springs, Florida.


Blue Spring State Park FL


As a part of the largest spring on St. John, Blue Spring State Park FL, belongs to the indigenous tribe of Timucua. However, the colonization by the Spaniards severely affected the settlements of the Timucuan, forcing them to disappear by the late 1700s completely. In the 1800s, the area around the Blue Spring was settled by the earlier settler – Louis Thursby.

Blue Spring State Park FL

Blue Spring State Park FL


It is worth noting that the current Blue State Park, FL, was founded in 1970. At that time, there were only twenty manatees, but thanks to conservation efforts made by a few organizations, the population has significantly increased, and there are now more than 400 manatees. Kayaking at Blue Spring State Park allows visitors to get an up-close view of these innocent mammals.


Blue Spring State Park Opening Times


Blue Spring State Park FL, is open for visitors all year round. The opening time is from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is worth noting that since the park is a winter home to manatees, water recreations around the park and the spring run are closed to visitors during the colder months.


However, during this time, you can enjoy watching the warm springs from a distance and see manatees returning to bask. Alternatively, kayaking at Blue Spring State Park in the lagoon or Snake River is also an excellent idea.


Moreover, the park can get crowded and reach capacity, especially on the weekends. So, try to arrive early to avoid parking inconveniences. However, if you plan to land after sunset, give them a heads-up to avoid unwanted delays when traveling with kids.


The Crowd at Blue Spring State Park


Blue Spring State Park FL, generally reaches its capacity during the week and can even become more crowded on the weekends. The main reason is the park’s proximity to Deltona Beach, as many locals end up spending their weekends here. So, if you are planning a weekend tour, expect double the crowd.

Crowd at Blue Spring State Park FL

Blue Spring State Park FL


On the other hand, the summer months, from May through August, mean a steady increase in traffic. It is also when the park reaches its full capacity. So, winter months tend to be less tad busy but not a lot.


The Cost


The cost is another significant factor you should consider when planning a visit to Blue Spring State Park. It costs $6 per vehicle for parking, while all reservations can cost about $6.70. So, make sure to make a reservation with the utmost care, as the cost is strictly non-refundable. In addition, pedestrians are also welcome, with an entry cost of $2 per person.


Moreover, if you plan to stay overnight at the park, you will need to reserve a single campsite which costs around $35. Similarly, if you plan to rent a cabin, the cost can be up to $100.


Visitors who love to take a soothing dip at the cool springs or want to see manatees from a distance can spend their day by paying no more than $12. It is wise to park your vehicle at the main lot near the swimming area, especially if you like to swim. It will help you save energy for your swim. While rental canoes, snorkels, paddleboards, and kayaks are available on-site, ensure to return them on time to avoid paying extra charges.


Furthermore, indulging in water activities can cost anywhere between $30 and $40, which is relatively low than visiting a theme park in Florida. All in all, a day at the park means you shouldn’t have to pay more than $50 if you manage to avoid additional charges.


Blue Spring State Park Campgrounds


The campsite at Blue Spring State Park is to the northeast, offering easy walking access to the spring. Visitors can find 51 single-family campsites with both primitive and electric hookups. In addition to that, there are also six cabins that you can rent.


During our visit to the state park, we found these campsites equipped with all necessary amenities, including flush toilets, drinking water, dump stations, hot baths, picnic spots, playgrounds, and even gaming accessories.


Moreover, if you wish to incorporate other add-ons like additional tents, canopies, BBQ grills, campfire aids, sleeping bags, or picnic essentials, there is a camp store you can visit. Remember that while booking your campsite in advance is not necessary, doing so can help avoid unexpected inconveniences, especially when you are with family or visiting during the winter.


Furthermore, Slue Spring state park is also an incredible place that offers Bedtime Story Camper Lending Library for your little ones.


Alligators in the Blue Spring Waters


Well, when you think about kayaking at Blue Spring State park, you might be curious to know whether there are any alligators. Yes, they are there, but if you are traveling in the spring months, the area is safe due to a lot of human activity. In fact, no animal attack has been reported thus far; finding alligators are rare.


However, keeping your eyes open for “Caution” signs on the boardwalks and keeping your little ones close is still highly recommended. In case you sight an alligator, do not panic, maintain a safe distance, and call out the camp rangers for help.


Activities to Enjoy at Blue Spring State Park


While kayaking at Blue Spring State Park is a mesmerizing activity, there are plenty of other activities that you can enjoy, especially when vacationing with your family.


1.      Swimming


The calm, crystal-clear waters of Blue Spring State Park FL, are a blessing, especially when the weather is too hot. The gentle springs are also an excellent place for novices to learn and improve their swimming skills while beating the heat.


Moreover, even if you forget to bring your swimsuit, there is a camp store that you can visit to buy all the essentials at a fair cost.


2.      Canoeing and Kayaking


In addition to swimming, Blue Spring State Park is also famous for offering excellent water sports like canoeing and kayaking. Kayaking at Blue Spring State Park is a perfect sport for teens and adults alike. The still blue waters and incredibly scenic spots make the state park an idyllic location to enjoy these family-friendly activities.

Canoeing and Kayaking at Blue Spring State Park

Blue Spring State Park FL


While it is possible to bring your own kayaking and canoeing equipment, on-site rentals are also available. You can buy or rent essentials like life jackets from the gift shop located at the trail front. Furthermore, if you are too lazy or not in the mood to do all the work yourself but still want to get into the water, opt for a kayak or canoe tour via Blue Spring Adventures.


3.      Wildlife Watching


In addition to great water sports activities and camping, Blue Spring State Park FL, is an incredible place with a thriving wildlife population. Whether spring or winter, wildlife watching at the state park is still at its best, so if you plan your visit during the colder months, you can expect to see a massive population of manatees lounging in the spring sauna.


Moreover, paddling through the clear blue spring will let you spot different wading birds, kingfishes, eagles, ospreys, and anhingas. You might also spot endangered Florida scrub jays that flock to the protected habitat.


Furthermore, you may also be lucky enough to spot armadillos on the trail to the springhead. Taking an eco-tour is a good idea if you are with your family and wish to teach your kids about all of it.


4.      Biking


Blue Spring State Park features rider-friendly trails inside the springs cape if you are not keen to indulge in water activities. These laid-out biking trails are a new addition to the Spring to Spring trail. The biking trails run from the east of the drive, so you will be able to see bikers coming towards you as you drive in on the other side.


The seven miles straight, uninterrupted by any crossing drive into the wild, will take you through oak and scrub canopies. If you are camping at the park, opting for the bike gate that offers easy access to the trail is a good idea. Moreover, the bike trail eventually links the Blue Springs to a few others in Volusia County. In addition to biking, these bike trails are paved, which is also excellent for speed walkers and runners.


5.      Hiking


In addition to paved, straight biking trails, Blue Spring State Park also has a variety of hiking trails around the spring’s wilderness. You can take the half-mile boardwalk parallel to the spring run for an exquisite level 1 hike. Alternatively, if you want to amp up your adventure, you can opt for the Pine Island Trail, which begins from the lower parking area and runs all the way to the St. John River.


Blue Spring State Park FL


Moreover, the 7.3 miles of trail tunnels will take you through ancient oaks and restored scrubs, allowing you and your family to explore and take a lot of photographs.


6.      Free-Floating Tubing


Free-float tubing is for you if you are a terrible swimmer or cannot kayak but still want to enjoy an exhilarating and family-friendly activity. It’s fun, requires no skills, and is suitable for teens and adults alike. Free-float tubing at the Blue Spring State Park offers the shortest tube run among all the Florida springs but is still one of the best.

Free Float Tubing at Blue Spring State Park FL

While tubing, the tube run takes only 15 minutes from start to finish, which is especially great for keeping your little ones with short attention spans engaged. Moreover, it is also more relaxing, gentle, and safe than most other Florida springs.


Furthermore, rental tubes are available on-site, and you can rent one for $5 from the gift shop. However, if you decide to bring your own, ensure that it complies with the height restrictions enforced by the park’s authority (6’ x 6’).


7.      Volksmarching


Have you ever heard about Volksmarching? Well, it is a form of mass walking that originated in Germany. When you are at the Blue Springs State Park, you may find it hard to miss the “FVA” symbols marking the forest paths and woodland trails in the upper campground area.


Blue Spring State Park FL


Volksmarching is incredibly fun as you can walk with a group of families or friends. Joining a Volksmarching group while through the wilderness is especially fun if you like to make new friends and enjoy discovering nature. However, you must stay updated to know when these events ring the bell.


8.      Visit the Thursby’s Cabin


Besides birdwatching, wildlife, and water sports activities, Blue Spring State Park FL, also has something special – the Thursby’s Cabin. If you have any interest at all in history, you will surely love to visit the historic home of the Thursby family. The cabin was built in 1872 and had the honor of being in the US National Registry of Historic Sites.

Blue Spring State Park FL


Its décor and architecture are fascinating and tell a lot about the local history of the land. During our visit, we found it a fantastic slice of Americana.


Guidelines for a Family Trip to Blue Springs State Park


  • If you plan a family visit to hike or camp at the Blue Spring State Park, bring a first aid kit and a Swiss knife with you. Additionally, ensure to get the contact numbers of camp rangers and staff from the rangers’ office.
  • Using a broad spectrum SPF and waterproof variety is essential if you plan to swim. The park has changing rooms you can use before and after your swim. Moreover, there is also a gift shop and camp store from where you can get all the essentials at a fair price.
  • Do not forget to carry tons of toilet paper, diapers, extra towels, napkins, and hand sanitizers.
  • Pack the items you need outdoors in a waterproof bag that you can access easily. For instance, you should have a GPS, map, water bottle, and snacks in your bag.
  • If you are planning a summer trip, remember that insects and mosquitoes can cause a lot of trouble. So, carrying a child-safe bug repellent is wise to protect you and your family.
  • It is worth noting that state parks have designated places to protect endangered species, so avoid disturbing the wildlife and enjoy your time.


Wrapping Up


That’s all about Blue Springs State Park, FL. The state park, with great outdoor activities, has something for everyone. It is a perfect spot to visit with your family and friends and explore what it offers. From swimming to wildlife watching to Volksmarching and kayaking at Blue Spring State Park, there are tons of activities that you can enjoy.


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