Central Florida / News

Where to experience firefly season. Wait, what’s firefly season?

Blue Spring State Park,  home to manatees in the winter and a favorite place for a swim in clear, bracing spring water in the summer, will allow visitors to stay one hour after closing during firefly season in April.

Really? When I first read this, I thought it was an April Fool’s joke. As a South Florida resident, am I alone in my ignorance of “firefly season”? But I did a quick Google search, and, indeed, Central Florida is awash with fireflies at dusk near bodies of water in the first few weeks of April.

There is a firefly season and Blue Spring, located 35 miles north of Orlando in Orange City, is firefly central.

This year, the fireflies started appearing during the first weekend of April, so “firefly season” should extend through the weekend of April 16-17, maybe longer.

To allow visitors to enjoy this phenomenon, Blue Spring lets visitors stay after the traditional closing time to see “Mother Nature’s light show,” according to the park’s website.

Here’s how it works, as posted on the park’s website:

 “This light show courtesy of Mother Nature is always a treat for springtime campers at Blue Spring State Park, but is not seen by day visitors who must depart when the park closes at sunset.

“Again this season, day visitors wishing to stay after hours to view fireflies should indicate to gate personnel that they want to stay to view the fireflies. They will receive a firefly pass allowing them to remain in the park for an extra hour after sundown. After hours firefly visitors will leave the park through automatic exit gates.

“After hours firefly watchers are reminded that they must arrive before sundown to gain admission and to bring a flashlight to safely navigate the paths and boardwalks after dark. Best viewing is along the boardwalk between the Thursby House and the Spring Boil. Insect repellent for mosquitoes may be needed.”

One park staff member describes the scene as “pretty spectacular …..It’s like a bunch of Christmas lights thrown out there into the woods.”

What’s Nearby:

Check out this Florida Rambler story on the nearby Wekiva River Basin.


Florida Department of Environmental Protection web site about Florida’s Springs

For campground reservations, call (800) 326-3521 (8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern) or TDD (888) 433-0287, or online at Florida State Parks.


Take Interstate 4 to exit 114 (State Road 472) and follow the signs to U.S. 17/92. Go a little more than two miles south on 17/92 to the traffic light at French Ave. Turn right and go two miles through a neighborhood of modest homes to Blue Spring State Park.

Center map
Blue Spring State Park
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  1. When I was a child, they were so thick it seemed a nightly occurrence. I remember watching them from my bedroom window until I would fall asleep. We would ride horses in the evening through swarms of them down in the orange groves. We would see who could trap the most in a jar. (yes, they were released alive and flashing).

    50+ years later, I wondered why I never see them anymore. I was digging around for an answer and found this article. Thank you.

  2. Brenda Brookshire says:

    Never seen blue fireflies. Green or Yellow…but now I want to find these! This time last year I experienced a magical twinkling forest at Ft. Clinch. I am setting out next weekend to try to find this again, on the Georgia Golden Isles. Maybe too soon, since it’s further North. It was so beautiful, like a dream.

  3. Bob Stokes says:

    Last night, my wife were taking our dog out side, and while she was out there, looked up to see the stars at 1 am in the morning. She was amazed to see the large maple tree in our back yard light up! She came in to get me up, and we both went back outside. For more than 35 minutes, the whole top of the tree was blue lightning bugs! It was amazing to see. I am 61 years old and have never see this before. Been in FL all my life. We live on Lake Orienta in Altamonte Springs. It was pretty cool last night. I wanted to tell someone, after looking online, we believe they were Blue Ghost lightning bugs. The tree was lit up bright blue!

    • Bob Stokes says:

      Bob Stokes
      Just wanted to let everyone know that the blue lighting bugs are gone , They were there for about a week an 1/2 . I would like to know if anyone has ever seen them in fl before?

      • Yes!, I have seen blue fireflies. In our back yard last year in North Port,Fl. (Sarasota County). I thought I was seeing things! ~ the first few blue flashes really surprised me. There is a preserve behind our house so it’s dark out late at night.I watched from our screened in lanai. It was magical and hope I get to see it again.

        • Bonnie Gross says:

          From what I was told about the fireflies at Blue Spring State Park, they were present for about three weeks. Not sure if that will be true for yours. But thanks you for sharing.

  4. I was driving through alligator alley, september 24th 2016… stopped to do my thing and there were a ton of fireflies flying around.. i couldnt believe it.. 26 years in florda, never saw a single one !

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