We had breakfast, packed up some snacks and beverages, and left at 10:00 for Hart Springs with our beach chairs. There are 3 natural springs nearby. Fanning Springs State Park is the closest at .6 miles, but may not allow swimming if a gator is present. After all, the area is his natural habitat. Manatee Springs State Park is the farthest away at 16 miles and the last time we were there, the Ranger called everyone out of the water because a gator was present. I also saw a snake swimming along the shore. During the winter, the manatees inhabit the area. Again, that is their natural habitat. Both of those parks have limited development for swimming to keep it as natural as possible and so there’s more likelihood that the gators might be present. So today, we opted for Hart Springs, which is a county park and 8.3 miles away. We had been there before when we camped at the county park campground. The swimming area at Hart Springs is developed with cement seawalls and is much larger and shallower than the others, so there is less likelihood of gators entering the area. We ducked into the campground at Hart Springs to see how busy it was before going to the springs.
From there, we went a little further to the springs entrance.
It was $5/per person to enter, so we paid our fee and parked. The springs were busy with kids all around the same age enjoying the water and then we noticed the school bus they came in. There was still lots of parking available and open grassy areas to set up our chairs.
As the shade moved, so did we. We sat on the bank watching all the people. The kids were having a blast and so were the adults.
They have a splash pad for the young ones and a platform for the older kids to jump off of. They rent inner tubes or you can bring your own floating devices.
I got into the water and floated around a couple of times, but I couldn’t get Bob to join me. The constant 72 degree temperature of the springs didn’t seem cold at all on this steamy day.
We hung out enjoying the day at the springs for a couple of hours and as the darker clouds started to move in, we packed up and returned to the campground about 1:00. The campground had set up this bounce house and put out their 4th of July decorations for the weekend celebration.
We got back and unpacked our beach stuff from the Jeep just in time. Auggie and I sat outside for a bit to give him some outside time. Soon the thunder boomed and it started to pour, but Auggie and I were protected outside under the awning. We went in after the rain let up a bit and before it started to rain harder. Since we would be inside for awhile during the rain showers, we decided to vacuum and wash the floors. I also packed up our excess clothes and other items that we would need to offload from the bus tomorrow. That would make the unpacking go a little faster at home. We hung out in the afternoon waiting for the rain to end. It ended before dinner, but we had an inside meal. We were trying to clean out some of our leftovers. The sun came out for our evening walk. We had a nice time at the springs and it was very relaxing. This is our last day of vacation and we got ready to go home.