Spend the Day at Lake George State Forest in DeLand, FL

Just a short drive north of DeLand, Forida, visitors will find many interesting places to visit, such as Lake George State Forest. BBOnline has scoped out some of the best outdoor areas in the region for you.

Lake George State Forest
5458 US Highway 17
De Leon Springs, FL 32130
(386) 985-7815
www.fl-dof.com

Covering over 20,000 acres, the forest is made up mainly of long leaf and slash pine. The forest is adjacent to Lake George, the second largest lake in Florida, and much of it runs along the St. John's River. Bald eagles, sandhill cranes, white-tail deer, wild turkeys and bobcats are all plentiful. Florida black bears and gopher tortoises can also be found.There are nature trails and there are also miles of equestrian trails. There are no boat ramps in the park, but canoeing and kayaking are popular and can easily be launched from shore. The forest is open during daylight hours all year. Fishing is popular along the lake, the river and at Jenkins Pond. During the spring and fall months, birdwatching is excellent for migrating birds.

DeLeon Springs State Park
601 Ponce de Leon Boulevard
De Leon Springs, FL 32130
(386) 985-4212
www.floridastateparks.org

Not far from the forest, DeLeon State Park offers a 50-minute Eco Boat Tour. Visitors can see lots of wading birds, alligators and otters. Opened in 1982, the park has a four-mile hiking trail through oak hammocks, flood plain forest and abandoned agricultural fields. The Visitor's Center has exhibits on the region's history, which dates back more than 6,000 years to when the Timucuan Indians hunted and fished here. In the early 1800s, settlers came to the region and set up many large sugar plantations. Spring Garden Creek has a free boat ramp. Paddle boats, kayaks and canoes can all be rented. The kids will enjoy swimming in the spring waters. Lifeguards are on duty from Memorial Day until August 20th. Every October the park hosts a Children's Cane Pole Fishing Tournament and prizes are awarded for the most fish caught and the largest fish caught. The park is open every day of the year. DeLeon Springs flows into the Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge, where canoeists and kayakers can look for wildlife in 18,000 acres of lakes, streams and marshes. After a full day of activities, you will likely look forward to getting back to your DeLand bed and breakfast.

Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge
2045 Mud Lake Road
De Leon Springs, FL 32130
(386) 985-4673
www.fws.gov

Visitors to this refuge, which was established in 1964, will see ducks, wading birds, song birds and raptors, as well as endangered and threatened species like manatees, snail kites, wood storks, bald eagles, limpkin, indigo snakes, gopher tortoises and American alligators. Over 200 species of birds have been observed. In addition to the lakes and marshes, there are many miles of man-made dikes which form pools. The pools attract marsh birds and waterfowl all year, especially in the winter months. All of the trails and roads are open every day. Fishermen will enjoy bank fishing for bream, bluegill,  largemouth bass and jackfish. A Florida fishing license is required. With so much fresh air, you are sure to appreciate returning to your DeLand inn for the night.