Along the St. Johns River, centrally located at the epicenter between Ocala, Orlando, and Gainesville is Orange City, Florida. This city boasts a quaint, small-town atmosphere and the lovely Blue Spring State Park. This 2,600-acre park isn’t the largest one around, but it’ll make up for its size with its ever-warm swimming spots and its successful manatee refuge program.
Wildlife thrives here in the subtropical climate. The warm river and acreage of mossy trees is the perfect habitat for alligators, turtles, fish, and birds. Birders, keep your eyes peeled, and you just might find a rare bald eagle or the Florida scrub-jay. RV camping at Blue Spring State Park will set you up for a nice, relaxing time in northeastern Florida. Whether you plan to go snorkeling, tubing, fishing, or picnicking, book an RV in Volusia County and start the peaceful vacation that awaits you.
Manatee populations have been in decline for decades, but thanks to this refuge, the manatee is well protected in the park. Blue Spring State Park campers can observe hundreds of these voluptuous sea creatures in their natural habitat from the designated pathways overlooking the crystal-clear waters. The “sea cow,” as the manatee is alternatively called, is a graceful sweetheart. They’re used to warmer waters, which is why the temperate segments of the St. Johns River are the perfect gathering spots for these beautiful creatures. While some areas of St. Johns River welcome swimmers, swimming with the manatees is strictly forbidden.
That being said, St. Johns River will help you beat that Florida heat. Take one dip in that 72-degree water and you’ll never want to get out. Rent a kayak or canoe and paddle along the gentle current. But make sure to get the most of your Blue Spring camping trip by renting a tube and floating lazily down the river soaking up the sun. You know you deserve it. Treat yourself!
Fancy a spot of fishing? Grab your pole from the RV rental and head to the St. Johns fishing dock. Largemouth bass, flounder, and snook are just a few of the trophies you might take home from a day spent angling on the docks. Make sure to follow the state and park fishing regulations, and remember to stick to the St. Johns River. Fishing isn't allowed in the Blue Spring Run.
The boardwalk to Blue Spring is wood-planked and easily maneuverable in a wheelchair, making this walk accessible for everyone in the family.
Camping at Blue Spring State Park
If motorhome camping near the St. John River is starting to sound good to you, you’re in luck. Partial hookups are available at most of the park’s 51 campsites. Electricity and water are available, but sewage is not. Campers who prefer the creature comforts of home will be happy to hear that showers, restaurants, dump stations, and restrooms are a few of the amenities you’ll find at Blue Spring. RVs 40 feet and under are welcome.
If you bring a pet with you, they’re more than welcome in the park as long as they abide by the rules. Dogs must remain on a leash and well-behaved. Check the park’s guidelines for more details.
If you like to plan ahead for your RV camping trip, the park accepts reservations up to 11 months prior to arrival and as soon as one day before.
Exploring the Area
With its location smack in between four bigger cities, Blue Spring State Park puts you in the perfect position to explore. Feeling the urge to enjoy some summertime beach vibes? Forty-five minutes northeast of Blue Spring State Park is the famous spring break destination of Daytona Beach. Check out the city’s beautiful beach and take a swim in the Atlantic Ocean. Afterward, stroll along the Daytona Beach Boardwalk and Pier, where you’ll find dozens of shopping and dining opportunities as well as fun arcade games.
If childhood wonderment is more your thing, head south to the metropolis of Orlando and visit any of the country’s major theme parks. Home of Disney park franchise and Universal Studios, Orlando is the perfect place to relive childhood memories and ride heart-thumping roller coasters. Or, if you’d prefer to avoid the city’s crowded theme parks, opt for a quieter experience at Orlando County Regional History Center and Heritage Square Park, which details 12,000 years of Florida history in dozens of kid-friendly exhibits.
There are no gas stations in Blue Spring State Park itself, but you’ll find plenty of provisions along Highway 17 and I-4, just minutes away. Once your RV rental is filled with gas and your hearts are fully content, catch the sunrise on the Atlantic coast in the morning and watch it set over the Gulf of Mexico at night. Or take the reigns and head south all the way to Everglades National Park.