Blue Spring State Park is a fun Florida state park just north of Orlando, FL. The park boasts a spring that you can swim in most of the year. But, although the water is closed in the winter, the park has a bigger draw in the winter: manatees.
We’ve visited this state park twice now, and have enjoyed how the spring is within a short walk of the campground. But, on our most recent visit, our Verizon cell signal in the campground wasn’t great. Here’s our take on this state park and its campground.
There are 44 campsites at Blue Spring State Park that can accommodate either tent or RV campers. Sites lengths vary though, with maximum vehicle lengths ranging from 20 to 45 feet. All of the sites are back-in sites.
Each site has water, electricity, a picnic table, and a fire ring. And, all of the sites are separated from each other by vegetation. So, each site feels relatively private.
When arriving, it can be difficult to see the site numbers that are painted on the ground. These numbers are the only marker to denote each site.
The Blue Spring State Park campground has two new bathhouses, each with two showers and four toilet stalls on the women’s side. Unlike some parks, these bathhouses always had soap and were cleaned three times each day. There’s also at least one older bathhouse, but we never visited it to see if it was still operational. For what it’s worth, the older bathhouse isn’t depicted on the campground map.
The campground has a washer and dryer outside each of the new bathhouses. The cost is $2 for the washer and $2 for the dryer.
The sites don’t have full hook-ups, but there is a dumping station located near one of the new bathhouses.
The park and campground offer single-stream recycling. There are recycling bins near the new bathhouses as well as near the trash dumpsters by the campground exit.
Perhaps the best part, the campground is a short walk (less than five minutes) from the main visitor area at Blue Spring State Park. Since we don’t have a tow vehicle, this is a major plus for us.
The park has lots of manatees in the winter (usually Nov. 15 to Mar. 31) but is open for water activities such as diving and tubing in other parts of the year.
Even in the winter, you can still take boat rides on the St. John’s river.
And you can walk along the park’s trails during all seasons. We enjoyed walking along the spring run to the St. John’s River on the boardwalk.
We swam in the spring in early November and saw just one manatee on this visit. But, when we visited again in late December, the park estimates that 400 or 500 manatees were in the spring each day. It was great to watch the manatees swim, play, and eat vegetation in the river.
Katie also saw an owl near dusk one night near the spring.
During our first stay at Blue Spring State Park in November, we had no issues working from our Verizon hotspots. But, on our visit in late December, we found the Verizon service unusable at points without our WeBoost cell booster. And, even with the booster, the service still wasn’t all that great for working.
The cell data speed varied during our stay but was generally worst during the daylight hours when the park was full of visitors. The worst speed test we captured during our December stay was 1.21 Mbps download and 0.02 Mbps upload. Meanwhile, the best speed test we captured during our December stay was 15.4 Mbps download and 1.78 Mbps upload.
We booked our stay at Blue Spring State Park through ReserveAmerica. Each campsite costs $24 and can be booked up to 11 months in advance.
You must pay in full when you book and there’s a $6.70 reservation fee per reservation when you book online or over the phone. If you need to cancel, you’ll lose the reservation fee. If you cancel before the day of arrival, you’ll also need to pay a $17.75 fee. And if you cancel on the day of arrival or later, you’ll still need to pay for your first night.
Note that Blue Spring State Park often reaches its parking lot capacity. You’ll be allowed in with a campground reservation even if there’s a line. But, you may have to wait in a long line to even get to the point where you can bypass the rest of the line using to your campground reservation. When we left on a Monday afternoon around 1 pm, there was a significant line at the entrance.
We’ve stayed in the Blue Spring State Park campground twice now. So, this is a good sign that we like the campground and park. It’s great that the campground is just a short walk from the spring. And we love that the sites feel relatively private.
The primary downsides are no full hookups and weak Verizon cell service when the park is crowded during the day time hours. But, if you’re visiting off-season or don’t need to work during the day, the park is a great find.