Experience 2 of Florida’s Natural Wonders in 1 trip! This St Johns River Cruise operates out of Blue Spring State Park, so you can enjoy both the river and the park in one outing. The park’s namesake attraction is Blue Spring, one of Florida’s world-class 1st Magnitude Springs. It is the largest spring feeding the St Johns River, discharging over 100 millions gallons of sparkling clear water every day.
Florida’s longest river, the St Johns, is one of the laziest rivers in the world, as it drops less than an inch per mile in elevation over its 310 mile course. This is one of the few rivers in North America that flows north and 1 of only 11 National Heritage Rivers in the entire country. Twice a day it reverses flow with high tide and when conditions are right (which happens quite often) it flows backwards more than 160 miles — right past Blue Spring State Park, all the way to Lake Monroe.
The Photo Gallery, video, Google Earth map (below) and WonderMap are from a river cruise I took with my Florida Master Naturalist class. The cruise was both entertaining and informative — they know all the best places for spotting Florida’s subtropical flora and fauna. However, you have choices: You can take the cruise (about 2 hours) or you can paddle the same route, thanks to our WonderMap. You can rent a kayak or canoe at the on-site concession, or bring your own.
This is the heart of the St Johns River, located approximately midway between its southern headwaters and northern outlet. It has the look and feel of a subtropical estuary, echoing its distant past. With an average depth of just 8 feet and nearly imperceptible flow, it seems you’re exploring a vast estuary. From alligators and Anhingas to water lilies and Zebra Longwing Butterflies, the wildlife and subtropical foliage is spectacular. Manatees? By the hundreds. Blue Spring Run may be the largest single manatee wintering grounds in North America. You can even watch them on live video cameras.
This video starts out with a ride on the river cruise pontoon boat, then transitions to a photo-by-photo tour, up close & personal with the river:
St. Johns River Cruise WonderMap. Tip: Click on the GPS waypoint markers for a photo from that location.
This Google Earth map shows the cruise route in red, along with the drive into Blue Spring State Park from Volusia Ave (17/92) in Orange City. For a more detailed view with photo-waypoints, please see our WonderMap above.