Wekiwa Springs State Park

Florida Guide > State Parks

Wekiwa comes from the Creek Indian world translating as ‘flowing river’. Just minutes from Orlando is this beautiful natural state park ready for exploring and offering a different slant to ‘traditional’ Florida theme parks. If you enjoy the active, outdoor life and want to see and experience natural Florida try canoeing down the spring river or take a horseback ride . Whether experienced or a novice its great fun to have a go and take a different perspective of what visitors to Florida expect.

Wekiwa Springs State Park is one of Florida’s two Federally designated ‘Wild and Scenic Rivers. It is home to so much wildlife traditional to this part of the world. See if you can spot alligators, many species of herons such as the great blue, little blue or tricoloured. Look out for Florida’s black bears, deer and otters to mention just a few.

As you canoe, or kayak down the river look out for oak trees – some over one hundred years old. They twist and wind around each other creating a striking natural shade for the Floridian sunshine. But if canoeing or kayaking seems too much then take a simple, old fashioned dip into the crystal clear fresh water…. All 42 million gallons that the springs pump out every day! !

A selection of guided tours are available. There’s a two hour tour explaining the river’s assorted flora and fauna as well as the history of the area. But if you want more detail and adventure try self-guided rowing down the peaceful river, flowing along the current, meandering slowly along. We took along a picnic lunch – so relaxing as we went down river. Our final destination was Katie’s Landing where we took a shuttle bus back to our vehicle.

If the water is not your family’s thing and you prefer to stay on land check out taking a horseback ride. This is available for all levels and abilities – from novice through to expert and groups are usually small – one to five riders. You will not be alone as you explore the many trails, with guides helping you along. As you saddle up your horse you may even find you develop a frontier spirit! Rides can vary from one to six hours, but my advice would be to try a shorter ride if you are a beginner. Your journey will take in trails from desert-like sand pine scrub to flatwoods and some swamps. Wildlife is similar to the canoe or kayak rides but you may also see wild turkey, deer or the gopher tortoise.

Wekiva State park is 14, 000 acres, although the river basin is 42, 000 acres in total, north west of Orlando, in Apopka. On average its 40 miles from the Orlando Villas vacation homes – approximately an hours drive. It’s a great alternative to the busy theme parks and a great way to see nature.

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