Between Daytona Beach and Orlando and not far from the world-renowned Florida Space Coast, Blue Spring State Park is a little slice of heaven for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts alike. Located along the St. Johns River, this natural spring provides a pristine, postcard-worthy setting for a wide variety of wildlife and outdoor recreation.
Paddle, swim, dive, hike, bike, camp…the gang’s all here! Here are six reasons you’ll want to book a campsite and bring your RV rental to Blue Spring State Park, Florida, stat.
6 Reasons To Visit Blue Spring State Park
1. Marvel at Manatees
Many Florida natural springs provide opportunities to see manatees, particularly in the winter and spring, as the animals seek warmer waters. However, Blue Spring State Park is one of the best places to spot majestic creatures.
The water remains a comfortable 72 degrees year-round, making this “one of the largest winter gathering sites for manatees in Florida.” In January 2022, a record 664 were at Blue Spring State Park in one day! You can often see manatees in the crystal-clear water as you kayak down the river, but unique to Blue Spring State Park, visitors can also see the manatees from a one-third-mile-long boardwalk.
Not only does this provide an amazing opportunity for those who don’t want to get on the water, but it also showcases manatee behavior people otherwise don’t get to witness. Since there’s no human activity permitted in the water near the boardwalk, the manatees socialize more, knowing they aren’t threatened in any way.
The best time of year to spot manatees at Blue Spring State Park, Florida, is the winter, with January and February the peak months.
2. Float Down the River
Every spring, once most of the manatees have left, Blue Spring State Park opens up to swimming and floating the river. Bring your tube or rent one on-site, then carry it up the boardwalk and get in the water right near the headspring. You’ll leisurely float down about a quarter-mile, then get out. Pro tip: you can go again (and again!), as many times as you want.
3. Paddle the River
Both St. John’s River itself and Blue Spring State Park provide phenomenal, unique paddling opportunities. You launch into the river and can explore an endless network of canals, creeks, and small islands.
There are a variety of rental options for kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards (SUP), but each of these comes with some restrictions on where and how long you can paddle. We recommend bringing your inflatable kayak or SUP for the most flexibility.
- Blue Spring Adventures, the in-park concessionaire, rents kayaks, SUPs, and canoes right on-site. However, they also specify that renters must stay relatively close in case of the rare event that a rescue is needed. Note that Blue Spring Adventures also offers guided tours, along with riverboat cruises.
- If you want to paddle for longer or want to explore areas further upriver, consider renting kayaks or canoes from one of several outfitters just outside the park (this is also a great option for when Blue Spring State Park fills to capacity).
4. Go SCUBA Diving
Aside from seeing manatees, one of the most unique experiences at Blue Spring State Park is being able to SCUBA dive.
- Divers cannot be alone; they must either have a partner or go on a guided dive
- All divers must register at the park entrance and will be required to present up-to-date diving certification
- Cavern diving is available, but only to certified cave divers
5. Experience Firefly Season
Every year in late March or April (Mother Nature determines the exact dates), Blue Spring State Park, Florida, stays open late for a few weekends to allow visitors to experience the magic of fireflies. The park stays open until 9:00 pm, and visitors are encouraged to walk a nature trail to see the magical glow.
6. Beat the Crowds by Camping
Blue Spring State Park frequently fills to capacity every season and even on weekdays. The park actually closes temporarily and turns people away when it reaches capacity!
One of the best ways to avoid this and ensure you get in is to camp overnight. This also allows you to enjoy the spring and river as much as you’d like (once you have kayaks or tubes, you can go up and down the river an unlimited number of times until the park closes!), then relax in comfortable accommodations…and do it all over again the next day!
Blue Spring State Park RV Camping
The park’s campground is located in a particularly scenic area right near the headspring. All 51 campsites have electricity and water hookups, as well as a picnic table and grill. There are two modern bathhouses with showers and a dump station available.
Like all other Florida state parks, campsite reservations are made available 11 months in advance — and they go quickly. Reserve early!
Ready to experience Blue Spring State Park like a local? Get a Cruise America RV rental from one of our 100-plus convenient locations and book your RV site today!