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Eco Tours

A few suggestions for people who want to get to the heart of nature, away from the crowds and alone with the scrub jays.

Morning

If you like bird watching and wildlife viewing, get out early in the morning to Lake Woodruff Wildlife Refuge. Bring your hiking boots, camera, and binoculars. Plan to be there until lunch for the first part of your tour.

Lake Woodruff Wildlife Refuge – De Leon Springs

Lake Woodruff Wildlife Refuge is an excellent birding area where over 200 species of birds can be seen depending on the time of year. It is also a very natural and peaceful area with extensive trails, plenty of water for viewing waterfowl, gators, and otters, and it has on observation towers for special viewing opportunities.

Afternoon

After lunch, head down to Blue Spring State Park for the first part or your Blue Spring & Green Spring Tour. Plan to spend two to three hours at Blue Spring. The two springs Blue Springs & Green Springs are 10 miles apart at two different parks.

Blue Springs State Park

If it’s the warm months Blue Spring State Park can provide a whole day of outdoor fun – from tubing on the river, to cruising the St. Johns on a pontoon boat tour, hiking the boardwalk to the Spring itself, and picnicking on the grounds. You can rent a canoe there, and there are snack stands and restrooms near the spring.
If it’s the winter months, pick a cold day (from Nov. to March) and stop by the spring to view the manatees. They flock here in the winter to enjoy the constant 72-degree water pumped out by the spring. Depending on the day, you can see anywhere from 10 to over 300 manatee.

Blue Spring State Park
2100 W French Ave, Orange City, FL 32713
(386) 775-3663

Green Springs Park

This little gem of a park has easy access for visitors and provides a nice, quiet, early morning visit to a unique Green Spring. There is a nice little playground for the kids here as well. The interpretive kiosks explain the unique source of the brilliant green water.

Green Springs Park
994 Enterprise/Osteen Road, Enterprise, FL 32725
(386) 736-5953

Full or Half-Day Tours

If you are interested in hiking, cycling, or horseback riding, these wilderness areas will provide enough trails for you to spend a half-day or full day enjoying nature.

Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge

Established in 1964, Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge is comprised of 21,574 acres in central Florida along the St. Johns River (Florida’s longest river) near DeLeon Springs. The Refuge has: 11,100 acres of freshwater marsh, 7,200 acres of hardwood swamps, 2,400 acres of uplands, More than 1,000 acres of lakes, streams, and canals.
The Refuge’s geographical location straddles an overlapping zone between the subtropical and temperate climates. This overlap allows for a high diversity of species to be found on the Refuge. Additionally, it is uniquely positioned to support a wide variety of resident and migratory species.

Lake Woodruff Birding Checklist

Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge
2045 Mud Lake Road, De Leon Springs, FL 32130
(386) 985-4673

Hickory Bluff Preserve

The 150-acre Hickory Bluff Preserve overlooks the St. Johns River and contains many natural communities including mesic and scrubby flatwoods, oak hammock, cypress domes, floodplain swamp, and wet prairie.

Hickory Bluff Preserve
598 Guise Rd., Osteen, FL 32764
(386) 740-5261

Palm Bluff Conservation Area

For a short hike that you could take the kids on or bring your horse to for some horseback riding, Palm Bluff Conservation Area has a nice wide trail and offers good nature viewing.

Palm Bluff Conservation Area
1313 Florida 415, Osteen, FL 32764
(386) 329-4404

Heart Island Conservation Area

This conservation area has over 14,000 acres of trails and managed area. You can drive, hike, horseback ride or cycle this area in the northern part of the corridor. Easily accessed from US 17 in Deleon Springs, the kiosk in the parking lot will show you the trails. This area also provides hunting opportunities. Off-road vehicles are not allowed (motorcycles, track vehicles, all terrain vehicles).

Heart Island Conservation Area
988 Florida 40 De Leon Springs, FL 32130
29.204957, -81.368826
(386) 329-4404

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