This summer has flown by. But I couldn’t let it pass without taking a trip to one of my favorite places in Florida, DeLeon Springs State Park.
Arriving early in the day is essential. Crowds steadily build throughout the morning, mainly to secure a table at the beloved Old Spanish Sugar Mill, a restaurant where you can make your own pancakes on an open griddle. Foodies from all over the world travel to this place to experience breakfast at the Old Spanish Sugar Mill. Wait times, especially on weekends, can exceed two hours.
But the popular restaurant isn’t the only draw at DeLeon Springs State Park. Occupying more than 600 acres, the park has plenty of recreational activities to help sweat off the pounds gained during breakfast.
I chose to do some hiking. The park has several miles of trails that meander through the floodplain forest. If being on the water is more your thing, canoes and kayaks are available to rent year-round. DeLeon Springs provides access to the 18,000 acre Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge where adventurers can explore miles of natural lakes and marshes. A one hour eco boat ride is also available.
The biggest draw is the natural sulfur spring, which sits outside the front door of the restaurant. Reaching depths of up to 30 feet and with the water temperature at a comfortable 72 degrees, taking a dip in the spring is a wonderful way to spend the afternoon. Also on property is a museum which highlights the park’s 6000 years of history.