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Wekiva Springs & Wekiva River
No matter how much everyone loves the non-stop action and thrills and spills of the theme parks, sometimes these can seem relentless and it is nice to take time out and catch breath.
Those seeking something a little bit different can combine peace and tranquillity with an element of adventure by visiting Wekiwa Springs State Park.
Most people will be surprised to learn this is closer than they think.
Wekiwa Springs State Park, (pronounced Wahk-eye-wah), is located off the I-4 at exit 92, approximately 15 miles north of all the excitement in Orlando.
Covering an area of 7,000 acres, Wekiwa Springs State Park offers an excellent opportunity to get back to nature. Visitors can hike, camp, fish, swim, go canoeing and see some real Florida wildlife in their natural habitats.
The Wekiva River winds for 16 miles through the peaceful cypress trees and maples of the Wekiva Swamp in central Florida. Forty-eight million gallons of clear, aquamarine, freshwater rushes through the state’s underlying limestone base, and pours daily into the Wekiva River from Wekiwa Springs and from Rock Springs, 7 miles upstream.
The Wekiva River has a number of beautiful canoe routes and paddling the river is the perfect way to see prime Florida wilderness. Canoes in varying sizes are available for hire at very reasonable prices. There is an abundance of wildlife and a wide diversity of plants to be seen, and visitors will be well rewarded with a number of excellent scenic photo opportunities.
To reach the launch point, drive a mile east of the Wekiwa Springs State Park entrance on Wekiwa Springs Road. Turn north on Miami Springs Road and continue about ¼ mile to the Wekiva Marina.
Although the water flows swiftly, canoeists can still paddle upstream a mile to Wekiwa Springs where the constant 72 degree water makes for ideal swimming and snorkelling. The Wekiwa springhead is a popular cooling-off spot on hot summer days and at weekends the upper portion of the river can be crowded with canoes.
Downstream from the marina a ½ mile, the river flows around a chain of islands. After passing Katie's Landing, the first take-out point, the river narrows and the current picks up speed.
Near the end of the trail the river widens before entering the St. Johns River where tall imposing cypress trees spread out in all directions.
Crossing St. Johns and paddling north 2 miles will take you to High Banks landing.
A visit to Wekiwa Springs and the Wekiva River is well worth a look. You can then return to the theme parks feeling suitably refreshed!
Now, the educational bit…!
Wekiwa is the Creek/Seminole word for bubbling water, hence Wekiwa Springs.
Wekiva is the Creek/Seminole word for flowing water, hence Wekiva River.
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