Blue Spring State Park, Orange City, FL

Blue Spring State Park, Orange City, FL

Liz and I are both native Floridians and over the years both sets of parents had taken our families on the trek over from Bartow to cool off in the summer in the spring “boil” that is Blue Spring. A coveted Florida landmark since back in the mid 17th century. Blue Spring is a first magnitude spring on the St. Johns River. Nice and cool all year long and is known for the large number of sea cows that congregate in the side channel leading to the spring. Located North of Orlando and Sanford, due west of New Smyrna Beach.

Sea Cows galore

I remember Mom and Dad taking us on a houseboat trip up the St. Johns River one summer back around 1962-64 and the old man dropped anchor outside in the main part of the river while we kids jumped off the boat and swam into to the spring. We played and spent all day splashing around swimming underwater looking at the incredible scenery. For us, kids, this was the land of the Creature of the Black Lagoon and we always had eyes looking backwards too. I’m sure M&D were delighted to get us five kids off the boat for a few hours!

The park is beautiful and the campground for RV’s, tents, etc. is well done. Mostly shaded, roomy and separated with dense vegetation between the sites. We got site #1 and felt pretty special of course even though it was the luck of the draw. This site and many others on the right side of the main roadway coming into the campground were situated where the back of each site was facing West and gave us additional hundreds of acres of wild lands to explore. We took walks each day and allowed Pickle to run off leash but did get busted by a park ranger for that infraction and for trying to hand feed the Scrub Jays.

Dense foliage helps to separate the sites
Typical site space, not big but privacy is good
Site #1
Acreage behind the camp sites to explore

The sites (51 in total) all offered water/electric but no sewer drain. No sewer drain is a pain but it’s one of those things in this business we just deal with. The best sites are 1-14. The bathhouses are near sites numbers 15 and 39. Like all Fl State Parks, it’s about impossible to book a reservation here in the winter due to the abundance of snow birds or as dad called them: “Damn Yankees!”

Liz, Cotton and Pickle hiking the back roads

The park offers many fun amenities like swimming, boating with canoe/kayak rentals, cruise boat trips up the river ($25/per person adults and $18 for kids 3-12). Fishing is an option but on a scale of 1-10 the fishing accessibility was a 2 unless you rented a canoe for 2-3 hours. There are large grounds with huge oak trees dripping with spanish moss for folks wishing to picnic and walkways for viewing the wildlife and spying on the sea cows. The old Thursby Family home circa 1857 is cool to walk through and reflect back on the very early days of the Florida steamboat activity shipping tourists and goods to Jacksonville and beyond.

Thursby home circa 1857
Canoes and kayak rentals
Huge Oaks and lots of fun places for picnic
Channel leading back to the spring
Pickle debating his rating for this campground

With our Florida resident 50% discount the cost for 3 nights was only $47.20 and our dates were Jan. 22-25, 2019. Good clean hot showers at the bathhouse along with washer/dryers. We were very happy with our return visit to Blue Spring and will plan to book reservations next winter for a week! This park gets a 4.5 Pickle Review and only lacks sewer hook-ups to get our very best 5 Pickle rating.

Blue Spring State Park – 2100 W. French Ave., Orange City, FL 32763 Phone: (386) 775-3663

Chris Pipes
  • Ed
    Posted at 18:01h, 01 February Reply

    I too remember going to Blue Springs and how much fun we had there. I use to scuba dive to the boil that has been grated off. The water coming out was very forceful and so clear. Blue Springs Park is #1 and if you visit you won’t be disappointed.

  • Downtown Brown
    Posted at 18:15h, 01 February Reply

    Sounds great! Curious what can be done with sewer waste? Can you go amongst the trees to “let one go?” Where does their showers drain to?
    You are a hardy pair and livin the dream!

    • PipesTraveler
      Posted at 16:23h, 05 February Reply

      With no sewer pipe to plug into we just have to rely on our tanks to store the goodies until we depart then on the way out stop by the dump station for deposits!! LOL that’s Liz’s favorite part of this adventure….we’re having a ball with every aspect of the journey. Thanks for following along. Pickle

  • Steve Fruit
    Posted at 00:56h, 02 February Reply

    Spectacular! Stayed there in a pop-up in 1979 after graduating from FTU (now UCF). Ran into a friend from my physics class who had a telescope set up on Saturn, complete with rings et al. Keep ’em coming Pickle!

    • PipesTraveler
      Posted at 16:21h, 05 February Reply

      Hi Steve – Thanks for following along..we appreciate it. Pickle

  • Pegi Brock
    Posted at 12:11h, 08 February Reply

    Knowing what I do today about the gators all over the place in there I’m SHOCKED we actually swam without any nibbles from anything but mosquitoes!
    What in the world were our parents thinking?

    • PipesTraveler
      Posted at 18:37h, 09 February Reply

      Yes Pegi – we were the perfect size at that age for Gator food! They’re in those waters for sure and always have been there yet the human/gator contact is very rare – thank goodness!

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