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Florida’s Hidden Gem: Why De Leon Springs State Park is a Must-Visit

April 15, 2024 3 min read

Florida is full of wonderful state parks. From Silver Springs State Park to Hontoon Island State Park, there are many that will entertain the outdoor adventurer. But there is a reason De Leon Springs State Park is considered a hidden gem, and it is due to the many unique features you’ll find at the park.

In this post, you’ll find why De Leon Springs State Park is a must-visit and other tips that will make your day at De Leon Spring State Park a successful visit.

Why De Leon Springs State Park is a Must-Visit

Located in De Leon Springs, Florida, De Leon Springs State Park is a haven for locals. This natural oasis will not only take your breath away, but you’ll have hours of fun exploring the ancient springs full of history.

There are many reasons why De Leon Springs State Park is a must-visit, aside from the beautiful springs, which you can find below.

De Leon Springs State Park

Boat Tours

While there is kayaking and paddle boarding at De Leon Springs, they also have boat tours. There are quite a number of State Parks that do offer boat tours, but there are plenty of others that don’t.

The boat tour at De Leon Springs requires a minimum of 8 people for the tour to take place and it is a 50-minute eco history boat tour, which is great if you find yourself on the waitlist to the restaurant.

The Fountain of Youth boat tour is $12-$19 and you can book online before you get there.

If you prefer to take a self-tour on a kayak or paddle board, De Leon Springs does provide access to Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge, which has 22,000 acres of lakes, creeks, and marshes.


If you’re looking for something more adventurous, you can go snorkeling or swimming. You can also go scuba diving, but this would require proof of your diver’s certification and a dive party of at least two divers.


Old Sugar Mill Pancake House

The first time I ate at the Old Sugar Mill Pancake House, it was Valentine’s Day weekend and we waited for about 50 minutes before we got in. This place is highly popular due to its cook-your-own pancakes at-the-table feature. They also have other breakfast and lunch items on the menu, and it’s located in a 100-year-old replica of a 1830s Sugar Mill.

The Old Sugar Mill Pancake House is open 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. daily. Because this is so unique to a state park, this is a major reason why De Leon Springs is a must-visit State Park.

If you decide you do not want to eat at the restaurant, but take your food, there are picnic areas in this beautiful state park.


Historic Sites and Exhibits

The park has structures dating back to the 1950s, which is why this is such a historical site. From the concrete walls to the gatehouses, most of everything you see has some sort of history.

There are also some exhibits such as the butterfly garden by the main parking lot and if you go behind the restaurant, you’ll find heritage crops that are planted seasonally.


Nature Trails

There are some great trails at the De Leon Springs State Park, you can either walk the nature trail or go bird watching at the Persimmon Hiking Trail. While you’ll find plenty of hiking trails at different state parks, this one is quite beautiful. You’ll also see some manatees while wandering around De Leon Springs.

De Leon Springs is such a wonderful State Park visit and a must when traveling to Florida. So if you’re looking for a good State Park to visit, this is the one to go to.

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About Me

About Me


Hola! I'm Hanny and I have been traveling since the age of three. Although, I grew up traveling, it wasn't until 2013, when I decided to start a blog. Read More

xoxo Hanny

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