Summary of Features
- Scale - minimum 2nd magnitude
- Scenery - fair
- How Pristine? - heavily modified recreation/dive area
- Swimming - excellent
- Protection - private -unknown
- Crowds -crowded on warm summer weekends
- Access - fine
- Facilities - excellent
- Safety - good
- Scuba - yes
- Cost - $8 per person
Vortex is located about 5 miles north of Interstate 10 (exit 96) off State Road 81. Follow the signs on State Road 81 to the spring.
The spring is set in a large, open, grassy area at the lower end of a gently sloping hill. The water, which is very clear and blue, drops 58 feet to a 9' x 12' cave entrance in the circular spring pool. The pool is 250 feet in diameter. Large fish, including striped bass and exotic carp, are abundant near the cave mouth. The spring pool has a diving bell and a concrete tunnel that are used by divers. The cave can be dived to a distance of 310 feet, where further passage is blocked by a steel grate. The passage has been measured to extend a total of 1,642 feet. The spring run flows into nearby Otter Creek, which joins Sandy Creek a short distance upstream of Ponce de Leon Spring. Like nearby Morrison and Cypress Springs, Vortex is chilly - 67-68 degrees, and has an output of approximately 28 MGD.
Vortex is a privately owned swim and dive center. The resort site has several buildings including a restaurant, lodging, dive shop, and changing rooms. Recreational features also include diving boards, rope swings, slides, camping facilities, picnic areas, ATV riding/horse trails, a basketball court, volly ball, paddleboats, floats for rent, etc. Its web site (www.vortex.com) noted that emergency water for fire fighting can be drawn from the site.
- The site is very open - no trees, which is a stark contrast to most springs which are surrounded by flora.
- Vortex Spring is also called Vortex Blue Spring.
- Vortex is popular site for scuba classes for both open water and cavern diving
- Several scuba divers have died while exploring the cave here.
JF felt Vortex was an outstanding place to go for recreation. From an aesthetic/natural viewpoint, it is not as attractive as less-developed spring sites; for example, the dive bell and concrete tunnel mar the spring area. He did, however, like the killer rope swing.
- Jackson Blue Spring
- Ponce de Leon Springs
- Cypress Spring
- Morrison Spring
- Other Holmes Creek Springs
Other Nearby Natural Features
- St. Andrews State Recreation Area
- Falling Waters State Recreation Area
1517 Vortex Spring Lane
Ponce de Leon, FL 32455
Toll-Free 800-342-0640 www.vortex.com