Native Americans visited and used these springs as long as 6,000 years ago. In the early 1800s, settlers built sugar and cotton plantations that were sacked by Seminole Indians during the Second Seminole War. By the 1880s the springs had become a winter resort, and tourists were promised "a fountain of youth impregnated with a deliciously healthy combination of soda and sulphur." The swimming area is adjacent to a beautiful, shady picnic ground. Canoe, kayak and paddleboat rentals are available for a paddling tour of the spring and spring run. De Leon Springs flows into the Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge where canoeists and kayakers can explore 18,000 acres of lakes, creeks and marshes. At The Old Spanish Sugar Mill Restaurant, guests can make their own pancakes at the table.