State Parks

Our home is located near some of the most beautiful State Parks in Florida.  This is a very economical  option for families on a budget.  In general, $5.00 gets the entire car into the park for the day.  Now that's value!  We have enjoyed snorkeling, swimming, hiking, and canoeing.  Bulow State Park, very close to our home, has been a family favorite for years.  The sugar mill ruins and Bulow Creek are beautiful to explore.  Be sure to ask directions to the Fairchild Oak.  It is an ancient oak tree that words cannot describe.  De Leon Springs, Alexander Springs, and Blue Springs are excellent swimming locations.  We snorkel in these clear springs for a great (and chilling) adventure.  The temperature is a constant 74 degrees year round.  In the winter months, the manatees flock to Blue Springs for its warmth.  This is a great day trip to see 50 to 100 manatees in the water at a time!  Both De Leon Springs and Blue Springs offer a river boat adventure up the St. John's River.  The old mill restaurant at  De Leon Springs is fantastic fun.  Their specialty is "cook your own pancakes" right at your table.  The B.L.T. is to die for!

Further north up the road are other great parks. We love the fort national parks near St. Augustine, also a great value.  The smaller fort, Matanzas, is free, and it includes a boat ride!  Fort Mose, north of St. Augustine, is the first free slave colony in the United States.  

Bulow sugar plantation ruins
The Fairchild Oak
A beautiful country drive near Bulow

Tomoka State Park
Ponce Inlet Lighthouse just south of Daytona.  The Marine Science Center and Sea Turtle Rescue is next door.
De Leon Springs--grab your snorkels and $5.00 per car!
Making pancakes and french toast at De Leon Spring's mill restaurant.
Jumping into the spring at 30 feet deep!
Blue Springs State Park
Snorkelling at Blue Springs.  The manatees take over in the winter!
St. Augustine Lighthouse
Fort Matanzas--take a free boat ride to explore the fort. 
Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine