Editor's note: This post is part of the Eighth Day Escape adventure series and contest by Parks Explorer. Throughout this year, Parks Explorer will share trip ideas, staff stories, activity suggestions, and much more from each Alabama State Park. These monthly posts will be personal accounts of traveling Park Naturalist Emily Vanderford, where she details her park adventures and experiences in the unique natural areas across the state. While reading about park adventures is not nearly as meaningful as experiencing them first-hand, Parks Explorer wants you to know just how many opportunities there are for you to enjoy Alabama the beautiful.
The Eighth Day Escape Contest began January 8, 2016 and will conclude January 8, 2017. Monthly winners will be randomly selected each month and the grand prize winner will be drawn January 8, 2017. Click here for contest entry forms and more information. Be sure to enjoy previous monthly adventures also: January, February, March, April, May (Part I),May (Part II), June, July, August (Part I), August (Part II), September, October
Escape to the banks of spring-fed pools at Blue Springs State Park
I had the pleasure of visiting Blue Springs State Park for the first time recently. While it may be considered one of the lesser known Alabama State Parks, it’s not lacking for charm or reasons to visit. The park is situated near Clio, less than an hour from Dothan, Enterprise, and Eufaula. My recent visit to Barbour County was primarily to attend the Wiregrass Birding Tour, but I made sure I planned my trip so I could spend the morning enjoying Blue Springs before heading over to sister park Lakepoint Resort State Park for the birding program. Both Lakepoint and Blue Springs are part of the Wiregrass Birding Trail, and offer great birding opportunities. Blue Springs is an especially great place to watch raptors soaring overhead, or to catch a glimpse of migrating species during spring and fall.
The namesake of the town of Blue Springs is its crystal clear spring-fed pools which feed into the west fork of the Choctawhatchee River, and are located within Blue Springs State Park. The springs make for a great summertime swimming hole or a great destination for relaxation year-round. I wasn’t prepared to go for a swim during my visit, but I did at least dip my toes in to feel the 68 degree water. Historically, people would swim in the pools for the health benefits the crystal clear waters were said to provide. I wonder if getting my feet wet will provide any of the same benefits.
One of my favorite places at Blue Springs is the picnic area, located a rock’s throw up the hill from where the springs empty into the Choctawhatchee. There’s just something special about having a picnic under the shade of a southern live oak tree. The live oak’s big sweeping branches are unlike anything else and make the perfect backdrop for relaxing by the water. The nearly brand new playground is also near the springs and the picnic area, and would be a trip highlight for any child visiting the park.
Before I left for the day, I made sure to take a drive around the campground so I could pick out my favorite site and see the cabins. I’m already planning my next visit so I can enjoy Blue Springs as a quiet family getaway. I hope you’ll make plans to visit soon, too.
Suggestions for your next trip to Blue Springs State Park:
- Take a plunge in the pools at noon on New Years Day during the Kool Kids and Frozen Friends event
- Plan a stay in a cabin sometime from November 2-13, 2017, and make the short drive to enjoy the National Peanut Festival
- Go fishing in the stocked lake
- Bring a few friends and enjoy the park's playground
- Visit Blue Springs when you come to the Fins, Feathers, and Flowers Weekend at Lakepoint State Park
- Follow Blue Springs State Park on Facebook
EIGHTH DAY ESCAPE CONTEST WINNERS:
JANUARY WINNER (entries received 1/8 - 2/7): Cathy Struntz
FEBRUARY WINNER (entries received 2/8 - 3/7): Chelsea Gathers
MARCH WINNER (entries received 3/8 - 4/7): Cathy Goss
APRIL WINNER (entries received 4/8 - 5/7): Lamar Johnson
MAY WINNER (entries received 5/8 - 6/7): Malia Ragan
JUNE WINNER (entries received 6/8 - 7/7): no valid entries
JULY WINNER (entries received 7/8 - 8/7): Nikki Nelson
AUGUST WINNER (entries received 8/8 - 9/7): no valid entries
SEPTEMBER WINNER (entries received 9/8 - 10/7): Sandra Lyons
OCTOBER WINNER (entries received 10/8 - 11/7): Terry Zimmerman
NOVEMBER WINNER (entries received 11/8 - 12/7):
DECEMBER WINNER (entries received 12/8/16 - 1/7/17):
GRAND PRIZE WINNER (all entries received 1/8/16 - 1/7/17):