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Lake Jesup, Sanford

4.1
#4 of 7 in Parks in Sanford
Lake Jesup is one of the largest lakes in Central Florida, one of many that make up the St. Johns River. Located in the heart of Seminole County along the middle basin of the St. Johns, the lake encompasses an area of approximately 16,000 acres (65 km²), including open water and floodplain. It is named in honor of Brigadier General Thomas Jesup, an American military officer who served in the Second Seminole War. The lake boasts one of the longest free-standing bridges, part of the Seminole Expressway, which bisects the lake.
The lake is home to a wide variety of species and is considered to support one of the state's densest populations of alligators. Drivers on the bridge across the lake are likely to see eagles (osprey and bald eagles) perched on the light posts watching for fish.
During the 1960s, the toll of decades of abuse and neglect was very apparent. Wastewater discharged directly into the lake, stormwater discharges from surrounding communities, the construction of berms that segregated the lake from parts of its floodplain, and a causeway that reduced the lake's connection with the St. Johns River all took their toll on the ecosystem. The discharges resulted in significant algal growth, fish kills, and a thick layer of muck more than 9½ feet deep in some areas sitting on the bottom of the lake that now averages only six feet in depth. The berm construction aggravated this problem by limiting the lake's ability to cleanse itself.
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Lake Jesup Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
28 reviews
Google
4.3
TripAdvisor
  • Wanted to see some gators in the wild and this lake didn’t disappoint. Seen several gators along the shore. Also took an airboat ride at Black Hammock witch was a great experience. Very scenic backwat...  more »
  • Went for a few hours on way from Orlando to Daytona Beach. Went there in hopes of seeing alligators but saw none. Still it was very nice and clean park.  more »
Google
  • An awesome airboat trip around this beautiful lake was filled with exotic birds and plenty of alligators . I look forward to seeing it again !
  • When Disney was being built, some 75 years ago, it was illegal to kill alligators when they were clearing the land, and Lake Jesup was the place they relocated the alligators to - which proved to be an ideal breeding ground for them. Today the lake still gets relocated animals and has a pretty, pristine environment for recreational boating and fishing or watching the 100s of species of birds from ducks, heron, egret, osprey and bald eagles etc

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