Just outside the Walton County line is one of the coolest places to take a dip in a spring, Ponce de Leon Springs State Park. As the water stays a constant 68 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, both locals and visitors enjoy this nature-made swimming pool, which is a convergence of two underground water flows, producing 14 million gallons of water daily.
This beautiful spring is named for Juan Ponce de Leon, who led the first Spanish expedition to Florida in 1513 – as legend has it, in search of the “fountain of youth.”
The park has a long history as it has been facilitated as far back as the early 1900s, and at one time, offered a roller skating rink. The State acquired the springs in 1970.
The spring area boasts an open pool with easy access steps entering the water. The crystal clear water shows bream and bass swimming around below.
Visitors can take a leisurely walk along two self-guided nature trails through a lush, hardwood forest and learn about the local ecology and wildlife. The walk offers a closer look at Sandy Creek, where the springs empties into, and eventually leads to the Choctawhatchee River.
Local flora includes mountain laurel, magnolias, cypress, holly, cedar and oak trees. Snakes, fox, and lizards are a common sight in the area as well.
There are four pavilions offering grills and picnic tables. There are several more tables and grills scattered around the park offering the perfect place to hold a family picnic. Rangers also conduct seasonal guided walks, and anglers can enjoy fishing for catfish, largemouth bass, chain pickerel and panfish.
Currently the park is going through renovations with the remodeling of the restrooms and new decking along the walking trails.
Recent spring rains produced standing water in many areas along the trails, so bug repellent is recommend as the mosquitoes are abundant.
Hours of Operation
8:00 a.m. to sunset
Ponce de Leon Springs State Park Area is located one half mile south of U.S. 90 on C.R. 181A in Ponce de Leon, Fla. Click here for map
Admission Fee – $4.00 per vehicle.
Pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers, passengers in vehicles with holder of annual individual entrance permit – $2.00
Ponce de Leon Springs State Park
2860 Ponce de Leon Springs Road
Ponce de Leon, Florida 32455
For more information, go to the website at: http://www.floridastateparks.org/PoncedeLeonSprings