Whether you are a local or on vacation in Orlando, kids or no kids, you need to see the manatee of Blue Springs State Park.
Every winter, the manatee of the intercostal waters and rivers in Florida migrate to warmer areas. One of those places manatee flock is Blue Springs State Park in Orange City, where the water temps stay around 68 degrees due to the underground spring. It about an hour north of downtown Orlando (about and hour and 20 minutes from the theme parks).
Between mid November and the end of February, the clear blue-green waters fill with hundreds of manatee. We try to visit at least once each season, and it is so much fun to bring someone for the first time!
A boardwalk trail runs from the beginning of the spring to where the spring eventually meets the St Johns River (probably about a mile total).
There are several good lookout spots that extend from the boardwalk into the water, where you can get the best views of these beautiful creatures. It’s not uncommon to see a momma nursing her baby manatee calf either (which looks like the baby nuzzling up by the momma manatee’s armpit).
Max loved seeing the manatee, and at first he thought they were hippos. I’ve included the following link if you’d like to learn learn more about manatees.
We spent about two hours exploring the park, running around the playground, and stopping for lunch.
It’s only $6 admission to the state park, which includes a camp sight and hiking trails. The park offers picnic areas, a general store, playground, kayak rentals and boat rides. In the summer months when the manatee are gone, you can swim and kayak in these springs too! This spot is a favorite for divers as well.
Check out a few more of our pics below: