Entrance to Wekiwa Springs State Park
The Park is Located on the Northwest Side of the Orlando Area
Get There Early on a Summer Saturday or Sunday
Map showing the location of Wekiwa Springs State Park.
Nestled in the northwest suburbs of Orlando between Apopka and Longwood lies the fun and picturesque Wekiwa Springs State Park. Comprising about 7,000 acres total, the park offers
swimming, hiking, horseback riding, camping, cook outs and canoeing as activities. A beach volleyball and horse shoe pit are also available. Used primarily by Orlando area residents as a cooling off spot in the summer, the park is worthy of a visit by tourists as well. Arrive early during summer weekends, entry is closed once the parking area is filled.
The Springs: Get Your Swim On
The springs are the main attraction of the park. Fed by the Great Floridian Aquifer, the springs Credit: wikipedia commons public domain - Ebyabepump out approximately 45 million gallons per day and remain at 72 degrees throughout the year. The springs are the mouth of the Wekiva River. A bit cold for us Floridians in the cooler months, it’s perfect for a cool dip in the summer to cool off from the never ending Central Florida summer heat. The swimming area is about four feet deep. Floats and inner tubes are permitted and provide a great lounging opportunity. The parking area lies above the springs and open area next to them are perfect for soaking up the sun and close enough for a quick dip when you get hot.
Canoeing: Try the Wekiva River
The park has canoes and kayaks available for daily rental. The easy Credit: wikipedia commons public domain - rampartgeneral http://www.flickr.com/people/37501699@N00flowing Wekiva River makes a great canoe getaway. You’re bound to see some fish and snapping turtles in the crystal clear waters, as well as some small gators. Most of the river is surrounded by deep forest on each side. Further, you feel as if you are truly getting away from it all because the river have stretch of a couple miles with no houses in sight.
Cook Outs: Grill, Swim, Repeat
The park does have a snack bar for those who don’t want to grill their own and during the summer fresh burgers are available on weekends. Grills are available for those who want to do it themselves. You can even reserve a small pavilion to host a cook out party at the park. Kids love chowing down on the grilled food and then jumping into the springs.
Trails: Hike, Run or Ride a Horse
Credit: wikipedia commons public domain - GenoistThe park contains an extensive trail network. The rangers give you a map upon entry into the park and the brochure depicts the location of the trails. The trails are color coded so you stay on track. Trees are marked with swatches of paint to show you the way. For horseback riding, you have to already have a horse, the park does not offer horses. It’s not unusual to see a deer or two as you hike through the park.
Camping: Feel the Wild in the Middle of Civilization
The park has a camping area available for those who wish to stay at the park. A limited number of small cabins are also available on a reservation basis, but you typically have to reserve those far in advance of your visit.
If you are a tourist in the Orlando area wishing to break away from the theme parks, give Wekiwa Springs State Park a try. You’ll have a great time and maybe even see some wildlife.