Ponce de Leon Springs State Park the perfect place for a family outing

July 26, 2015

Cool off in the spring at Ponce De Leon Springs State Park. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors
Cool off in the spring at Ponce De Leon Springs State Park. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Pack a lunch and take a cool dip in the springs

Interested in exploring the perfect place to take the family and enjoy a swim in a spring? Pack up a picnic lunch and head over to Ponce de Leon Springs State Park and spend the day.

Nature trails along a creek, four pavilions, picnic areas and easy access to the swimming in a clear blue spring make this park the perfect family getaway.

Ponce de Leon springs stay a constant 68 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, making swimming in the hot summer months a special treat. The spring boils are a convergence of two underground water flows, producing 14 million gallons of water daily. The 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 shady forest trail along Sandy Creek is an easy hike. The tree canopy provides the perfect location for bird and wildlife viewing.

Anglers can enjoy fishing for catfish, largemouth bass, chain pickerel and panfish along the spring run and in the creek.

Recent park renovations include  remodeled restrooms, handicap access and new bridges to the walking trails.

The 386-acre park straddles Walton and Holmes counties. 154 undeveloped acres are currently going through long leaf pine forest restoration. Prescribed burns have opened up the canopies in the forest restoring native pitcher plants and wiregrass.

The park now offers four miles of trail opportunities in their previously undeveloped southern section of the park. In addition to the popular spring area, the park has converted their service roads, which spans approximately four miles. This portion of the park offers scenic views of upland, bottomland, and wetland areas. The trail is moderate terrain and suitable for hiking or biking.

A variety of flora can be spotted along the trail including carnivorous plants in the wetland areas. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Along the wetland areas, a variety of plants can be found such as pitcher plants, sundews, grass pink, and hatpins. On the upland portions, you may see rhododendron, red chokeberry, milkweed, hickory, huckleberry, blazing star, aster, oaks, pines, blueberry, and more. Gopher tortoise, turkey, fox, white-tailed deer, beaver, bobcat, otter, and a variety of native and migratory birds also inhabit the area. Historical elements such as turpentine remnants and an old railroad bridge can also be found.

So head over to Ponce de Leon Springs State Park and explore nature, enjoy a picnic lunch and a cool dip in the springs. You may rediscover your youth!

Hours of Operation
8 a.m. to sunset

Driving Directions
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, FL. ::MAP::

Park Fees
$4.00 per vehicle. Please use the honor box to pay fees. Correct change is required. Limit 8 people per vehicle.
$2.00 Pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers, passengers in vehicle with holder of Annual Individual Entrance Pass.

Ponce de Leon Springs State Park
2860 Ponce de Leon Springs Road
Ponce de Leon, Florida 32455
Phone: 850-836-4281
For more information, click here for the park’s website.