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De Leon Springs State Park

This second-magnitude spring has seen its share of Florida history. First, Native Americans left burial mounds, a shell mound, and a 6,000-year-old canoe sunk in the spring.

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Then, in the early 1800s, settlers developed Spring Garden Plantation and a sugar mill. Later in the century, the plantation was destroyed twice, during the Second Seminole War and the Civil War. By the 1880s, the springs had become a winter resort with a hotel and a wall enclosing the spring bowl, and tourists were promised “a fountain of youth impregnated with a deliciously healthy combination of soda and sulphur.” In the 1920s, the sugar mill and paddlewheel were reconstructed and still stand today.

The spring itself is in a large, shallow, conical pool, 189 feet by 168 feet, and 28 feet deep to the single central vent. Water flows at an average 14.1 million gallons per day over a 3-foot drop to the spring run, and on to Spring Garden Lake, the 18,000-acre Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge, Lakes Woodruff and Dexter, and eventually to the St. Johns River. The park is located at the corner of Ponce de Leon and Burt’s Park Road, about a mile west of U.S. Highway 17.

At a Glance:

Activities: Swimming, snorkeling, kayaking/canoeing, paddleboat rentals, boat tour, fishing, hiking, boat ramp, wildlife viewing, picnic area, playground, restaurant dining in the historic sugar mill

Entrance Fee: Yes

Scuba Diving: Yes–instructional scuba sessions are allowed, but no recreational diving

Onsite Camping: No

Dogs Allowed: Yes–see state park website for rules

Type of Park: Florida state park

Address and Contact Information:

De Leon Springs State Park

601 Ponce de Leon Boulevard

De Leon Springs, FL 32130

Phone: (386) 985–4212

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Florida-State Parks

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