Kayaking Spring Garden Lake from Ponce DeLeon Springs State Park

We have been to DeLeon Springs Park a few times and usually start the morning hiking the half-mile nature trail. There's a forest with cypress, water, and wildflowers along the path—the short nature trail loops along a creek that flows out of the spring.

The park also has the Sugar Mill Restaurant, where you can cook your pancakes, eggs, and bread at the table equipped with a grill. The restaurant was built in the early 1900s on the foundation of an 1830s mill. Near the building is the Fountain of Youth. After our early morning activities, we spend time in the swimming area where the water is crystal blue and a constant 72 degrees year-round. 

Since we have the kids, we rented tandem kayaks on-site and launched for our two-hour paddle. The basin where we launch leads to Spring Garden Lake, and our journey began through lilies into the open water.

The trip was quiet, with occasional spotting of alligators, others, deer, and birds. After our paddle, we used the picnic tables at the park to eat before heading home for the day.

The swimming area is separated from the river and made to be like a natural swimming pool.

Pavilions and picnic tables to eat at

The hike through a cypress forest

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