Blue Spring State Park

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Park Common Name: 

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Description: 

*PLEASE NOTE: Blue Spring State Park frequently reaches capacity during the week and on the weekends, during both the winter and summer months.  To avoid waiting, visit the park early.*

Blue Spring State Park covers more than 2,600 acres, including the largest spring on the St. Johns River. Blue Spring is a designated manatee refuge and the winter home to a growing population of West Indian Manatees. During manatee season, which approximately runs from mid-November through March, several hundred manatee can be viewed atop the spring’s overlooks on cold days. The spring and spring run are closed to all water activity from mid-November to at least mid-March.  Swimming or diving with manatees is not permitted; this rule is strictly enforced.

The spring's crystal clear, 73-degree water can be enjoyed by swimmers, snorkelers and certified scuba divers, with a partner during our designated swimming season. Fishing, canoeing and boating are also enjoyed along the St. Johns River. River boat tours are available; for reservations, call St. Johns River Cruises at (386) 917-0724.

A self-guided tour inside the historic Thursby house, built at the height of the steamboat era in 1872, can also be experienced. In addition the park has plenty of picnic areas as well as three covered pavilions. Air-conditioned cabins and a full-facility campground are available for visitors interested in staying overnight.

Directions to this Park

Manatee Cam

Watch the manatees at Blue Spring State Park courtesy of the Manatee Cam by Save the Manatee Club.

Reserve America URL: 

Physical Address: 

2100 W. French Avenue

Physical City: 

Orange City

Physical Zip Code: 

32763

Mailing Address: 

2100 W. French Avenue

Mailing City: 

Orange City

Mailing Zip Code: 

32763

County: 

Phone Number: 

(386) 775-3663

Historical Description: 

Blue Spring is a first magnitude spring on the St. Johns River. Gold Rush prospector turned orange-grower Louis Thursby purchased Blue Spring in 1856. Before the railroad rolled through in the 1880s, Thursby's Blue Spring Landing was a hotbed of steamboat activity, shipping tourists and goods to Jacksonville and beyond. Mrs. Thursby was Orange City's first postmistress. 'The Forgotten Mermaids,' an episode of the Underwater World of Jacques Cousteau, was filmed here in 1971. The documentary brought attention to the manatee and the importance of Blue Spring as a winter refuge, greatly influencing the state's decision to purchase the land.

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Getting Involved Opportunities: 

Join the Friends of Blue Spring State Park, the park's Citizen Support Organization (CSO), in their effort to provide support to Blue Spring State Park by volunteering, educating visitors, hosting events and raising funds for specific park projects. Become a member and help the park protect our natural, cultural and historical resources for future generations. For more information, please call the park at (386)-775-3663.

Hours: 

The park is open from 8 a.m. until sundown, 365 days a year.

For campers who plan to arrive after sunset, call the park on the day of arrival at (386) 775-3663 to get the gate combination and instructions.

Fees: 

Admission

  • $6 per vehicle. Limit 2-8 people per vehicle.
  • $4 Single Occupant Vehicle.
  • $2 Pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers, passengers in vehicle with holder of Annual Individual Entrance Pass.

Camping

  • $24 per night, plus tax, plus a non-refundable $6.70 reservation fee. Includes water and electricity.

Florida residents who are 65 years of age or older or who hold a social security disability award certificate or a 100 percent disability award certificate from the Federal Government are permitted to receive a 50 percent discount on current base campsite fees.

Cabins

  • $95 per night, plus tax, plus a non-refundable $6.70 reservation fee.

Pet Friendly: 

No

Wheelchair Accessible Facilities: 

No