Blue Spring State Park, home to manatees in the winter and a favorite place for a swim in bracing spring water in the summer, will allow visitors to stay one hour after closing during firefly season in April. If that took you by surprise, you’re with me. But there is a firefly season and Blue Spring, located 35 miles north of Orlando in Orange City, is firefly central.
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Hontoon Island is a terrific refuge for camping or a stay in a rustic cabin and as a base for a kayaking or canoe trip. The paddle around the island is 10 miles filled with birds and wildlife, past ancient cypress and oak trees. This Central Florida state park is near several other great parks, too.