Saturday, April 9, 2016

Central Florida State Parks

 During my stay here in Central Florida, I've had the opportunity to visit 3 State Parks. First was Blue Springs in Orange City. We had visited Blue Springs a couple of years ago during the height of Manatee season (Jan/Feb) to witness hundreds of Manatees in this short spring run. This year however, I was a bit late and they had all headed out into the St Johns River. The waters of Blue Springs, like most all the Central and North Central rivers, are crystal clear with blue to green waters, just beautiful. With no Manatees to photograph, I wanders around and just enjoyed the park, Here are just a few.

 Divers heading into the abyss

 Elevated boardwalk along the spring run.

 Old homestead of the first family to inhabit the area. Look at the size of that Oak Tree.

 Next up was Hontoon Island a few miles east of Deland. This park is unique, as it can only be accessed by Ferry or private boat. It's a small island in the middle of the St Johns river and not much to it, just few primitive campsites and a hiking trail along with the Ranger Station and museum of the area. The hiking trails were closed this day as they were having a controlled burn on the island, so not much to see.

 Did however spot this Sandhill Crane and her baby.

 Lastly was Silver Springs just outside of Ocala. For many years this was a private tourist attraction and was very popular. I remember coming here as a kid some 45 years ago with my parents. From talking with the Rangers, the park changed hands several times over the years and became more and more run down. Seems each owner was just in it for the tourist dollar than actually keeping the park up. The State finally bought it and is working hard to bring it back to it's former glory.

 Hint, be the first one in any state park and enjoy what it has to offer be for all the regular tourists invade. Funny, in that I don't really consider us full time RV'er tourists, as we more often than not will visit an area, stay for a while (actually live there) and basically become a local for a time. We want to experience the area, not just pop in, run through the tourist attractions and head home.
This day I was first in the park, the fog was still on the water and the quiet peacefulness was just amazing.

 This is a single Palm Tree which this deck was built around. pretty wild how it struggled to stay out of the water.

 The glass Bottom Boats are still in operation, just now under the watchful eye of the state.

Hmmm, seems to be the same theme at each state park

Well that's it, three State Parks of the many that Florida has to offer. If you have not had a chance to visit any of the parks, please do so. I grew up in this area and I can tell you Florida is not all beaches and Disney World. Get out and (as the state parks motto says) experience the Real Florida, you won't be disappointed.
Don't know how much longer I'll be in Florida, heading out in the morning. Seems Sheryl has her hands full with three Grandbabies to care for by herself and is screaming "Uncle"!!! So I"m headed that way to help out and keep the little heathens from driving Sheryl insane (just kidding) but three youngins can be a handful and a half. Ok, so , until next time from parts yet unknown........................

1 comment:

  1. Gorgeous photos! Thank you so much for sharing, you have a lovely blog. Warm greetings from Montreal, Canada. :)