We are still in Florida, enjoying the sunshine, but I really wanted to take a moment to write about getting off the beaten path. When we planned to do Florida without the Disney, like most people I googled what to do in Florida that is not Disney and we planned our trip off what I found. There is nothing wrong with that. That is how I plan most trips, however leave room for the unexpected.
When we crossed into Florida our first thought was on getting breakfast, and the second thought was about getting to Blue Springs State Park (more of the park coming soon) as soon as possible. We stopped at a Cracker Barrel not far from the park, maybe 45 minutes away) and ate a relatively quick breakfast. The cashier must have sensed our excitement because she asked where we were heading and Drew told her. She said that is an awesome park and definitely a must see, but if we have time we should stop by this other state park. It’s a beautiful park with an old sugar mill and swimming and… she went on and on. We said thank you and left quickly getting into our vehicle and heading off to see the manatees quickly forgetting what the cashier had told us, besides google didn’t know about it so how great could it be?
After visiting the park and the manatees we still had time left before we could check into the hotel. While the kids ate pop tarts, Drew and I discussed what we could do to kill some time and he thankfully remembered what the cashier had said. We googled directions and found the park was less than an hour away.
We headed to the park and much to our surprise the park was not busy at all, unlike the last park we were at! De Leon Springs (more on this park in an upcoming blog post) was a place for the locals. The springs were beautiful, and there was a plethora of activities to do. We spent more time at this park than we did the last and had to pry the children away.
All of this to say, when a local takes the time to recommend a place, make it a point to go there. They live in the area and know it better than you will, so take a little time out of the scheduled trip to see why he or she recommended the place.