When we finished the morning at Manatee Springs State Park, we still had a little time before we could check into our hotel so we decided to head to another state park. This one I had not heard of before, however it came highly recommended by our breakfast cashier.
After leaving Manatee Springs we expected the park to be busy, but we were pleasantly surprised by the fact that it was more of a local hangout. The working mom with her laptop out while her children play, the high schoolers playing football, the families enjoying a picnic can all been seen at this park. De Leon Springs is a beautiful park that offers quite a lot of activities. We tried the paddleboats, and to be honest I lasted about 15 minutes before my legs were burning and we had to head back. We got to see the fountain of youth…or at least one of the three in Florida.
There is the Sugar Mill Restaurant with cook your own pancakes, but when we arrived the wait time was 2 hours so we skipped this. You can walk inside the restaurant even if you don’t eat there, which I recommend, as it’s very interesting and very hot.
If you wanted to go swimming, the water is 72 degrees year round. In the center of the swimming area there looks to be a cave, but it is prohibited to enter it, and scuba and snorkeling are allowed. We did not go swimming as it was only 70 degrees outside when we were there, but the kids did stick their feet in the water “to get warm”.
Now for the basic information on the park:
- $6 per vehicle entrance fee
- Kids can become a Junior Ranger at this park
- There are changing facilities and showers by the spring
- The park does have fishing however a Florida freshwater fishing license is required.
- Pets are allowed, but not around or in the swimming area
- Lifeguards are only available during the summer months