By  Mike Miller   Updated November 28, 2023

Orange City, Florida sometimes gets overlooked in the busy and fast growing Deltona-Daytona Beach - Ormond Beach metropolitan area.  About 600,000 people live in this urban area. 

1876 Heritage Inn, Orange City, Florida1876 Heritage Inn, Orange City, Florida

Orange City has a population of 12,335 and its own distinctive personality.  It is located on U.S. Highway 17 between DeBary and DeLand.

The sprawling bedroom community of Deltona abuts Orange City to its east.


Orange City was incorporated in 1882 and was named for the hundreds of orange groves in and around the city. 

Vintage Postcard Orange City HotelVintage Postcard Orange City Hotel

 It prospered at first until the Great Freeze of 1894-1895 destroyed the orange groves.

The first significant home in the city was the Thursby House, built in the 1850s on Blue Spring Run.  It was replaced by a larger home in 1872 which still stands as part of Blue Spring State Park.

Old Home in Orange City, FloridaOld Home in Orange City, Florida

The 1876 Heritage Inn is one of the properties in the Orange City Historic District.  It is a distinctive landmark in town on U.S. Highway 17.

Orange City was famous more than 100 years ago for its spring water.  In the 1904 St. Louis Exposition, Orange City won an important award for its water. 

It was reported that John D. Rockefeller had Orange City Mineral Springs water sent to him on his travels.  He loved to drink it and take baths in it.

Orange City Town HallOrange City Town Hall, photo by Ebyabe

There are several sites in the city on the National Register of Historic Places, including the 1876 Heritage Inn, the Dickinson Memorial Library,  and the Orange City Town Hall. The town hall was built in 1928.

Orange City Dickenson Memorial LibrarOrange City Dickenson Memorial Library, Photo by Ebyabe

Some of the historic buildings in Orange City have been re-purposed and are preserved as they originally looked.

Historic Building Now a Medical ClinicHistoric Building Now a Medical Clinic

The real charming parts of Orange City come to view when you get off U.S. Highway 17 and slowly cruise through the residential neighborhoods. 

There are hundreds of beautiful old homes scattered about among the tree lined streets.


Orange City is the home of Blue Spring State Park.  The park is one of the best places in florida to see manatees that flock here during cold weather.

The Louis P. Thursby House is also in the park;  it is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Manatees at Blue Spring State ParkManatees at Blue Spring State Park


Blue Spring State Park
2100 W French Ave, Orange City, FL 32763 | (386) 775-3663

As I discussed earlier, this natural wonder is the largest spring on the St. Johns River. It is known as a designated Manatee Refuge. Visitors can enjoy swimming in the crystal-clear waters during the summer or observe gentle manatees in their natural habitat during the cooler months.

We love the scenic boardwalk that allows you to explore the lush surroundings and spot various wildlife. Kayaking and canoeing offer a closer look at the beauty of the spring, making it a perfect outdoor adventure.

The Thursby House
Blue Spring State Park

This historic home, built in 1872, sits overlooking the breathtaking Blue Spring. It tells the story of the Thursby family and the early steamboat era along the St. Johns River.

Our favorite part is imagining life back then while exploring the beautifully preserved rooms and learning about the orange grove industry that flourished in this area. It’s a fascinating glimpse into Florida's past.

Family Fun Town
401 S Volusia Ave, Orange City, FL 32763 | (386) 775-3181

This amusement center features go-karts, mini-golf, batting cages, and an arcade. Our favorite activity is challenging each other to a friendly round of mini-golf amidst their fun and unique courses.

It’s a great place to create lasting memories with family and friends, offering entertainment for all ages.

Valentine Park
1511 W French Ave, Orange City, FL 32763 | (386) 775-5454

This picturesque 34 acre park offers walking trails, basketball and tennis court, a sand volleyball pit and playgrounds amidst beautiful natural scenery. We enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and the opportunity for a picnic under the shade of majestic oaks.

It's also a fantastic spot for bird watching and enjoying the great outdoors. There are picnic pavilions and grills. Restrooms are available.

Orange City Racing & Card Club
822-4 Saxon Blvd, Orange City, FL 32763 | (386) 252-6484

This modern entertainment destination offers off-track betting for televised greyhound races, poker rooms, and simulcast wagering. Our favorite part is dining at their on-site restaurant. It’s a unique experience for those looking for a bit of adventure and a night out.

Orange City Historic District
Bounded by Banana, Carpenter, French and Orange Avenues, Orange City, FL

Wandering through this area, you'll find a collection of charming, historic homes and buildings that tell the story of Orange City's rich heritage.

Our favorite is the Dickinson Memorial Library and Park, a beautiful, historic building surrounded by lush gardens. The district is perfect for those who appreciate architecture and the stories buildings can tell.

Mill Lake Park
207 E Blue Springs Ave, Orange City, FL 32763 | (386) 775-5454

This serene park offers a peaceful retreat with a picturesque lake, walking paths, and picnic areas. Our favorite activity is feeding the ducks and enjoying a leisurely walk around the lake, taking in the tranquil atmosphere and natural beauty. Dogs are allowed.

Glen Abbey Golf Club
391 N Pine Meadow Dr, DeBary, FL 32713 | (386) 668-4209

This well-maintained golf course just a short drive from Orange City offers a challenging yet enjoyable experience for golfers of all levels.

Our favorite is the picturesque 18th hole, offering stunning views and a satisfying end to a day on the links. The club's welcoming atmosphere makes everyone feel like a local.


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