It isn’t often that we run across a frugal Florida fun spot that combines two of my favorite things: food and the great outdoors! We have been wanting to check out DeLeon Springs State Park for quite some time now, but it always seems that we are heading in the wrong direction when we are out that way. You may recall that recently the Mrs. did some research about quite a few spots she wanted to check out and this was one of them. Wow were we happy that we made the trip!
Located on the western side of Volusia County, DeLeon Springs was once a major tourist attraction. With great weather year round, and a natural spring that is a constant 72 degrees, it’s easy to see what attracted folks from all over. Although there is no longer a hotel on site, DeLeon Springs State Park has much to offer! For starters, the main attraction is of course the spring itself. This popular swimming hole ranges in depth from shallow to very deep! Because of this great range of depths, swimming, snorkeling, and even scuba diving instruction are very popular.
Remember I mentioned this park was delicious? Located right on the springs is the old Spanish Sugar Mill restaurant. This isn’t just your standard mom and pop breakfast place. Located right in the middle of each table is an electric griddle where guest can make their very own pancakes, eggs, and other breakfast treats! Because of the social nature of the “cook it yourself” concept we invited a few of our friends to come with us and we had a blast! While I wouldn’t consider the pancakes to be all you can eat, their home-made whole grain and regular batters left us full by the end of breakfast, and they were absolutely delicious! At only $4.95 per person we though this was a reasonable cost for such an entertaining experience. Made with natural ingredients and fresh additives like berries, and bananas, the Spanish Sugar Mill restaurant is something we won’t soon forget.
Located across the springs, is welcome center that features exhibits about DeLeon springs as well as the local inhabitants and history. Our little guy is at the age where he love to touch everything! There was actually a tactile display that was made just for him that he really got a kick out of. Although the welcome center does not cater to toddlers, they also had a great little coloring station which also seemed like a big hit for the young visitors of DeLeon Springs.
If you have about an hour or so, and a few extra bucks, you may want to checkout one of the eco tours. These guided boat tours will take you through the spring run where you can really take in the beautiful scenery and all the DeLeon Springs has to offer. If you would prefer your own pace, you can also rent paddle boats and kayaks in the park as well. This would make a great afternoon activity in the winter when it’s not quite so hot out. Either way you won’t want to miss floating down the calm and serene waters of DeLeon Springs. If you are on the waiting list for the restaurant, you may want to take a bout tour. You won’t lose your place in line!
If the water really isn’t quite what you’re after, then you may want to check out the nature trail. With two to choose from you can choose exactly just how much effort you want to expend. The half mile nature trail is actually paved so it’s handicapped accessible. The longer Persimmon hiking trail is about 4 miles long and can be a bit challenging regardless of your skill level. If you decide to venture out on the longer hike, you must check in at the ranger station.
Because of the vast array of offerings at DeLeon Springs State Park, the park often reaches capacity very early in the day. Although there is a fairly large parking area, you will not be able to gain access to the park if it has reached capacity. We visited around 9am on a Sunday morning and it seemed like a perfect time to go! With great friends and wonderful weather, we really enjoyed our trip to DeLeon Springs State Park, and look forward to return trips to checkout the tours and maybe even a bit of hiking.
DeLeon Springs State Park Details:
|Date(s):||365 Days||Time(s):||8am to sundown|
|Address:||601 Ponce de Leon Boulevard De Leon
Springs, Florida 32130
|Restaurant is open 9-5 weekdays, 8-5 weekends closed Thanksgiving & Christmas|
|Estimated Cost For A Family of 4: $25.80||$6 Per Carload Restaurant Starting @ $4.95 per person plus sides.|