The state of Florida has long been a popular family travel destination. With an array of theme parks and miles of beautiful coastline, vacationers return year after year in search of family fun. If you can pull the kids away from Disney World, there are some off the beaten path attractions worth checking out that showcase Florida’s natural beauty. I am always in search of memorable and (ahem) cheaper things to do during our travels.
A hidden gem we discovered is the Madison Blue Spring State Park. This relatively new state park is located in the northern part of the Florida, smack dab in the middle. There you will find a 25ft deep fresh water spring that bubbles up from the limestone bed below. The water is crystal clear, refreshing in the summer heat, and ideal for swimming and fishing. The park is also popular with divers, who come to explore the vast underwater caverns. We encountered a Canadian diver who spent 80 minutes below the water, checking out the fish and turtles. My kids bombarded him with questions and no, he did not see any alligators. (phew!).
A day at this park would be well spent. After splashing in the spring and exploring the banks of the Withlacoochee River, which the spring feeds, you can grill out at the nearby picnic tables or wear the kids out even more with a game of volleyball (a net is set up nearby).
The facilities at Madison Blue Spring State Park were well maintained and accessible. Just make sure to pay the $5 parking fee. When we arrived, there was no park ranger on duty and the fee was paid on an “honor system.” Some less than honorable people arrived and did not pay the fee, a decision they clearly regretted once the ranger showed up and started writing tickets.
Where in the world?
Address: 8300 NE State Road 6
Lee, FL 32059
Hours: 8am- sundown / open daily