I grew up going to Florida on vacation and often complained that the ocean and pool water were never refreshing–the water temperature would feel just as warm as the air–but then I found Blue Springs State Park! Game changer! Blue Springs is a natural-fed cold spring about an hour north of Orlando. The water is crystal clear and surrounded by picturesque Florida foliage. You feel as if you are back in time, in undisturbed nature.
Blue Springs is a state park, so be sure to bring $6 for the vehicle entry fee. The spring is also home to the endangered manatees. They are protected in a “no swim” zone, but once in a while, one will swim over into the free swim zone. Just be respectful, don’t touch them, and give them their space. The park also warns of alligators, but from what I am told, they prefer warmer waters, though I think it’s important to be cautious in any body of water in Florida–gators are all over the state. Also keep your eyes out for some massive bugs! We almost walked into the largest spider I have ever seen. Don’t let the gators and spiders scare you though, I promise the experience you will have swimming in the clear water will outweigh any fears tenfold! This was truly a day I will never forget! My mother-in-law was a little afraid of the alligators and was not planning on going in, but once she did, she was so glad she overcame her fear.
When you enter the park, you will need to follow the signs to Blue Springs. Once you park, you can walk directly over to see the springs and use the steps to enter the water, but if you plan on staying for a while, you can walk to the right a little bit towards the gift shop and you can rent a locker for your stuff. I highly recommend getting a locker! We got one and locked up all our belongings, including our shoes, so we could walk the short path to the top of the spring and swim down.
In the gift shop, you can also rent an innertube if you want to float rather than swim, or rent some swim fins if you feel like being adventurous and want to attempt to swim down to the bottom. I say attempt because the spring goes so deep that even some professional divers have tried and never made it back to the top.
Florida is full of natural springs like Blue Springs! A few others in the area are DeLeon Springs and Ginnie Springs. If we had the time, I would have loved to check them all out, but we were only in the area for a day. I look forward to checking out the other springs on my next trip to Florida! Let us know what you thought about Blue Springs State Park, Florida!
A few tips we wish we knew before visiting Blue Springs State Park:
– If you have water shoes or socks, bring them! After we put our shoes in the locker, we walked barefoot to the spring. It was totally doable, but it would have been a little more comfortable with water shoes.
– Bring a dry bag or life-proof case for your phone! It’s so beautiful that you will want to take photos on the swim or float down.
– If you have a mask and snorkel, bring it.