De Leon Springs & Sugar Mill Restaurant
601 Ponce Deleon Boulevard, De Leon Springs, FL, USA
8 a.m. until sunset
water-activities, run, restaurant, hike
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De Leon Springs State Park Is Just 30 Minutes from Orlando, Heading Northeast Towards Daytona, and Is Home to a Well-Known Pancake House, the Sugar Mill Restaurant!
The appeal here is to come to the restaurant, set in a replica of an 1830s sugar mill (and 100 years old itself). It's a family favorite because breakfast is served by you! The restaurant features tabletop cook-your-own pancakes and is a favorite breakfast spot. Weekdays you can come from 9 am - 5 pm and weekends & holidays 8 am - 5 pm (closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas)! And it does get busy - reservations are not accepted, only walk-ups to grab a table. So arriving early and preparing to wait are recommended! Check them out at http://www.oldspanishsugarmill.com.
Don't want to stand around? Then jump on a 50-minute boat tour on Spring Garden Run to the St. Johns River. The captain showcases the ecology and history of the area and guarantees that you will see plenty of local birds and alligators lurking around the shore. And the best part of all of this (especially with kids) is that booking and boarding a tour will actually hold your place in line. So if you get called while on tour, come straight back to the restaurant once you're done, and if you've been called, you'll be seated! Check out additional details on their website: http://www.foytours.net.
Entering the park, you will notice the springs and swimming hole in the park's center. During warmer months, the springs are a hit with swimmers, rafters, floaters, and snorkelers alike! Swimming is allowed here only (not in the run) from the park's opening time to half an hour before sunset and can be a great way to cool off on a typical hot Florida day. If you're interested in diving (if you dare), the cave is used for instructional purposes only - though it is not for the faint of heart.
Once a tourist mecca in itself to the area, this park also features trails for hiking, boating from Spring Garden Run, fishing from the pier, and paddling on Lake Woodruff! This park was designed just as it comes - to spend your whole day outdoors - with the ability to picnic or rent a pavilion for gathering and also bring along the pet to enjoy a day out with you as well. There are no other amenities, though, so bring what you need to spend the day, or you will need to run into the surrounding city of Deland to pick up anything you missed! And for those less inclined to spend all their time in the heat, the Sugar Mill does have an on-site souvenir shop, and the park features a visitor center that chronicles the history of the area and De Leon Springs itself!