Monday, July 6, 2009

Summer Escapes #5 - Ponce De Leon Springs State Park, Florida

One of the great experiences of growing up in the Deep South was slipping away on a hot summer afternoon to enjoy the ice cold waters of a natural spring. To this day, I look at springs as the perfect summer escapes.

One of my favorites can be found at Ponce de Leon Springs State Park. Located in the little Northwest Florida community of Ponce de Leon. Located just off Interstate 10 between Tallahassee and Pensacola, the state park surrounds one of the most beautiful springs in Florida.

From the earliest days of settlement in the region, the pioneers who came to live in this part of Florida recognized the enormous potential and importance of the spring. A log hotel opened there in around 1848 and travelers stopped to marvel at the beautiful clear water. The hotel was destroyed in 1864 during the Civil War raid on Marianna.

In the years that followed, though, Ponce de Leon Springs continued to be used as a popular gathering spot for picnics, political speakings and more. In 1970 it became a Florida state park that now features swimming in the crystal clear blue water, nature trails, picnic areas, playgrounds and more. The park is open daily. To learn more, please visit

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