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If you're traveling to central Florida, you won't want to miss the Spring to Spring Trail, which connects a number of small, friendly towns between Orlando and Daytona Beach, as well as many of the area's natural treasures. Although much of the trail is completed (22 of 26 miles), the trail is currently comprised of three disconnected segments, all of which are paved.
The most northern segment starts near the base of De Leon Springs State Park. Enjoy the park's lakes, creeks and marshes by canoe, kayak or paddleboat as you scout for alligators, deer, otters, egrets, bald eagles and other wildlife. From there, the trail travels south through the well-shaded neighborhoods of De Leon Springs along Grand Avenue. To the west lies the Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge, where freshwater marshes and swamps provide a critical habitat for nesting, migrating and wintering birds. This 6-mile segment ends at W. Minnesota Avenue.
After a short gap, the trail picks up with an 8.9-mile segment that begins on the southwestern outskirts of DeLand, the seat of Volusia County and home to Stetson University. Here, the trail sits not far from the banks of the 2-mile-long Lake Beresford, whose calm waters are a favorite of rowers. The trail travels south along Blue Spring State Park through an environment lush with hammock and magnolias trees. The park is a designated manatee refuge and trail-goers can learn more about this endangered animal through ranger programs and view them from an observation platform during the winter when manatees gather in the warm waters of the spring. Swimmers, snorkelers and even scuba divers can also enjoy the spring.
The trail continues seamlessly through DeBary, soon paralleling the Donald E. Smith Boulevard through high-end neighborhoods. The city is known for its beautiful oak trees and they line the path as it makes its way to W. Highbanks Road, where the trail ends in Rob Sullivan Park.
After another gap, travelers will reach the third open segment of the trail, which spans just over 7 miles. This is one of the most scenic portions of the route as is it traces the northwestern shoreline of Lake Monroe. Start at the trailhead outside the DeBary Hall Historic Site, an 8,000-square-foot estate that offers exhibits, multimedia programs and guided tours where you can learn about the history of the St. Johns River region and the individuals that worked at the house and grounds during the late 1800s and early 1900s.
From the historic site, make your way through a lovely tree-filled area to Dirksen Drive, where you can chose to go west or east on the trail once you cross the street. Choose west and you'll parallel the roadway for 1.7 miles to Gemini Springs Park, a picturesque 210-acre park named for its freshwater spring. Stop for a picnic or take a stroll on one of its nature trails. From there, the trail drops southward to Lake Monroe Park, where you can access the water from the park's boat ramps and fishing docks.
If you choose to head east along Dirksen Drive, you'll be able to access the Deltona Landings Shopping Center anchored by the Publix Super Market. On this end of the trail, there is also a direct connection to East Central Regional Rail Trail, which continues east and offers more than 40 miles of pathway.
Parking can be found in Lake Beresford Park (2100 Fatio Road, DeLand), Blue Spring State Park (2100 W. French Avenue, Orange City), and Rob Sullivan Park (200 W. Highbanks Road).
The following parking areas are also available in DeBary on the Lake Monroe segment:
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