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In central Florida, DeBary is a leafy city by the St. Johns River within a 45-minute drive of Orlando. Its small-town charm and riverside homes exist side-by-side with rural spaces and an extensive park system that attract not only human visitors but avian migrants too. It's also ideally located for RV rentals in DeBary to explore the many lakes, state parks, and Atlantic beaches this side of Florida is famous for.
DeBary was named after its first non-Native American settler, Samuel Frederick DeBary, a prosperous wine merchant from New York. The land he bought along the St. John's River grew from a place of winter retreat to a citrus grove thousands of acres wide and a place to launch his steamboat company. His entrepreneurial ventures in the late 19th century greatly contributed to the growth of DeBary, which incorporated almost a century after his death.
Rent a motorhome in DeBary and you won’t have any shortage of water-based activities whether you're into swimming, fishing (bluegills, crappie, and catfish), kayaking/canoeing, scuba diving, or boating. Join one of the many St. Johns River cruises and ecotours where you'll learn the river's history, its significance to Native Americans, and its unusual south-to-north flow. Wildlife is abundant so keep an eye out for birdlife (sandhill cranes, egrets, kingfishers), turtles, and alligators. Rent an RV in DeBary in winter and you might just see manatees seeking refuge here from the cold Atlantic waters.
Give your legs a good workout as you explore the multi-use Spring-to-Spring Trail from the trailhead at DeBary Hall Historic Site. The trail connects Gemini Springs Park to DeLeon Springs State Park some 25 miles away. For a more ambitious cycling adventure, follow the St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop Bike Trail that will take visitors through rural hamlets, resort towns, and coastal dunes for more than 200 miles. This long-ranging bike trail also links several state parks, wildlife refuges, and a national seashore so it’s ideal to explore if you like your adrenaline-fueled adventure mixed with plenty of nature.
On the Atlantic side of Florida, history, nature, and rocket science come together at Canaveral National Seashore, about a 45-minute drive away. It's one of the few stretches of the Florida coast that has remained largely unchanged from the time the Timucua people left evidence of their occupation in Turtle Mound. The park encompasses 58,000 acres of open lagoons, barrier island, coastal hammock, and pine flatwoods. Stretching 24 miles, the undeveloped beach is where serenity reigns supreme, sea turtles nest on the shores, and migrating wading birds and waterfowl stop over after a long flight. It’s also where you can watch a rocket launch occurring on Kennedy Space Center if you’re timing is right.
Proximity to Orlando's theme parks, the Daytona International Speedway, and Atlantic beaches means this side of Florida boasts a decent share of RV parks and campgrounds for your motorhome rental in DeBary. You will find plenty of places to stay with full hookup sites, showers and pool access within a 30-mile radius.
The few options you have within the city include Lake Monroe County Park with water and electric service, showers, and restrooms, and Highbanks Marina and Camp Resort nestled along St. Johns River with full hook-up sites, showers, and pool access. If you require no hookups for a short stay in town, check with the manager of a Walmart store in DeBary to see if overnight parking is allowed.
Numerous gas stations, many with extended hours, line US-17 and I-4 so you can fill your tank in DeBary before setting off to find campgrounds outside of town. A state park camping experience awaits at Blue Springs State Park, just a half an hour's drive away by DeBary RV rental. The Blue Springs State Park has water and electric sites, showers, and restrooms. Here you can view manatees up close from boardwalks without influencing their natural behavior. Plan to visit from mid-November to March to see hundreds of wintering manatees congregate here to enjoy the constant 72-degree spring water.
With seafood aplenty, it's no surprise you'll find Cajun and Creole cuisine in DeBary. There are also a handful of places serving Italian food and a few offering diner and bistro fare. In most restaurants, it's possible to order the vegan or gluten-free version of what's on the menu.
The 8,000-square-foot winter lodge of Frederick DeBary was built in 1871 in the Italianate style featuring a wrap-around porch on each of its two floors. In its heyday, the house welcomed Presidents Ulysses Grant and Grover Cleveland among its many notable guests. The pioneer's restored hunting retreat is now DeBary Hall Historic Site and offers docent-led tours to the public.
You probably haven't seen a full-scale F15 jet on prominent display in an outdoor park, but at DeBary, they have one at the Memorial Park dedicated to war veterans and departed local heroes and residents. The F-15A Eagle, mounted on its base as if ready to take off, saw action in Saudi Arabia in 1996. There's also the nine-ton anchor of USS Langley, the first aircraft carrier of the US Navy, on display.
If you’re curious where the start of the Spring-to-Spring loop begins, drive your DeBary motorhome rental to Gemini Springs Park close to the town of Enterprise. The free-flowing twin springs produce more than six million gallons of sparkling fresh water a day. There are a one-mile loop bike trail and a three-quarter-mile nature trail for those inclined to stretch their legs, and birdlife for those eager to check species off their life list.
DeBary is more than just a corridor between Orlando and Daytona Beach. But perhaps it’s the city’s very location that makes it convenient to rent an RV and see where else it could take you. So don’t delay, do it today. You’ll be glad you did.