BLUE SPRING STATE PARK

MANAGER'S MESSAGE

Have you ever seen a West Indian manatee? Did you know that manatees can grow up to 9 feet and weigh over 1,000 pounds? Now imagine seeing several hundred bunched up together all in one place.

BLUE SPRING STATE PARK

MANAGER'S MESSAGE

Have you ever seen a West Indian manatee? Did you know that manatees can grow up to 9 feet and weigh over 1,000 pounds? Now imagine seeing several hundred bunched up together all in one place.

Michael Watkins, Park Manager

Do you know what a West Indian manatee looks like? Manatees can grow up to 9 feet long and weigh over 1,000 pounds, according to Wikipedia. Imagine hundreds of people crammed into a single location.

I went to start our daily manatee count on our first winter morning in the park, and I couldn’t believe my eyes as I stood at the edge of the boardwalk. Hundreds of manatees swam through the water. It appeared that you could walk across the spring without ever coming into contact with the water. When they surfaced every few seconds and exhaled tremendous bursts of air, it sounded like a symphony of manatees.

Blue Spring State Park is a winter sanctuary for manatees seeking warmer 72-degree spring water during manatee season (November through March). The park’s unofficial world record count is 566 manatees, which I like to brag about. Don’t get me wrong: manatees are wonderful creatures, but my favorite, and what really ruffles my feathers, is the endangered Florida scrub-rising jay’s population. Only the sand pine scrub of Florida is home to this magnificent gray-and-blue bird. The ideal time to see a scrub-jay is on a morning trek through our park.

You can enjoy two completely different seasons at Blue Spring.

In the pure spring water, summertime is ideal for recreational water sports such as snorkeling and tubing.

Winter is a great time to see manatees and other animals from our picturesque overlooks, as well as participate in park programs and boat trips on the St. Johns River. I often advise people to arrive early, not only to avoid the crowds, but also to maximize their time here. We may appear to be a small park, but we have a wide range of activities that I believe you will love.

I know there’s a lot to do here, and I’m confident you’ll discover the ideal activity to help you connect with yourself and your environment. When you visit the… Real Florida at Blue Spring State Park, you may go swimming, tubing, snorkeling, and scuba diving, as well as bicycling, hiking, and so much more!