(Last Updated On: January 2, 2023)

The spring at Ponce de Leon Springs State Park being shaded by trees on a sunny day

The famous ‘fountain of youth’ may just be located in Holmes County, Florida only 90 miles east of Pensacola. As legend tells, a Spanish explorer by the name of Ponce de Leon discovered this area while searching for the elusive ‘fountain of youth’.

Today, this refreshing 68 degree spring is enjoyed by countless visitors, each searching for a place to escape from the heat and bustle of daily life. In addition to swimming, snorkeling, floating and fishing, Ponce de Leon Springs State Park features picturesque picnic areas, nature trails and wildlife walks.

Another historic remembrance of this area: When the spring and surrounding area was owned by the Smithgall family, during the 1920s, it featured a skating rink and eatery.

Activities

Come spend the day floating in the ‘fountain of youth’! Explore the nature trails and imagine how this area looked 400 years ago when Ponce de Leon was passing through. Bring a picnic lunch or catch a bass or catfish and grill it on one of the park’s barbeque grills in the picnic area.

Here are some of the many activities that you can do during your visit to Ponce de Leon Springs State Park:

Swimming at Ponce de Leon Springs State Park

Swim, snorkel or float in the refreshing 68 degree clear spring inside Ponce de Leon Springs State Park. This beautiful spring will transport you back in time to when Ponce de Leon was searching for the ‘fountain of youth’.

Its shallow waters are ideal for children and beginner swimmers, and guests will delight in having a chance to snorkel and discover what lies beneath the surface.

Changing rooms are located next to the park’s restrooms.

stairway leading down to the water at Ponce de Leon Springs State Park

Hiking at Ponce de Leon Springs State Park

Explore the nature trails that wind throughout the surrounding hardwoods, wildflowers and plants and along the spring and Sandy Creek. Trails may become muddy so wear comfortable waterproof hiking boots.

Guided walks are offered seasonally, ask at the ranger station.

Fishing at Ponce de Leon Springs State Park

Pack your fishing gear, pick up a Florida fishing license, and spend the day along the spring. Anglers may catch largemouth bass, catfish, panfish and chain pickerel in areas around the spring that are not designated for swimming.

Birding at Ponce de Leon Springs State Park

Ponce de Leon Springs State Park is a great spot to see a variety of bird species, both native and migratory, especially along the nature trails that extend through the hardwood forest. And especially during the winter months.

Sightings are significantly less during the warmer months when the spring is full of guests cooling off.

It’s a stop along the Great Florida Birding Trail, and a great place to see Great Horned Owls, mockingbirds, woodpeckers, Brown creeper, Golden-crowned Kinglet, wrens, hawks, bald eagles and Yellow-billed Cuckoos.

Nature and Wildlife at Ponce de Leon Springs State Park

Walk through the serene pines, wet flatwoods and past orange azaleas, mountain laurel and pitcher plants inside Ponce de Leon Springs State Park. Nine distinct habitats are located inside the park and surrounding area. During your visit here you may see deer, birds, foxes, alligators and gopher tortoises.

Pets at Ponce de Leon Springs State Park

Well behaved pets are allowed inside Ponce de Leon Springs State Park as long as they are kept on a hand held leash no longer than 6 feet and cleaned up after. Pets are not allowed in any park buildings or in the beach area.

Camping Near Ponce de Leon Springs State Park

Spend a fun filled day inside Ponce de Leon Springs State Park – explore the nature trails, swim in the refreshing spring and have a picnic lunch. And then head over to one of these nearby campgrounds for a peaceful night’s sleep:

  • Ponce De Leon RV Park – 2920 FL-81, Ponce De Leon

    This cozy RV park is only a mile away from Ponce de Leon Springs State Park. Each site has water, electric and sewer hookups plus complimentary Wifi and cable tv. Other amenities include RV/boat storage, laundry facilities, large picnic pavilion and walking trails. Pets are welcome.

  • Vortex SpringAdventures – 1517 Vortex Springs Ln, Ponce De Leon

    Vortex Spring features a diving resort (home of the red and white ‘Diver Down’ flag) with cozy lodges, cabins and campsites. Each spacious campsite has water and electric connections and a picnic table and grill.

Park Location

Ponce de Leon Springs State Park
2860 Ponce De Leon Springs Rd
Ponce De Leon, FL 32455
Phone: 850.836.4281

Website

Map

Video

Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Ponce de Leon Springs State Park: