A visit to the De Leon Springs State Park is something the entire family can enjoy. Whether it’s swimming, fishing, kayaking, hiking, birding or enjoying a meal in the great outdoors, everyone can be accommodated. The park makes for an enjoyable and fun family day trip.
Located at 601 Ponce de Leon Boulevard in De Leon Springs, the park is not far from the Greater Daytona Beach area. It generally takes about 45 minutes to get there from the coast. The drive will take you through the DeLand area.
One of the primary attractions of the De Leon Springs State Park is the water which is noted for staying a constant 72º F. That’s a pretty warm place to swim on a cold, overcast and windy Florida day. During the sweltering summer days, the waters provide a welcome respite from the heat. There is no lifeguard on duty, except during the summer season, so family members should keep that in mind when they’re out in the water having fun. A Spanish style bath house near the pool area allows visitors an area to change out of wet bathing suits.
Visitors who prefer to fish, will find ample opportunity in both Spring Garden Creek and Spring Garden Run. Fishing enthusiasts must have a freshwater fishing license. Kayakers, canoeists and boaters can put in at a boat launch at Spring Garden Creek. There is no additional charge for launching. Kayakers can make their way from De Leon Springs State Park down to the Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge where they can paddle to their hearts content among creeks, marsh areas and lakes.
Hikers can enjoy a 4 mile loop trail via the Wild Persimmon Hiking Trail. Additionally there is a nature trail which is paved for about 1/2 mile to allow wheelchair access. Birders too will find areas of interest since De Leon Springs State Park is part of the Great Florida Birding Trail. Hikers need to remember to register at the Ranger Station.
For those who enjoy eating at unusual venues, a meal at the Old Spanish Sugar Mill Grill might fit the bill. The Grill is located inside the park near the pool area. Inside the restaurant each table is equipped with a griddle. Should you order pancakes then a pitcher of batter is brought to the table and you make your own. If you prefer to have someone else prepare your meal, then other food items including sandwiches and salads are available. For snacks and drinks, a concession stand is just outside the restaurant. However, if you’re sticking to a budget, the family can still enjoy a great repast, just bring a picnic lunch and you’ll be set for the day! Several pavilions provide covered tables and grills, however, they require a reservation for use. Other picnic tables are scattered throughout the park and are available on a first come first serve basis.
Park hours are 8 am until sunset. Visitors can access the park any day, even holidays. Weekends are extremely busy so come early. For more information about the park contact 386-985-4212.