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The Old Spanish Sugar Mill at De Leon Springs State Park has been dishing out Florida’s best pancakes for decades just north of Orlando and west of Daytona. Visitors flock to the Old Spanish Sugar Mill restaurant for its local history, beautiful views of Ponce De Leon Spring, and of course, all you can eat pancakes that you cook at your griddle table yourself. Come for the pancakes and stay for the other fun things to do at De Leon Springs. The park also offers swimming, hiking, eco-tours on a pontoon boat as well as kayak rentals. After a filling breakfast, spend the day exploring this beautiful Florida spring with the entire family!
Getting To De Leon Springs State Park
De Leon Springs State Park is tucked away in the small town of De Leon Springs which is about one hour north of Orlando or 45 minutes west of Daytona Beach.
The Old Spanish Sugar Mill is located inside the De Leon Springs State Park. You’ll pass through the entrance and travel along the winding road until you arrive at the parking lot for the sugar mill.
De Leon Springs State Park Entry
The De Leon Springs State Park is open 365 days a year from 8 AM until sundown.
The entrance fee into De Leon Springs is $6 per vehicle with 2-8 passengers and $2 for each extra passenger. For single passenger cars, the entrance fee is $4 and for pedestrians or cyclists, the fee is $2.
Entrance into the De Leon Springs State Park is completely separate from dining at the Old Spanish Sugar Mill restaurant. Even if a visitor is planning to eat breakfast, the entrance fee into the park will still need to be paid.
The Old Spanish Sugar Mill History
When you step inside the Old Spanish Sugar Mill it’s like you’ve stepped back in time. The mill was constructed back in the 1830s to crush sugar cane with the millions of gallons of water that flows from the nearby freshwater spring. The mill has been destroyed and rebuilt a few times over the years, but has been restored to its current form and family-run since the 1960s.
Breakfast At The Old Spanish Sugar Mill
Inside the Old Spanish Sugar Mill, there are a small number of tables each equipped with a hot griddle in the center. When you take your seat, your sever will turn the griddle on and run you through your pancake making experience.
Both wheat and regular flour pancakes are available and are served in giant pitchers. Refills are unlimited since it’s all you can eat pancakes at the Old Spanish Sugar Mill. Mix-in options like blueberries or chocolate chips can be added for an additional $1.95 per serving.
Other breakfast items are available such as eggs, meats, french toast and, bread that are cooked in the back kitchen and served hot and fresh. Lunch items like hot sandwiches and salads are also on the menu if pancakes aren’t your thing.
The Old Spanish Sugar Mill Hours & Prices
The Old Spanish Sugar Mill at De Leon Springs is open daily except for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Monday-Friday the Old Spanish Sugar Mill is open from 9:00 AM-3:45 PM.
Saturday, Sunday and Holidays the Old Spanish Sugar Mill is open from 8:00 AM-3:45 PM.
The only reservations excepted are for parties of 10 or more.
All you can eat pancakes are $5.25 per person. Side orders of various meats as well as additional mix-ins are an additional $1.95. Check out the menu here for information on prices and options.
Tips & Tricks For Enjoying The Old Spanish Sugar Mill
This is probably the most important information you’ll need when planning your trip to the Old Spanish Sugar Mill at De Leon Springs. ARRIVE EARLY.
Since the De Leon Springs State Park opens at 8 AM, it is highly advised to arrive for the opening of the park. There are only a small number of tables inside the Old Spanish Sugar Mill so if you do not get seated in the first wave of guests, expect to be placed on the waiting list which can be a couple hours long.
The weekdays will be less busy than the weekends at the Old Spanish Sugar Mill. Shoot to visit Monday through Friday if you can. Also, the nicer the day, expect more people.
Be advised that there is no air conditioning in the Old Spanish Sugar Mill. With all the griddles going, it can get warm inside this small building especially in the summer months when it is already hot! This is another reason to visit as early in the day as possible.
Lastly, if you don’t get one of the first few tables of the day, book an eco-tour on the Fountain Of Youth pontoon boat. Continue reading for more information!
Eco-Boat Tour At Ponce De Leon Springs State Park
If you find yourself waiting for a table or are looking for more ways to enjoy your time at Ponce De Leon Springs, book a tour on the Fountain Of Youth Eco History Tour. Tickets are available at the window just outside of the entrance to the pancake house. Even on a busy day, seats were still open for a tour, but it is always good to plan ahead.
Purchasing a ticket and taking the eco-tour will not cause you to lose your place on the waiting list. Simply tell the pancake house when you will be taking the tour and they can accommodate you.
The eco-tour is approximately 50 minutes and takes you out onto the St. John’s River along the De Leon Springs Run. You’ll pass by tons of wildlife such as gators, bald eagles, and even manatees on your way into the Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge. During the tour, you’ll learn all about the fascinating history of the area which dates back hundreds of years.
The Fountain Of Youth Eco-Tour departs every hour starting at 10 AM with the last tour at 1 PM. Tickets are $14 per person and children under 4 are free. There also must be at least 8 people signed up in order for the tour to operate.
Swimming, Kayaking, And Other Activities At De Leon Springs State Park
De Leon Springs State Park has tons of activities that are perfect for people of all ages. Plan to spend the day around De Leon Springs before or after your all you can eat pancake meal.
Swimming in De Leon Springs is possible all year long. The water stays 72 degrees and is crystal clear making it the perfect place to cool off on a hot summer day. The springhead has a few different access points and essentially like a public pool, only all-natural!
Kayaking at De Leon Springs State Park is located across from the pancake house and costs $15 for a single kayak for the first hour and $7 for each additional hour. Double kayaks and canoes start at $18 for the first hour and $10 for each additional hour. For more information, visit this site.
Picnicking and hiking are other favorite activities at Ponce De Leon Springs State Park. Over 4 miles of trails are accessible from the main parking area of De Leon Springs and lead through various habitats that include old cypress trees, swamps, and flood plains. Bring your own food and have a lovely picnic on the grassy hillside or at one of the many picnic tables scattered under the gorgeous oak trees.
Other Notable Areas To Visit Nearby
Blue Spring State Park, another beautiful natural spring, is only a 30-minute drive from De Leon Springs State Park. Here you’ll find a quarter-mile crystal clear lazy river perfect for tubing on a hot day. Check out Blue Springs during the winter months for a chance to see hundreds of manatees huddle together in the warm water of the springhead. Check out my other post on how to spend a day at Blue Spring State Park.
Tomoka State Park is another great area to spend the day out on the water or getting lost in the forest. It’s only a 40-minute drive east towards Daytona Beach and then you’ll find yourself right along the coast.
For more adventures in Florida, check out my other posts here.