The day after Christmas, my hubby, daughter and I headed to Florida to visit family.
As some of you know, my parents own a condo right on the beach in Daytona. So, after arriving to Fl and spending a couple of days with family, my hubby and I headed to the beach to spend a couple of days.
After we arrived, our first stop was lunch at Boondocks! I’ve written about this restaurant before in some of my previous blogs.
We love this place….It sits right on the water’s edge at a marina.
We love watching all the different types of birds flying around.
After lunch, we headed to the condo to get settled in….then it was off to take a walk on the beach!
There’s nothing like being at the beach in December!
My hubby decided to see how close he could get to this bird before it flew off! 😆
We spotted this “snowman” as we were walking….so funny!
A shot of the pier….we usually eat at Crabby Joe’s on the pier at least once when we are in the area…the food isn’t the best but you can’t beat the views!
Click here for the best restaurants in Daytona & here to make a reservation on the Dine & Cruise & read reviews for the Dine & Cruise here & for the best ice cream click here
The Sunglow Fishing Pier has been around since 1960 and is a great place to fish.
After spending some time at the beach, we headed back to the condo to relax.
That evening we captured some beautiful shots as the sun was setting and the moon was rising!
What gorgeous pink skies!
The moon reflecting off the water was so beautiful!
The next morning we headed out early so we could have breakfast at the Old Spanish Sugar mill Pancake House.
The restaurant is located inside the De Leon Springs State Park. It’s approximately 45 mins from Daytona.
Read about the history of the park here
We arrived before the gates opened at 9 am (check site for hours) and there were already about 5 cars ahead of us…you must arrive early otherwise, you could have to wait as long as 3 hrs!! This place is super popular!
There is a small admission fee of $6 for 2 or more people or $4 for one person.
Once the gates opened, we drove to the parking area closest to the restaurant….as fast as we could lol!
We quickly made our way towards the restaurant and there was already a line…thankfully, it wasn’t too long!
We stood in line for a short while waiting on the restaurant to open.
The restaurant is located in a 100 yr old replica of the 1830’s sugar mill. The restaurant is opened from 9-2 on weekdays and 8-2 on weekends and holidays. They serve breakfast and lunch.
Once the restaurant finally opened, we were seated at a table with a very hot griddle!
You see, at this restaurant, you cook your own food! It’s such a cool experience!
Read the reviews here & see their menu here
Everything is a la carte…if you get the pancakes, you get three different batters to try. Thankfully, they have a gluten free batter!!
We both ordered the pancakes, eggs and bacon & the hubby also ordered sausage….the meat is cooked for you but you have to cook your own eggs and pancakes!
They also have lots of toppings you can choose from for your pancakes like bananas, blueberries, chocolate chips, etc. I ordered the bananas and the hubby ordered the blueberries.
The view from our table
After eating our delicious breakfast, we walked around the park for a while.
The park has a huge area for swimming, lots of picnic tables, a boat tour, kayak rentals & more.
Don’t get too close to this side of the water’s edge!!
After spending a couple of hours here, we headed to another state park, Blue Springs.
As we were leaving De Leon Springs, we spotted these HUGE oak trees! There’s no telling how old these trees were!
Blue Springs is approximately 35 mins from De Leon…there are tons of state parks in FL!
If you’re not familiar with Fl, you may not know that there are lots of manatees here…especially, at Blue Springs during the months of Dec – March!
A few stay here year round but the majority of them come during those 3 mons in search of warmer water..and when I say the majority of them, I mean as many as 485 have been recorded here at one time!
The water at Blue Springs is 72 degrees year round and that’s what attracts the manatees to come here.
Each park has a fee and at Blue Springs, it was $6.
After entering the park, you will find tons of parking… and it’s a good thing because the place was a madhouse!
After getting parked, we headed towards the springs…it didn’t take long to spot those huge creatures!
Adult manatees are typically 9-10 feet long from snout to tail and weigh around 1,000 pounds; however, they may grow to over 13 feet long and weigh more than 3,500 pounds.
On this day, the springs had a count of over 300 manatees in the area!
They were everywhere!
There are several wooden decks built over the water so you can see them up close.
The water was so clear you could see all kinds of fish swimming around!
Besides manatees and fish, the spring attracts a variety of wading birds, ospreys, eagles and kingfishers.
To see the park’s wonders, visitors can hike along the spring run or on the 4.5-mile Pine Island Trail.
After viewing them from each of the decks, we walked the short trail to the “boil“…this is where the water flows up from the ground.
Click here to read about all the activities the park offers & here to read the history of the park
Once we arrived to the “boil’, we spotted more manatees swimming above the 120 ft deep hole.
People can scuba dive here as well.
After leaving here, we headed back towards the way we had come and walked to a few more areas to see the manatees.
It wasn’t hard to spot them as they were everywhere! So were the fish!
We headed back to the observation decks to watch them…the place was packed out so, it was hard to find an area without a lot of people.
We had wanted to do the boat tour but all the tours were already booked up for the day. 🙁
After leaving here, we headed back towards Daytona….on the way out of the park, there was a line of cars that stretched for miles trying to get into the park!
On the way back to the condo, we stopped to have dinner in DeLand at the Half Wall restaurant.
Read reviews here
We ordered the Ahi tuna for an appetizer and we both ordered a burger for lunch. Sadly, they didn’t offer gluten free buns so I had to eat it without the bun. 🙁
After dinner, we headed to the Lighthouse Point Park to watch the sunset. The park is a 52 acre inlet park located in Daytona. There’s a $10 admission fee.
Read the reviews here
The park is a great place to spend the day swimming, picnicking, relaxing, fishing, etc…there’s so much to do here and it’s a beautiful, clean park.
We walked down the fishing jetty to watch the boats, birds and fishermen.
We then walked the short trail to view the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse.
The views were awesome!
You can visit the lighthouse for $6.95. The lighthouse was constructed in 1887 and stands 175 ft tall.
We spotted dolphins in the water!
The sunset was amazing!
After spending about 1.5 hrs here, we headed back to the parking lot….as we were walking back, we spotted the moon…it was huge!
You can’t really tell by my pics how big it was…it was beautiful against the pink/blue skies!
After leaving here, we headed back to the condo….
Once we arrived, we captured some cool shots of the moon from the balcony.
The next day, we spent mostly relaxing at the condo.
For lunch, we decided to head back to Boondocks.
Once again, the food was good and the views were even better!
As usual, the birds were everywhere!
After lunch, we headed back to the condo …..on the way to our car, we spotted several pelicans in the water….I think they were waiting on us to feed them.
We also spotted this snowy egret nearby..
After arriving back to the condo, we decided to take a walk on the beach.
We spotted several jellyfish while we were walking.
After a long walk, we called it a day and spent the rest of our time at the condo relaxing.
Thanks for reading!