De Leon Springs State Park is a wonderful Florida destination. This state park offers delicious pancakes that you are able to cook in front of you, healing waters to swim in, an eco / history boat ride, rich history, and gorgeous surroundings to explore. This park is a wonderful location to spend the day!
De Leon Springs State Park is located in East Central Florida. It was a 90 minute drive for us and totally worth it!
De Leon Springs: The Healing Springs
Upon arriving at the springs my kids were anxious to swim in the healing waters. De Leon State Park is built around a natural spring. The spring flows at a rate of about 20 million gallons a day and the water remains 72 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. I find it is perfect for all ages as it offers shallow and deep swimming areas, at the spring boil it is 30 feet deep.
The water is crystal clear! Ava was chasing a turtle around the spring for quite a while.
De Leon springs were once called Acuera, or “Healing Waters,” by Timucuan Indians who inhabited the area. This spot was later marketed as a winter resort for the springs’ healing powers and labeled as the Fountain of Youth. These alleged healing powers were apparently caused by the springs’ high sulfur content. No worries, sulfur mining made it so you won’t smell like a rotten egg when you go for a swim!
Old Sugar Mill Grill and Griddle House
Old Sugar Mill Grill and Griddle House is a very popular destination. Be prepared for a wait! We arrived on a weekday after and there was a two-hour wait for a table. Quick service is also available to order at the window where you can get hot dogs and burgers.
De Leon Springs is often called “pancake park”, you can see why!
Fountain of Youth Eco / History Boat Tour
It was easy to turn our visit to De Leon Springs State Park into a learning adventure by hoping on the Fountain of Youth Eco / History Boat Tour. The tour takes you on a beautiful trip through The Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge
Captain Jack was amazing with the kids and full of information. He educated us on the many types of birds that were in the area and shared the rich history that surrounded us. Apparently, Ponce de Leon was never in this area but it makes for a great story.
We were all thrilled with all of the wildlife we encountered!
I certainly recommend that you take the boat tour when visiting the park!
De Leon Springs Museum
Step into the De Leon Springs museum where you can discover the rich history of this area.
In 1985 and 1990 two dugout canoes were discovered at the bottom of the springs. These canoes date back 6,000 years (wow!) to the Mayaca Indians and are the oldest canoes in the Western Hemisphere.
Ava and Audrey couldn’t believe the story of Sunshine Sally, the water-skiing elephant, was real!
I love this painting of the springs when it was a resort.
In the museum you will also discover the many tribes of native people who called this area home.
De Leon Springs State Park is BEAUTIFUL. A half-mile paved nature trail passes through a hammock and leads to Old Methuselah, a huge bald cypress tree that is more than 500 years old. There is also a 4.2-mile Wild Persimmon loop trail in the park.
The ancient live oaks and cypress trees are breathtaking. I love this tree.
Alex enjoyed exploring off the trails.
You can also launch kayaks or canoes from the park or rent them from the concessionaire. We didn’t get to paddle here on this visit but hope to return so we can explore more!
De Leon State Park has so much to offer. I hope that you are able to visit, explore, and have as much fun as we did on this adventure!
To see more of our adventures please click here.