By: Allysar Hassan
Summer is coming to an end, but before the chaos erupts and your shopping cart is colliding with others in a panicked sprint for school supplies, a relaxing getaway to a Blue Springs park may be just what the entire family needs.
Soak up the rays and dive into a whole lot of fun for just a tank of gas (about 200 miles) at Blue Springs Park. The crystal-clear spring stays at a cool 72 degrees all year long, is 24-feet deep, and pumps out about 11 million gallons of water everyday, says Kim Davis, owner. Fifty yards of white-sand beach lines the shore of the spring and is perfect for young children to play or sunbathers to relax.
“The best part about the springs is getting back to the natural environment,” Davis says. “It’s getting out of the hustle and bustle of the city and being able to come out and spend time relaxing.”
Blue Springs has a diving dock that swimmers can jump off of into the 24-feet deep water. There is also a quarter-mile boardwalk that runs along the spring and runs into Santa Fe River. Get out your poles and buckets of shrimp, because fishing is permitted at the end of the boardwalk, at the river. Take a walk on the nature trails to discover a variety of wild animals like hawks, eagles, squirrels, armadillos, possum, deer or wild turkey.
One of the things that make it unique is the family atmosphere, Davis adds.
Guests can swim, canoe, kayak, or tube down the spring or just sit back and relax on the beach shore. The park also has a large playground for children, two regulation sand- volleyball courts with built in sprinklers and two regulation-sized horseshoe courts.
“We’ve got a little bit for everyone,” she says.
If one day at the park isn’t enough, campsites are available for overnight guests with primitive camping sites close to the spring or places to park RV’s with access to water and electricity. The bathhouses include showers with hot water.
Davis recommends bringing an extra card table and chairs. Even though the sites have plenty of tables, an extra table is great for playing games or storing extra food. The campsites provide barbecue grills, but some families bring their own gas grills for cooking out, she says.
Daily admission costs $10 for people ages 13 and up, $3 for children ages 5-12 and children under 4 are free.
From Melbourne to Blue Springs Park:
Address: 7450 Northeast 60th Street, High Springs
Miles: About 200
ETA: 3.5 hours
I-95 N toward Jacksonville
528 W toward Orlando
N Florida Turnpike toward Ocala
Exit 399 for US-441 toward Alachua/High Springs
Turn right onto NW U.S. 441 N
Turn left onto N Main St.
Turn right onto NW 182 Ave
Continue onto NE Co Rd. 340
Turn right onto NE 80 Ave
NE 80 Ave turns left and becomes NE 60th St.
Destination will be on the right