Florida Car Hire, California Car Hire and all US Car Hire

iTunes Store    Play Store    Apple Watch app

A Cruise on the St John's River - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Other Activities

If you enjoy exploring more natural parts of the world and fancy a change from the theme parks the I would recommend a day out to the north of Orlando taking in the Blue Heron river cruise from Hontoon Landing. The cruise takes 2 hours and leaves at 11 am. And 2 pm. On the way you go very close to the entrance to Blue Springs National Park and so combining the two is a very practical option.

It is about 80 minutes from the Champions Gate area to Hontoon Landing with the majority of the distance on the I4 but you do see some of the small Florida towns on the last section of the journey.

Hontoon Landing is a small fishing resort and marina set on a beautiful stretch of the St Johns River. This is on of only 5 rivers in the world that runs from South to North and it reaches the coast at Jacksonville. We were amazed at its size and the variety of wildlife that that it supports.

The boat is a purpose built passenger boat with a very knowledgeable captain. It is worth taking a pair of binoculars to view the many varieties of bird that you will see. The captain stops and drifts as soon as he spots an animal or bird of interest and he read the signs so well that it sometimes took a while for us to spot what he was drawing our attention to.

We saw quite a number of alligators just warming themselves on the shore and there were also quite a few manatees that we could spot coming up for air, but it was hard to see them clearly as the water is quite murky. You get a better view at Sea World but it good to glimpse them in their natural environment. There were quite a few manatees playing in the area where the Blue Springs meets the St Johns River.

The area used to be very important for logging and the area was practically cleared of cypress trees which were the main building material in the area. To help get these massive tree trunks out canals were built so that they could be floated to the main river and delivered along its route. The cruise goes along some of these canals and on one of them local people have hung many small bird houses. I’m not sure the birds appreciate them though!

There are many interesting birds, mainly water birds of course. However, we also spotted a bald eagle on top of a tree and that was quite a special moment as we were quite close.

We really enjoyed this day out and would recommend it to anyone with an interest in birds or wildlife.

We aim to provide accurate and useful information, but if you feel anything provided here is not accurate or out of date, please email us with the address of the page concerned and any comments so we can amend as necessary.

Page added on: 26 December 2012
Viewed 1714 times since 26 December 2012.

The following photos have been submitted by our villa owners for this article.
Image
Alligator and terrapin enjoying the sunshine
Image
One of the man-made side canals
Image
A bald eagle
Image
Blue Spring enters the river here
Image
There are many different plants and birds
Image
The main river is wide and long
Image
They were not very active
Image
Alligators were a frequent sight
We take great care to ensure we have the copyright holder's permission to display each photo. If you believe any of our photos should not be displayed for any reason then please email info@orlandovillas.com with full details, including a link to the photo concerned and we will act on it immediately.

Villa Owners: Upload A Photo To This Article

To upload a photo for consideration, click here. Please only submit photos relevant to this article.

Other Articles Viewed

The following articles were also viewed by people who looked at this one:

Bookmark This Article

Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Delicious Delicious Digg Digg Stumbleupon StumbleUpon Reddit reddit