Description - De Leon Springs State Recreation Area has a rich history dating back as far as 8,000 B.C. A 6,000-year-old dugout canoe, one of the oldest ever found in America, was discovered here. Beginning in the early 1500s, Spanish settlement occurred until 1763 when Florida was ceded to England. Twenty years later, Spain returned to power and granted this land for plantations. A long line of planters cultivated cotton, corn and sugar cane on the plantation known as Spring Garden.
Copyright: Florida Division of Recreation & Parks
De Leon Springs State Recreation Area
In 1821, Florida became a U.S. territory. In 1832, the American artist John James Audubon visited Spring Garden, then owned by Colonel Orlando Rees. Rees built a waterwheel that harnessed the spring flow to grind his sugar cane.
The area experienced two wars, the Second Seminole War (1835-42) and the Civil War (1861-1865). In the 1880s, the spring became a winter resort. To tourists, Florida was a tropical frontier still rich in mystery and romance. At De Leon Springs in 1889 an advertisement promised "a fountain of youth impregnated with a deliciously healthy combination of soda and sulphur."
In 1982, the state of Florida acquired the area for use as a recreation area. De Leon Springs still is a place for healthful outdoor recreation in a beautiful natural setting.
- The 603 acres of De Leon Springs State Recreation Area offer a variety of activities. There is excellent swimming in the spring, which remains at 72 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. There is a ramped entrance to the spring pool. Swimming is not allowed in the spring run but anglers will find an abundance of bass and pan fish. At the park boat launch you can rent a boat or launch your own. Picnic facilities, a nature trail and a hiking trail are located in the park. Picnic pavilions may be reserved October through March. Pavilions are on a first-come, first-served basis April through September. Volleyball, horseshoes and a playground area are also available. De Leon Springs State Recreation Area provides access to Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge, where canoeists can explore 18,000 acres of lakes, creeks and marshes. Park visitors may also enjoy the Old Spanish Sugar Mill Restaurant where they can make their own pancake breakfast at the table.
Recreation - De Leon Springs provides and excellent recreational centerpiece for swimming, snorkeling, picnicking, fishing, canoeing and nature study. Scuba diving is not permitted except as an instructional class with permission of park management. A Florida freshwater fishing license is required for persons 16 years of age or older. The park's visitor center is open from 10:00 A.M. to 12:30 P.M. weekends and holidays. Contact the park office prior to planning a special trip.
Just outside the park lies the popular Lakes-N-Hills Bike Route which extends along the eastern edge of Lake Woodruff Wildlife Refuge. The route is 100 miles in length and starts in Deland's City Hall parking lot or Florida's Department of Transportation - District Office lot.
Climate - The eastern coast of central Florida is usually hot and humid with thunderstorms throughout summer. Average summer temperatures range between 81 and 83 degrees Fahrenheit (27 - 29 Celsius). Winters are mild and dry with temperatures averaging 58 - 64 degrees Fahrenheit (14 - 18 Celsius). Typical yearly precipitation ranges from less than 52 inches to about 56 inches. Lightweight clothing and sunscreen are highly recommended during the summer months. Sweaters and jackets are appropriate attire in winter.
De Leon Springs State Recreation Area is located in central Florida at the corner of Ponce De Leon and Burt Parks Roads, west of S.R. 17 and north of Orlando.