One of my favorite outdoor activities is paddling. Both my husband and I love kayaking and stand up paddle boarding (SUPing), so much so that we have both been given kayaks and SUP’s as Christmas and birthdays presents. To date, we have two large SUP’s and six kayaks. Did I mention we like to paddle?
Each summer we try to explore as many springs, lakes and waterways we can via paddling, especially in the morning before it gets too hot. So as our anniversary approached, and we discussed what we wanted to do that weekend, I was reminded of one of our first outings as boyfriend and girlfriend, to Wekiwa Springs. I was 19 and although I had been on a kayak before, I hadn’t really kayaked. Let me tell you what a workout it is! But I loved it! As I reminisced about that outing, I suggested we do that again since we hadn’t been there in years. Also, we had been discussing going there with a big group of friends, but weren’t sure about the route that included their shuttle services, so this would allow us to check it out before the group trip. So we made a date to go kayaking at Wekiwa Springs! Well….best laid plans. Apparently everyone else in central Florida wanted to go to Wekiwa Springs that day. I mean, serious crowds! A car line to the entrance of the park that went in both directions for at least a mile. Sensing my unrest my hubby suggested Rock Springs, which is just a little ways up the road. But when we got there it was closed; full to capacity. By this point I’m nearing tears thinking our day of kayaking is ruined, but my husband suggested we look up King’s Landing. I googled it real quick and discovered it was only two more miles up the road, so I figured why not? Let’s give it a try. We have nothing to lose at this point!
King’s Landing was, fortunately for us, still open and still had kayaks available. They have tandem (2 person) and single kayaks as well as aluminum canoes available for rental. If you choose to launch your own vessel, they charge $10 per vessel. King’s Landing enters the Rock Springs run about a mile downstream from the edge of Rock Springs Park. Paddling upstream to the park was not difficult in regards to the currents, but the narrow and winding route was a challenge. We rented a tandem kayak (something we haven’t’ done in years) and paddled up river to Rock Springs State Park. However, they do not allow paddlers into the spring. There is a bridge that stops paddlers from entering, to ensure the safety of swimmers and tubers. Despite not being able to swim in the spring when you are coming from King’s Landing, you can swim in the route we paddled. In fact, there are some great spots to pull over, wade in the beautiful water and even jump off a tire swing. (Yikes!) Many families were gathered at the mouth, where the run splits into a Y, playing with their children and swimming.
When we got back to the mouth, where we begun our paddle, we decided to continue past King’s Landing down Rock Springs run for about another mile where we saw turtles galore, Bass and gators! This side of Rock Springs was wider, deeper and easier to traverse, however the water grew darker tainted by fallen trees. Due to the low visibility and the sighting of gators, we did not swim in this area.
King’s Landing offers shuttle services if you choose to paddle the downstream route of Rock Springs. It is an 8 mile paddle and the shuttle will meet paddlers at a set location, pick up the kayaks/canoes and transport you back upstream to your car. When we first arrived it was what I had in mind, until I heard it was a 4-5 hour trip. Ummm, maybe next time, we have dinner reservations.
All in all though it was a beautiful day out on the water, a great paddle and if you ever find yourself in the area, or if Wekiwa Springs is jam packed, give King’s Landing a try!