Why You Need Blue Springs, Orange City In Your Life

Updated: Nov 27

FUN in Blue Springs State Park – Orange County Edition, The Spring You Want To Visit

Floating in the Spring ~nature vibes~ feeling refreshing!

But first… Why should we go there? So many Springs in Florida... some close by... Let me tell you: Located 45 minutes North of Orlando, this is the farthest east Spring in Florida, located in Volusia County, and is really an outlet for the aquifer. The pressure below the aquifer releases at a rate of 100 million gallons each day right here *yes,100 million gallons a day. Being the largest Spring in the St. Johns River, is not even the most interesting thing about it, when Blue Spring is known as a manatee refuge. In cooler months it closes down while manatees gather here (the trails are open, not the Spring itself). Staying 72 degrees year-round, this Spring attracts the gentle creatures that come to be nourished by the clean spring water and native plants growing all around.

Come walk along the extra-wide boardwalk lining the .4-mile long spring run, and peer down, seeing all kinds of fish and wildlife. See it for yourself to believe the natural beauty. The river dead ends into a wooded cove where you can see down the crevice of the 120-foot-deep limestone shelves, into the spring head. Many people snorkel or even scuba dive for a closer look. This incredible feature makes this significant spot noteworthy.

~~ The deck, where all the traffic is...

From the end of the Spring looking back up.

While Blue Springs are the closest Spring to our home, it took us a while to make our way there. I know visitors can not go into the Springs while manatees are present, and that they’ve been doing some construction to reconstruct and stabilize designated shoreline areas of the Run, and repair damaged banks. Also, as this is a manatee release area for neighboring rescues, they are building a better zone for the crew. It is difficult to carry a 1200 lb. manatee with a team of 8 down these slippery banks, and the walkway there is not sufficient. This is one of the most geologically interesting locations as well as picturesque. Construction and closings were a deterrent to me. As much as I wanted to see I wanted it to be all done with the improvements... Do you ever over think something you want to do and talk yourself out of it? Yeah, please don't.

I finally decided to JUST GO and lucky for me a few of my girlfriends were readily available. One thing about being a teacher, as the summer is ending I feel like I owe it to myself to do a few bucket list items. Luckily, I have some amazing teacher friends in the same boat! I made a couple quick random texts, "Hey do you feel like going to the Springs today?" And luckily, I got an immediate taker :-)

So while two of us drove up the highway starting our 90 minute ride with Nirvana, our 3rd girlfriend was busy booking a camping spot and getting her 4 year old into the camper to drive up. She confessed Blue Spring is her favorite Spring and she just wanted to join us on the adventure! YIPEEEE!! *This girlfriend spends half of her time in her camper at any State Parks with space. She has an art to booking cancellations and heading out in a moments notice. As a mom who loves the environment and the science of our ecosystem, she couldn't resist!

I did call before we hit the road and was told that the park hits capacity around 1:00 on week days. We arrived just after noon and they were already full to capacity. I tried to tell them my girlfriend had a camping site, but they said check out for sites is 1:00, so they would still have campers on the lot. Sadly, we drove away and found a nearby park to eat our picnic lunch. It wasn't so bad I helf hopeful ad we could catch up a little. I noticed after we arrived at the little park several other cars came in also. I think we were all waiting.

An hour later we decided to try, so we returned and were ushered right in.

*Insert happy dance*

We first walked the boardwalk along the many look out points. The construction seemed to be paused for the day yet all of the vehicles and materials were waiting the workers. The Spring itself lays in a wooded native Florida habitat surrounded by nothing but nature. The air feels clean, and well filtered by all of the vegetation. On the hot and humid day we were there, the shaded walk ways felt good, and cold water looked inviting. We decided to walk the short hike first and then get in. As we walked we wondered the history and significance of this particular Spring which seemed unique. We came across several displays posting facts and history which satisfied all of our questions, giving us sincere appreciation for the land beneath us.

The Thursby Home (above, bottom right) is hard to miss and sits between the parking lots and the trail. Looking there it is worth checking out. It was built for the owners who turned the acreage into a citrus orchard. Displays in the house tell the history of the home and area. Really well done. Only the first floor is open and there's a handicap ramp in the back for easy access. Suitable for all ages. Free with admission to the park. A quick glimpse into the historical relevance, providing the story of the land.

It was HOT. Sticky. Like nasty hot weather as the day continued. We popped into the gift shop for something cold to drink and to my surprise, (I’ve seen a lot of gift shops) this was a wonderous find. From the outside a country shack. Inside, all the comforts needed! Tee shirts, necklaces, magnets, post cards, hand made items, ICE CREAAAAM, and so much more. A gem of a store with unexpectedly reasonable prices and a great selection. Super cute and practical items. I purchased a water bag, which was cheaper than I've seen in other stores. I also bought a little otter stuffy (after hearing about the otter family that lives at the Springs) I love otters.

By the time we left the air conditioned shop, our friend was pulling up in her camper across the park. We drove on over to meet her and waved her back into the spot. Like a boss she parked the 33-foot camper, hopped out, hooked up and set camp in 10 minutes flat.

We all changed into bathing suits, had a little *cheers* with little wine glasses and ran over to the Spring. Right then, the sky opened up, dumping buckets of rain, crashing thunder, cracking lightning. We walked along, looking over at the water from the view point. People were leaving in droves. The Spring quickly cleared of people. We shrugged knowing we were going to get wet in the water anyway, so we waited out the lightning and jumped in. Florida weather often does this weird thing w