110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
By Deb Van Patten
Whether you want to learn more about Florida, observe wildlife in its natural habitat or just play outside, West Volusia’s abundant parks have it all.
National, state, county and city parks offer visitors of all ages and interests opportunities to hike, bike, camp, fish, learn history, participate in athletic activities or water sports, watch birds, walk the dog, or just relax and enjoy Florida sunshine at its finest.
NATIONAL PARKSLake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge
2045 Mud Lake Road
DeLeon Springs, FL 32130
Phone (386) 985-4673
Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge was established as a refuge for migratory waterfowl and wading birds. There are more than 21,000 acres within the refuge boundaries, mostly marsh, rivers and lakes. Alligators frequently sun themselves along the miles of waterways and walkways, and an observation tower erected by local bird-watchers provides a great view of the wildlife habitat.
Read more at http://www.fws.gov/lakewoodruff/
Florida’s state park system is one of the largest in the country with 159 parks. Three of the most beautiful state parks Blue Spring, DeLeon Springs, and Hontoon Island are in West Volusia, offering recreational, historical and educational opportunities year-round.Blue Spring State Park
2100 W. French Ave.
Orange City, FL 32763
Phone (386) 775-3663
The largest spring on the St. Johns River, Blue Spring, is a designated manatee refuge and the winter home to a growing population of West Indian manatees. The gentle sea cows are easily visible in the Blue Spring Run on cold days, but on warm days, swimmers dominate the water, which remains at a constant 72 degrees year-round. Read more about this park, on the west side of Orange City, at www.floridastateparks.org/bluespring/default.cfmDeLeon Springs State Park
601 Ponce DeLeon Blvd.
DeLeon Springs, FL 32130
Phone (386) 985-4212
Native Americans visited and used these springs as long as 6,000 years ago. DeLeon Springs flows into the Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge, where canoeists and kayakers can explore 18,000 acres of lakes, creeks and marshes. Or, stay in the park for picnics, hiking and sunbathing. Read more at www.floridastateparks.org/deleonsprings/default.cfmHontoon Island State Park
2309 River Ridge Road
DeLand, FL 32720
Phone (386) 736-5309
This quiet, wooded island in the St. Johns River welcomes residents and visitors alike to enjoy Florida’s history and habitat. The island is accessible only by private boat or the park ferry, which runs daily during daylight hours. Evidence of Native American habitation over thousands of years can be found across the island. For more information, visit www.floridastateparks.org/hontoonisland/default.cfm
VOLUSIA COUNTY PARKS
Volusia County manages park sites totaling more than 3,000 acres and ranging from ballparks to living-history exhibits. These facilities include local and district parks, boat ramps, fishing docks and school park sites. The department also operates more than 50 recreational programs with more than 22,000 participants. As a general rule, Volusia County parks are open from sunrise to sunset unless otherwise posted.
For a list of parks and locations, contact Volusia County Leisure Services by calling (386) 736-5953, or visit www.volusia.org.
The City of DeLand has eight beautiful parks, 11 sports and activity centers, and five museums. For more information, visit www.deland.org or contact the DeLand Parks and Recreation Department at (386) 740-5800.DeBary
The City of DeBary maintains six parks, is planning a skate park, and administers soccer leagues, senior programs, and a summer day camp. Call the Parks and Recreation office at (386) 456-5150 for information on programs and activities, or visit www.debary.org.Deltona
Busy Deltona maintains more than 112 acres devoted to recreation and relaxation, including 17 parks and activity centers, which include a sports complex, a skate park and a dog park. For more information, call (407) 302-5205, or visit www.ci.deltona.fl.us.Lake Helen
Beautiful, historic Lake Helen may be small, but it has seven city parks, including an equestrian park and a sports complex. For more information call (386) 228-2121 or visit http://lakehelen.com/.Orange City
Orange City’s Parks and Leisure Services Department maintains nine parks and activity centers, including a sports complex, for the enjoyment of residents and visitors alike. For more information, call (386) 775-5455 or visit www.ci.orange-city.fl.us.Pierson
Lovely Pierson in northwest Volusia County hosts two city playgrounds, one with soccer facilities, and is currently constructing a third park which will offer tennis courts, a basketball court, and other outdoor sports opportunities. For more information, contact Pierson Town Hall at (386) 749-2661
Deb Van Patten is a contributor to The DeLand-Deltona Beacon.
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