Spring into the Springs of West Volusia
The St. Johns River runs through the heart of West Volusia and is the winter home of a growing population of West Indian Manatees. The river plays host to a wealth of recreational opportunities, including manatee viewing throughout the winter and eco tours, which highlight an amazing variety of native plants and animals, all year long.
Each winter, the manatees take center stage at Blue Spring State Park, home of the largest spring on the river. The park is a designated manatee refuge and from mid-November through March, hundreds of them can be viewed from atop its spring overlook. The spring waters are closed to swimming and other water activities during this season, giving the beautiful marine mammals full access to relax and recharge for the winter.
The park comprises more than 2,600 acres and swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving in the 72-degree spring waters is allowed throughout other times of the year. Canoeing, kayaking and boating are popular ways to enjoy the river, as are riverboat tours. There are a number of boat rentals for those who want to explore on their own and guided trips are available, too. Time on the river offers views of turtles, gators, more than 200 species of birds and a lush, natural Florida landscape.
One of only 14 American Heritage Rivers in the country, the St. Johns River and the series of lakes it connects, make up the St. Johns River Blueway and the River of Lakes Heritage Corridor. Whether by canoe or kayak, riverboat or houseboat, exploring the river gives visitors access to the heartbeat of this central Florida region. And reasons to return again and again.
You don’t often hear “natural springs” and “pancakes” in the same sentence. Except when someone is talking about De Leon Springs State Park.
The Old Spanish Sugar Mill, opened in 1961, is a restaurant housed inside the park in a 100-year-old replica of the original 1830s sugar mill. A griddle sits at each table, where homemade pancake batter is delivered. Customers make their own pancakes, adding their choice of fruit, peanut butter, pecans and chocolate chips. This 625-acre park also features a spring, which produces 19 million gallons of water a day, year-round. It also provides water access to Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge, where visitors can explore 22,000 acres of lakes, creeks and marshes by canoe or kayak.
A full state of events is set each year, many centered around West Volusia’s waters, wildlife and culture, offering even more reasons to celebrate!
The waterways are just one reason to visit the West Volusia region, a destination with stories to tell, history to share and fun to have. Nestled between Orlando and Daytona, West Volusia encompasses fourteen communities with an eclectic collection of accommodations and attractions. The authenticity travelers are looking for is here. From top-rated downtown DeLand to the scenic St. Johns River, this is real Florida. And what variety it offers!
Start your journey at www.VisitWestVolusia.com.