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DE LEON SPRINGS
De Leon Springs is situated in Ponce De Leon Boulevard in De Leon Springs off the U. S Highway 17.
There is evidence of human occupation in this area going back 6000 years. They can tell this by the middens (rubbish tips) and also, more recently, a canoe has been found in the spring which they can accurately date back 6000 years.
In the 1500s the renowmed explorer Ponce De Leon landed in St Augustine and named the whole of America Florida. Legend has it that he discovered the fountain of youth here at De Leon Springs.
During the latter half of the 18th century, a British company that traded with India took over 500 acres of the land from the Seminole Indians and in the early 19th century, sugar and cotton were grown with the aid of slaves.
In 1835 the Seminole Indians took their revenge and destroyed the plantations but they were driven away by the militia.
By the late 1800s the area was turned in to a holiday resort and the coming of the railways made it easily accessible.
From then until 1982 the resort grew with a winter circus, casino and jungle cruise being added to the attractions (not quite Butlins, was it? )Then it became a State Park.
Today it provides the most wonderful day out for all the family with a choice of two cruises, trails, boating, swimming and you can even make your own pancakes.
There are 2 boat rides (why not take both? ) One is a three quarter hour trip to Spring Garden Lake at 9am or 10am or there is a half hour trip to Lake Woodruffe at 10am or 11am (so you need to get up that morning or you will miss both!).
Then you can take lunch or make your own pancakes at the Old Springs Sugar Mill which makes a pleasant break in the days events.
If you decide to take a picnic there is a very attractive designated area where there is also a playground.
Here you can snorkel or swim in the waters that are a constant 72 degrees; that will cool you down.
Kayakers and canoeists can hire a craft and it is a great way to see the park. For those a little less adventurous, there are paddle boats for hire by the hour
Of course there are nature trails. If you are feeling brave, take the Wild Persimmon trail which is almost 6 miles long. Be warned, this is not easy terrain.
The paved trail is only half a mile long and leads you through pine, scrub and hammock.
This park costs only $5 per vehicle and will give you a memorable day .
De Leon Springs State Park
601 Ponce DeLeon Blvd. /PO Box 1338
DeLeon Springs, Florida 32130
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