Guide About


8 a.m. until sundown, 365 days a year


$6 per vehicle


2100 W. French Ave. Orange City FL 32763

Contact Info


About Blue Spring State Park

Blue Spring's 72-degree waters welcome visitors to this hidden beauty along the St. Johns River.

Conservation efforts can provide incredible results. Researchers tracked 14 manatees in the spring run in 1970, two years before Blue Spring State Park was formed. Wintering manatee numbers had surpassed 200 by 2005, following years of park upgrades and manatee protection activities, and by 2018, that number had risen to a record 485.

Fish abound in the spring run, attracting a variety of wading birds, ospreys, eagles, and kingfishers, in addition to “sea cows.” Hiking along the spring stream or the 4.5-mile Pine Island Trail is a great way to view the park’s marvels.

Plan Your Visit To Blue Spring State Park

Blue Spring State Park
Blue Spring State Park

Our concessions include a fully stocked gift shop and camp store, as well as park visitor rentals. A two-hour narrated Nature and Ecological Cruise on the St. Johns River, as well as a Guided Wilderness Escape Segway trip, are also available.

Blue Spring State Park

Now’s the time to enjoy our refreshing 72-degree waters and take a swim. With a variety of activities to choose from, you’re sure to have tons of fun in the sun.


Blue Springs State Park offers a variety of seasonal activities.

Swimming at blue spring state park
Swimming at blue spring state park

Swimming and scuba diving are available in Blue Spring’s crystal clear, 72-degree spring run. Scuba divers must register with an up-to-date certification card and a partner at the entrance station between the hours of 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. It is not permissible to swim or dive with the manatees.

Blue Spring has been recognised as a manatee sanctuary. The spring flow maintains a consistent temperature of 72 degrees, providing a safe sanctuary for the West Indian Manatee. From November 15 to March 1, the spring and spring flow are closed to all water-related activities, including swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving, and boating, to provide a safe warm water sanctuary for manatees throughout the winter season.

Cruises and tours on the St. Johns River. At 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., every day. On the gorgeous and historic St. Johns River, enjoy a two-hour narrated nature and ecological cruise. See Florida the way it is…naturally. Call 407.330.1612 or 386.917.0724 for costs and reservations.

Boat Tours at blue springs state park
Boat Tours at blue springs state park

If you’re a diver, Blue Springs State Park could be your undiscovered diving paradise. Several people in their gear have been observed preparing to dive into the head springs. I’ll admit that I was envious and wished I had my PADI certification. When viewed from above, the head springs are extremely stunning, with such brilliant hues and depth.

While snorkelling into the head is fine, spring diving will provide you with a more comprehensive experience. However, according to Florida State Parks regulations, scuba diving is authorised. You can’t dive if there are manatees present, but park employees or volunteers are usually on hand to monitor manatee activities and ensure that tourists and wildlife are treated equally.

Our goal when we initially went to Blue Spring with the kids was to see a few manatees, but we were there a little late in the season for that. The gigantic fish in the river, on the other hand, wowed us entirely. The Florida gar and other huge varieties were quite spectacular, and they could be seen from the observation platforms.

There are platforms strewn along the river for watching the manatees as well as taking in the natural beauty of the beautiful waters. We’ve visited Blue Spring numerous times since that initial trip with the kids, and we’ve seen hundreds of manatees from the observation platforms, the ecotour boat cruise, and our own kayaks and paddle boards.

You’re in luck if you’re looking for a place to swim and admire the stunning crystal clear water at Blue Spring State Park. Swimming is possible at a number of locations along the river. If you like, you may even hire tubes to float down the river. When the weather is hot, the water will feel frigid, but it is not unpleasant. The water is delightfully warm for us, coming from the Pacific Northwest, and the kids aren’t apprehensive in the least.

The boardwalks that go through the palm forest to reach to the bathing holes are part of the fun of walking and swimming at Blue Spring State Park. This was our first time walking through a palm forest because we were elevated above the jungle floor. It’s incredible. The kids liked the feeling of being in the trees, and the photo opportunities are infinite.

kids at blue springs state park
kids at blue springs state park

Hundreds of manatees assemble in the spring run from mid-November to March to seek cover from the cold. Seeing so many of these renowned animals in one spot is a wonderful experience.

The three-story Thursby mansion, which stands near the St. Johns River, is a memorial to Central Florida’s frontier days. Blue Spring State Park is a time capsule for a bygone period, with everything from steamships to railroads and candles to electric lamps.

Blue Spring State Park
Blue Spring State Park
gilchrist blue springs state park
Blue Spring State Park

This is something more we can do next time. We hadn’t planned ahead for renting inner tubes within Blue Spring State Park because it was an unscheduled stop for us the first time we arrived. The only reason you wouldn’t do it is if you were pressed for time. There is a seller renting tubes for floating the river midway along the boardwalks, and the water is so calm that the only reason you wouldn’t do it is if you were tight for time. It’s a short float, but it’s fun to do again and again!

If you want to hire inner tubes to go tubing at Blue Spring, keep in mind that it’s only possible when the manatees aren’t in the headwaters. During the winter months, when the manatee population climbs into the hundreds every day, the springs are closed to swimmers and boaters of all kinds.

Frequently Asked Questions

Most frequent questions and answers for Blue Springs State Park

Can you swim in Blue Springs State Park?

Snorkeling in a crystal-clear spring run is available at Blue Springs State Park. It is not permissible to swim with the manatees. At all times, children and non-swimmers should be accompanied by an adult swimmer. There are no lifeguards on duty.

How much does it cost to go to Blue Springs?

$5 for each vehicle (two to eight people). A single-occupant vehicle costs $4. Pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers, and passengers in vehicles with an annual Individual Entrance Pass are all charged $2.

Is Blue Springs State Park at capacity?

We will be operating at 50% capacity for the day to safeguard the safety of the public and our employees. We won’t let any more visitors in for the remainder of the day once we’ve reached capacity. Water activities are welcome for our spring run.

Are there alligators at Blue springs?

At Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park, there are warning signs about alligators, although they’re mostly in the spring run beyond the swimming barrier or elsewhere in the park. It is safe to presume that alligators can be found in any freshwater body of water in Florida.

How cold is the water at Blue Springs?

The natural spring that produces 3,600 gallons of water per minute into two bathing areas is named Blue Springs State Park. Year-round, the water temperature is 68 degrees..

Are manatees in Blue Springs now?

Blue Spring State Park is home to a first-magnitude spring that serves as one of Florida’s most important winter meeting spots for manatees. Hundreds of manatees can be seen in the winter months, enjoying the steady 72-degree spring water.

blue spring state park photos