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Blue Spring State Park, FL

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 Blue Spring State Park is located in Orange City, FL, north of Orlando. The major attraction at Blue Springs is the warm (72 degree) spring that attracts dozens of manatees during the winter months. The campground has 51 sites offering E/W hook-ups and a central dump station. Two bathhouses provide hot showers.

386-775-3663

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We never have to worry about finding a site when we visit Blue Spring - we always plan to be here during a non-holiday week. Last winter we were on site 39, a fairly open site; this year we had site 41, also a large, sunny site.

Date of most recent visit: Dec 2010

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In 2009, as usual, we arrived without a reservation. Not a problem - plenty of sites available right after the New Years weekend. We were assigned to site 22, one of the non-reserveable sites. It was very small and difficult to back into.

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In fact, the next day we moved to another site, for we were going to be returning to the park after dark and I didn't want to even try to back in without daylight.

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Site 25.

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Site 37.

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Site 39 is the most open site in the campground and is quite level.

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Site 4 is a fairly large, level site.

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  Another large site is 9.

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One of the two bathhouses. They are not heated and in fact have large vents open to the cool breezes. They also were not kept as well as one might expect - lots of wet paper on the floor and a good scrubbing of stall walls would help.

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Some manatees in the "run" from the boil (spring) down to the St Johns River. Best time for viewing the manatees is early in the morning in cooler weather.

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A group of manatees frolicking (?)

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During our 2010 visit, there was an unusually high number of manatees in the spring run, thanks to the very cold spell. Water flows from the spring boil at a constant 72 degrees, so the manatees throng here when it's cold.

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The day we arrived in 2010, rangers had counted 244, and just a few days before that, there had been a new record number - 311.

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Each morning a ranger goes out to take a census of manatees in the spring run. Each manatee is catalogued by the scars on its back and each is named.

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A mom and her pup.

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It's a pleasant walk along the boardwalk from the concession area up to the boil (spring).

The boil offers SCUBA divers some challenging dives into underground caverns.

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The Thursby House, built in 1872, is located near the run.

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This fellow was sitting on a log in the spring run.

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The spring run enters the St Johns River in the park. Many years ago this was a steamboat landing before the railroads came to town. Now visitors can take boat tours on the river.

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A new attraction (late 2008) at Blue Springs is a 3.5 mile long hike/bike trail. It begins at the entrance to the park and follows the railroad north to Lake Beresford Park. There are plans to extend it even further.

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For walkers, there is the 4.5 mile Pine Island Trail. But that's only half of it - you have to turn around and come back the same way, for a total of 9 miles.

51 sites with W/E(30/50A)

Dump Station, Showers

Rates: $20.00

Coordinates: 81.3348092 W, 28.952133 N

Activities

Manatees (in cold weather)

Spring boil and SCUBA diving

St Johns River boat tours

Kayak and canoe rentals

Nature trail - 9 mile r/t

Spring to Spring Bike Trail

 

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