The largest spring on the St. Johns River, Blue Spring is a designated Manatee Refuge and the winter home (mid-November through March) to a growing population of West Indian Manatees.
For centuries, the spring area was home for Native Americans. In 1766 it was visited by British botanist John Bartram, but it wasn't until 1856 that it was settled by Louis Thursby and his family. The Thursby house, built in 1872, remains standing.
The spring's crystal clear, 73 degree water can be enjoyed by swimmers, snorkelers, and certified scuba divers with a partner. Swimming or diving with manatees is not permitted and is strictly enforced. The river is popular for fishing, canoeing, and boating. River boat tours are available.
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