Escape the Mousetrap

No Blizzards, Just Clean Water
  |  Gorp.com
Go Guide: Blue Spring State Park

Directions: The park is located just north of Orlando. From I-4, take exit 54. Travel east for about 3 miles to highway 92/17 south into Orange City. Turn west on West French Street to
the park.

Cost: Admission to the park is $3.25 per vehicle for up to eight people. Snorkeling equipment is available for rent. There are also cabins and camping sites for rent at the park. 

For more information: Contact the Blue Spring State Park, 2100 West French Ave., Orange City, FL 32763; (904) 775-3663.
 

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Instead of: The Summit Plummet
Try : Snorkeling at Blue Spring State Park

Dragging the kids away from the resort swimming pool (not to mention the lure of another day at Disney's Blizzard Beach water park) was a tug. But once we arrived at Blue Spring State Park, the whining stopped.

Blue Spring boasts a historic house, nature trails, and a boardwalk leading from the St. John River to the head of the spring. We scurried straight to the spring, picked up snorkel gear, and ventured into the water. Each day, the 12-foot-deep spring gushes out 104 million gallons of 72-degree water that's so crystal-clear it makes Disney's pools look like, well, a theme park.

With flippered feet, frogman masks, and snorkels, we floated the spring as thousands of fish darted about. If we'd timed our trip for January or February, we might have glimpsed the West Indian manatees that come to feed and rest in the warm springs. (Who needs virtual reality and techno-wizardry when you have this magical world?)

Families that are feeling ambitious can hit the Blue Spring Backcountry Trail. The 8.8-mile round-trip winds through dense flatwoods, cypress swamps, marshes, and large oak and sweetgum hammocks before reaching an overlook on the St. John River.


Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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