Ponce de Leon Springs State Park, Ponce de Leon

4.6
#14 of 38 in Nature in Florida Panhandle
Must see · State Park · Nature / Park
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Ponce de Leon Springs State Recreation Area is a Florida State Park in Holmes County, Florida. It is located in the town of Ponce de Leon. The park, which was created to provide public outdoor recreation and other park-related uses, was initially acquired on September 4, 1970, using funds from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund. The park's self-proclaimed purpose is to develop, operate and maintain the property for outdoor recreation, park, historic, and related purposes, offering abundant opportunity for nature appreciation and wildlife viewing. Its primary recreational activities include swimming in the spring and hiking along the park's nature trails.

The park's significance lies in the Ponce de Leon Spring itself, its most distinctive feature. The spring was named in honor of Juan Ponce de Leon, an explorer who, in 1513, led the first Spanish expedition to Florida. Legend has it, the whole objective of Ponce de Leon's expedition was to search for a spring that, according to a Taino Indian legend, would restore youth to those who bathed in their waters.” The legend contributes to the Ponce de Leon Springs’ unofficial title, “The Fountain of Youth”.  

Although named after the Spanish explorer, the springs were previously inhabited by a group of Native Americans with a rich history of activity within the area. In addition to its spring, which is fed by the powerful Floridan Aquifer, the park boasts involvement in The Civil War, unique ecology, flora, fauna, and a multitude of specific conservancy and protective efforts.
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Ponce de Leon Springs State Park reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
229 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • We have a state park pass so when we were traveling the park was a great place to stop for a break with our dog. If we had our bathing suits we could have gone swimming as the springs looked... 
    We have a state park pass so when we were traveling the park was a great place to stop for a break with our dog. If we had our bathing suits we could have gone swimming as the springs looked...  more »
  • Wow! What a wonderful experience….we started with make your own pancakes, it was a blast..headed over to the pontoon boat ride…amazing experience…the naturalist was fabulous…we saw countless birds... 
    Wow! What a wonderful experience….we started with make your own pancakes, it was a blast..headed over to the pontoon boat ride…amazing experience…the naturalist was fabulous…we saw countless birds...  more »
Google
  • Absolutely amazing. If you like walking around there is stuff for you to look at and read about, hiking too. If you like swimming your can go in the spring, it's super cold year round. Looks like you can bring your own boats, we rented a canoe and paddled around for awhile which was a blast. The pancake house is great as well. You make your own pancakes with batter they give you. It's always super busy when we go, but we always have gotten in eventually to eat. The huge oak trees in the parking lot are a site to see by themselves.
  • Nice park like atmosphere. Too many people for the "spring cooled" pool though. The springs are very cold, must get used to it. The kids don't mind at all but we adults froze. This was in June too. Picnic tables, grills, covered pavilions. Public restrooms, though not enough for the crowds. Overall a nice place but if you don't want the crowds, go on an off day. Not the weekend.

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