New Smyrna Beach and the surrounding area is bursting with unblemished landscapes, expansive wildlife refuges, and breathtaking nature parks. When you stay with us, there are dozens of excellent places to go for outdoor activities. Of of the most popular destinations, especially for manatee watching in the winter, is Blue Springs State Park in FL.
You can find out more about things to do in New Smyrna Beach by requesting a copy of our FREE Vacation Guide! It’s filled with more recommendations and information like where to turn for the best boat rentals in New Smyrna Beach.
11 of the Best Things to Do at Blue Springs State Park in FL
With a wide variety of fun things to do, it is easy to spend a full day at Blue Springs State Park in FL! Whether you want to leisurely wander through the park or spend an action-packed day doing it all, you’ll find plenty of activities that fit the bill. Here are just a few of the great things you can do that will guarantee an awesome day at the park:
1. Arrive Early
One of the most important things to note about Blue Springs State Park is that it frequently reaches its visitor capacity everyday in the winter and the summer. Ensure that you gain entrance to the park, by visit early in the day to avoid crowds.
2. Look for Manatees in the Winter
Blue Spring State Park is a designated manatee refuge. As such, it is the winter home of a growing number of West Indian Manatees. If you visit during manatee season, from from mid-November to at least mid-March, you’ll find several hundred manatees that can be viewed from the spring’s overlooks.
3. Take a Dip During Swimming Season
While swimming in the crystal clear Blue Spring at the park is strictly prohibited during manatee season, visitors are allowed to dive in the beautiful water during swimming season at other times of the year.
4. Enjoy a Self-Guided Tour of the historic Thursby House
Are you a history buff? If so, step inside the circa 1872 Thursby House to learn about its role along the St. Johns River. For years, it was a popular stopping point for steamboat passengers traveling along the waterway.
5. Pack a Picnic
You are guaranteed to work up an appetite during a visit to the Blue Springs State Park. Enjoy the beautiful outdoors and take advantage of the spectacular scenery with a picnic. Pack your own or purchase provisions at the Manatee Gift Shop, Food Service, Camp Store and Water Activities Rental Station near the public swimming area. You’ll also find many grills and covered picnic areas throughout the park.
6. Visit the Interpretive Exhibit
Learn more about the manatees that frequent the park with an interpretive exhibit. You’ll find them at the Thursby House and on kiosks along the Spring Run boardwalk. In addition, interpretive programs are offered each day November 15 – March 1.
7. Use the Canoe and Kayak Launch
Discover the beauty of Blue Springs State Park by canoeing or kayaking during your visit. You may rent your gear at St. Johns River Cruises. Or, you can bring your own with you. P.S. If you decide to bring a kayak or canoe on your vacation with us, we will store it for you, free of charge!
8. Take a Boat Tour
Another way to get on the water during your visit is with St. Johns River Cruises and Tours. Boat tours are available daily at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. The company also offers guided backwater tours and segway tours!
9. Dive in for Snorkeling, and Scuba Diving
Thanks to its crystal clear waters, Blue Springs State Park is an idyllic destination for snorkeling and scuba diving. However, certified scuba divers must show proof of certification and are required to have a dive buddy for each dive.
10. Explore the Nature Trail
Head to the 3.6 mile (one way) Pine Island Trail for a scenic hike through the park. When you do, you’ll explore a variety of plant communities and pristine areas from the desert-like scrub to the St. Johns River.
11. Look for a Variety of Wildlife
In addition to manatee watching, the state park is a wonderful place to go for other wildlife. You can go birding and look for the endemic Florida scrub-jay that lives in the park. Or, you can go fishing from an excellent dock on the river.
Visit New Smyrna Beach and Stay at the Night Swan!
Just 30 miles from the Blue Springs State Park in FL, the Night Swan Intracoastal Bed and Breakfast is the perfect place to stay for your next outdoor adventure! After a full day of exploring, you’ll return to a home-away-from-home that is just as scenic as the breathtaking outdoor havens near New Smyrna Beach! At the Night Swan, you’ll find stunning scenery that will not disappoint. Our beautiful inn is located directly on the Intracoastal Waterway and features breathtaking views of the sparkling water from a large front porch and throughout the property.
Each of our 16 guest rooms offers unique style and a range of amenities, including king sized beds, oversized whirlpool bathtubs, light-filled porches, and stunning views of the waterway. In addition, our inn also has complementary pet-friendly accommodations. We also have a dock and boat slips that our guests can use free of charge for their kayaking, canoeing, and boating adventures. Every stay at the Night Swan also includes a delicious, full breakfast.
Browse our accommodations today to find the perfect fit for you. Then, book a getaway to New Smyrna Beach with us! We can’t wait for you to join us!
Photo credit: Getty Images / Velvetfish