The 72-degree waters at Blue Spring State Park in Orange City, Florida attract hundreds of manatees, also called “sea cows.” Situated by the St. Johns River, this park offers canoe and kayak rentals, a walking trail, a river boat cruise, food concessions, and more.
We’d heard about the manatees but hadn’t gone to this park before as it’s a forty-minute drive north from where we live. But when our daughter said she’d like to take our grandson there since he was off school for Martin Luther King Day, we jumped on the wagon – or rather, in her SUV.
Orange City seemed interesting as we passed through a historic section. My gaze was drawn to the 1876 Heritage Inn. However, the Alling House Bed & Breakfast has better reviews if you’re looking for a place to stay.
We turned down a two-lane road to head into Blue Spring State Park. Capacity was full by the time we arrived at 10:30, and they were only letting vehicles into the parking area as people left. We got into a snaking line from down the road, where you are stuck until you reach the park entrance. In other words, use the potty before you start on this excursion. You might want to bring snacks and water bottles, too.
We finally got in after a long wait, parked, and strode past the playground to the boardwalk where you can see the manatees. The large creatures glided past in the water, which was surrounded by woods. They were fascinating to watch. It’s a peaceful setting where you can picnic, hike, or just relax.
Can you spot the alligator on the log?
We walked along the waterside path and passed a historical house but didn’t go in. The Thursby House was built by Louis Thursby in the 1800s and hosted steamboat passengers as they made their way up and down the St. Johns River. Today it serves as a museum.
Ready for lunch, we bought burgers and hot dogs at the concession hut and ate under cover at a picnic table. The burger was bland. I’ve had better at other parks. Our grandson enjoyed the playground on the way back. Then we were done, got in the car, and left. However, someone had been injured in the park, and the exit was blocked while the attendants waited for the ambulance. I couldn’t imagine how it would get past the clogged traffic on the two-lane road.
After twenty minutes or so, the emergency vehicle arrived and cars were permitted to exit. Then once we got on I-4, there was another blockage due to a crash and we had to take an alternate route. At last, we made it home safely despite these delays, and it was worth the trip to see the manatees and the park. I’d suggest going earlier in the morning and on a weekday.
For more details, visit https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/blue-spring-state-parkSee the Manatees at Blue Spring State Park #Florida #Travel Click To Tweet