We have been to Blue Spring State Park many times over the years – as day visitors, on field trips, tent camping, and now RV camping.
Blue Spring is located in Orange City, Florida and about 40 minutes north of Orlando.
The park offers swimming, manatee viewing (usually in the winter months), kayaking/canoeing, hiking, camping, cabin rentals, picnicking, and walking trails.
Here are our favorite things to do at the park.
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Walk the boardwalk
The beautiful 1.3-mile boardwalk allows for scenic views of the spring run (from the source (boil) to the St. John’s River). It is well maintained and very family and pet-friendly. Be mindful to keep your pets leashed.
One of the best things about the boardwalk is that it is accessible to wheelchairs. I check in with Mary K.D. D’Rozario, author of “The Airstream that Ran Away with the Spoon” who’s own mobility challenges that led her to the RV life. During her visit, she noted that “visitors can be dropped off very close to a viewing area. This is extremely helpful for those who cannot walk far. It is about 300-400 feet from the closest parking to the closest viewing area, but the popularity of the location means this parking may be unavailable.”
Along the boardwalk, you will be able to see unique wildlife: manatees, gar, alligators, and waterfowl.
During the winter months, you can see hundreds of manatees as they take shelter from cold ocean waters. It is an amazing thing to see. In fact, every winter, the Manatee Festival is held to celebrate the gathering of manatees and services to raise funds for the community.
You might even catch a glimpse of brave scuba divers as they dive into the spring boil (source of the spring).
Get in the water!
There really is nothing more refreshing than a summer swim at Blue Spring State Park. Florida summers are notoriously hot and a spring swim is one of the more popular things to do, especially with the locals.
There are 2 places where you can access the swim areas:
- near the spring source/boil
- in the spring run (Swim Platform)
Click here to access the PDF map.
Once in the swim area, you can swim, snorkel, or tube down the spring run. The depth of the water varies throughout the swimming areas. Be prepared to tread water when not actively swimming.
If you decide to go tubing, you can bring your own, or rent them on site for a reasonable fee.
Keep in mind that this is a spring-fed body of water. The water will be very refreshing (72°F)!
NOTE: During the winter months, the spring run is closed to swimming, snorkeling, diving, and tubing.
YET ANOTHER NOTE: You cannot swim with manatees at this Florida State Park. If you are interested in swimming with manatees, please read this post!
Kayak/canoe rentals are available from Blue Spring Rentals or you can bring your own. We rented a canoe once and had a blast. It was affordable and something we want to do again.
In addition to kayaking and canoeing, boat tours are also available. Reservations are required for this 2 hour, narrated tour. Like the boardwalk, the boats are fully accessible for all mobility needs.
NOTE: during the winter season (usually between November and March), the spring and spring run are closed to boating.
Hit the playground!
There’s a lovely playground surrounded by picnic tables, close to the restrooms, and snack shop.
There is little to no shade on the actual playground, so sunscreen, water, and breaks in the shady picnic areas are recommended.
Bonus, the playground is not near the water, so no worries of the little ones running off into the water.
There are 51 campsites in Blue Spring State Park. All sites have picnic tables, fire pits, water, and electricity.
Comfort stations (bathroom, shower, and some with washers and dryers) are available nearby.
There is a railroad track that runs to the east of the park. You can hear the trains throughout the night. I couldn’t sleep through it when I tent camped, but the rest of the family had no issues. I didn’t really notice the trains in the RV though.
There is a maximum stay of 14 days and reservations can easily be made online or by phone.
There is a gate that locks at night, but you are given a code to enter after hours.
All campsites at the park are semi-private. Foliage blocks some of the views from campsite to campsite, but you can still see and definitely hear your neighbors.
Since we often stay at RV parks, the semi-private sites with more views of trees than our neighbors was a welcomed change.
There are no lights at night (except for the comfort stations), so viewing the stars and the many fireflies was an added delight.
We chose a site near the walking path that leads from the campground to a parking lot adjacent to the spring run swimming area.
There is a convenient dump station for RVs as well.
The prices are also about half that of a standard RV park (even those without full-hook ups – sewer, power, water).
Blue Spring State Park is very popular. They do close the park when it reaches capacity (get there early or late!!) and camping reservations need to be made well in advance. Some folks make the reservations up to 11 months in advance to ensure a spot.
We always have a wonderful time when we visit Blue Spring State Park and recommend it to anyone looking for a beautiful and quiet (minus the trains) state park.
Find out more about Blue Spring State Park here.
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