Don’t Let Stress Turn You Into A Mess!


Breaking the Cycle

Is the traffic causing you to feel elevated levels of stress? Are the kids screaming in the back seat? Are you running around making sure everything is in order just to find out you never have enough time to spend with your family? Sometimes you need a break from the routine of working, going to school, eating, and sleeping.

If you are a parent who handles your own issues, you know the importance of teaching your child how to handle stress with grace and competence. Each child is born without the strategies to deal with frustration. It is up to you as a parent to model and teach your child how life should be lived. In short, your child needs to learn how to manage stress. As parents, we are leaders on techniques that not only help ourselves but our children as well. It is imperative that they learn how to handle the elements of stressors that affect us each and every day.

Effective Strategies to Alleviate Stress

One strategy to effectively manage stress is by exploring the outdoors with your family while listening to the peaceful sounds of nature, simply enjoying the moment. We must take time to spend with our families to relax, talk, laugh, and play in the elements that only nature can bring.

In Central Florida, we are lucky to have nature right in our backyard. Here, we are able to escape everyday stressors. One of the places I enjoy going to is the springs,  especially during the time of year when the snowbirds are here. The springs are perfect since Orlando’s amusement parks are filled with spring breakers. What better time than in March, to visit our local parks and have a positive timeout.

The Great Escape of Nature

Some local parks you may want to explore are approximately a 1-2-hour radius from the Orlando areas. I know you will enjoy the close encounters of wildlife only seen in Florida.

Blue Spring State Park 

Blue Spring State Park is home to a first magnitude spring that is one of the largest winter gathering sites for manatees in Florida. Visitors can see hundreds of manatees, enjoying the constant 72-degree spring water in the colder winter months. Blue Spring State Park frequently reaches capacity during the week and on the weekends, during both the winter and summer months. To avoid waiting, visit the park early.

Hours: 8 AM until sundown (365 days a year)

Cost: $6 per vehicle

Location: 2100 W French Avenue, Orange City, FL 

Phone: 386.775.3663

Alexander Springs

There are only 27 first magnitude springs in Florida and Alexander Springs is by far one of the easiest for visitors to enjoy. A broad and naturally gently sloped spring pool becomes a natural water park when visitors come to picnic, swim, and play.

Location: Alexander Springs Recreation Area is located between Astor and Altoona to the east of SR 19 and the west of the St. Johns River and CR 445-A.

Hours: 8 AM – 8 PM may close earlier seasonally

Phone: 352.669.3522

Ichetucknee Springs State Park 

Although, well-known for its warm weather tubing.

Although well-known for its warm weather tubing, the 2,669 acre, Ichetucknee Springs State Park is also a wildlife haven. Beavers, otters, softshell turtles, and various other animals call this state park home. The main draw is the park’s eight major crystalline springs that join together to create the six-mile Ichetucknee River.

Hours: 8 AM until sunset (365 days a year)

Cost: $6 per vehicle

Location: 12087 SW US Highway 27, Fort White

Phone: 386.497.4690

Rainbow Spring State Park

Although the modern era has seen the land shaped by both enterprising developers and the loving hands of local volunteers, the draw of the beautifully serene park endures. When swimmers take their first dip in the sapphire-blue waters of Rainbow Springs, they become part of a story that stretches back over 10,000 years, when humans first visited this place.

Hours: 8 AM until sunset (365 days a year)

Cost: $5 per vehicle (up to 8 passengers)

Location: 19158 SW 81st Place Road, Dunnellon

Phone: 352.465.8555

Wekiva Island

Wekiva Island is an environmentally friendly destination located in Longwood, Florida. Along the beautiful Wekiva River, guests can canoe, kayak, and rent a paddleboard. Wekiva Island also offers a boat launch, a bar that serves beer and wine, a food truck, and river cabana rentals.

Hours: 8 AM – 7 PM (Sun-Thurs) and 8 AM to 11 PM (Fri-Sat)

Cost: $3 per vehicle

Location: 1014 Miami Springs Drive, Longwood

Phone: 407.862.1500

Ginnie Springs

Ginnie Springs is a privately-owned park in Gilchrist County that is roughly 6.5 miles northwest of High Springs, Florida, USA. It is located on the south side of the Santa Fe River, to which it is connected. The water is clear, cold and has accessible caverns with sand and limestone bottom.

While there’s no tubing here, you can kayak, canoe, and swim!

Location: 5000 Northeast 60th Avenue, High Springs

Phone: 386.454.7188

Another option to explore is taking a bike ride along the many bike trails we have located in the Central Florida areas.

West Orange Trails

Connecting small communities and suburban neighborhoods, the 22-mile West Orange Trail is one of Florida’s most popular rail trails. Fifteen minutes northwest of downtown, the route serves as a window on the region’s past and present, passing through 1950s communities that grew up around the once-thriving Orange Belt Railway, as well as more developed areas in this rapidly expanding metropolitan area. If you are planning to visit and don’t have a bike no worries, they have bike rentals available. You can rent bikes at the Bikes and Blades rental site which is located at Killarney Station at the west end of the trail, Winter Garden Wheel Works.

There is parking at each station and outpost along the trail, so you can start at any end or in the middle. The most popular place people like to begin their journey is along the scenic southwestern section of the trail, around the Winter Garden area. If you want an overnight getaway from the hustle and bustle of it all consider staying the night at the Historic Edgewater Hotel Bed and Breakfast. This getaway will transport you back to the tranquil days of visiting your grandparents’ home.

So get back to nature and take time for yourself and your family and just relax.



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