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“Lovely place for a wildlife stroll”

Blue Spring State Park
Ranked #1 of 15 things to do in Orange City
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: State park offering a variety of outdoor activities including camping, hiking, canoeing, fishing, boating, snorkeling and scuba diving.
Orlando, Florida
Level Contributor
56 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Lovely place for a wildlife stroll”
Reviewed 7 February 2009

I was up in the area recently and decided to stop off to check out the manatees one evening. I was in luck that four of the gentle giants were hovering by a stairwell where I could get some fantastic pictures. I think the baby was posing for me at times. The squirrels are pretty bold and I shared the boardwalk with one and as I came closer he came closer as if we were in a draw.

The state park is small and when driving to it you almost feel like you're going the wrong way on this 2 lane road to get there. Make sure to follow the signs.

There is a short boardwalk to walk along. They offer boat rides and other water activities. They have picnic tables and when the manatees are not visiting, you can swim within the restricted areas. I can see the place becoming crowded very quickly, especially on the weekends, so you're better off picking a weekday when it's quieter. Great for spending a few hours and plenty of wildlife viewing. I have not been hiking in the area so I'm not sure what their trails are like or how long they are.

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1 Thank animlluvr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Wiltshire, UK
Level Contributor
163 reviews
53 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
“Great manatee haven!”
Reviewed 26 January 2009

Our first visit to Blue Springs was a warm day in Jan 09 and was a great day for viewing manatees.

We got there early and it was quiet and even by early afternoon it was still not overcrowded. There were a lot of manatees (over 100 they say) up and down the river. the boardwalk was really a pleasant walk too. As good a place as any we have found in Florida to see manatees naturally in their habitat - in such numbers. We loved it.

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1 Thank Bob_Alex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Indianapolis
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Closed due to Too Many Visitors”
Reviewed 13 January 2009

We were disappointed in that we arrived at the gate and the ranger directs us to turn around and "come back later" due to too many visitors. He was not friendly nor helpful, and the small line of cars that were having the same experience made us wonder when it would be open. No information about when during the day, week or month that there would be room, and the ranger didn't seem like he wanted to help.
I guess we should have got there when the park opened, but it would have been a better experience if we had known about this problem when we made plans, as we were staying in Daytona Beach.
From other reviews I suspect that it would have been a great experience, but without being able to enter I have no way of knowing.
So we left feeling a bit ripped off, wishing that we had known that this could happen and wishing that there was a way we could have made reservations to get in, as we had been planning this trip for several months.
Only good thing that came out of this was that we kept driving and found our way to Ocalla National Forest where the rangers / visitor center was friendly, helpful and educational.

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3 Thank JonMCH_9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reading, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
27 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 89 helpful votes
“Favourite Wildlife Haven”
Reviewed 11 January 2009

Our fourth visit to Blue Springs was a great winter's day for viewing manatees, 23rd December, 2008.

Each year we have seen improvements made to the physical appearance of the park. This year a new addition is the pier from where we were able to take our cruise on the St John's River. We always book on the website and receive a reduction.

The guide, on the 2 hour trip, was as authoritive as ever and the rapore he develops with the passengers enhances the experience because everyone keeps their eyes out for wildlife. There were a great many manatees near the spring and we were able to see bald eagles, anhingas, turtles, alligators basking, as well as many herons.


Located west of Orange City. Take U.S. 17/92 to Orange City, go west two miles on French Avenue to the entrance.

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2 Thank cahow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
West Sussex
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“Nature at its best”
Reviewed 4 January 2009

Admission $5 per car. This park is a sanctuary for Manatees. To see them the best time to visit is between November and April. The cooler weather drives the manatees towards the warm spring. There is a boardwalk from where it is possible to see the manatees and calves lying in the shallow water. The water is very clear and if you are lucky as we were, you’ll be close enough to see their faces. The park has picnic benches, rest rooms and a play area for the children. On the day we visited in December, the manatee count was 90! Fabulous to see these gentle creatures in their natural habitat.

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2 Thank Seabird0037
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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