Wekiwa Springs State Park

aerial view of wekiva springs swimming hole

Whether you're a tourist looking for something out of Orlando's norm, or a resident trying to opt outside and escape city-life, Wekiwa Springs is the place to visit. Explore over 25 miles of hiking trails, camp, or cool-off with a swim. This park is really well-run. They've thought of all your needs and provide resources to satisfy you: snack bar, bathrooms, easy parking, pet-friendly areas, pavilions, boat rentals, equestrians trails, campgrounds, and much more.

 

Tips for your visit

Wekiwa Springs gets busy. There's good reason as to why this spring gets so crowded, but you don't want to get stuck in the wait line at the guard gate because the park is at capacity.

  • It's pronounced Weh-ky-vuh
  • Go during the week to avoid park-overcrowd closures
  • Head over early in the morning on summer weekends; by 10:30am they're probably full
  • If those don't work, try to sneak in around 3:30/4 when the morning crowd starts to head out and they'll reopen entry to the park 
  • There are handicap accessible ramps throughout the park, but be careful around the spring's deck. It's wet, crowded, and sandy
  • Pets are not allowed near the spring, but are welcome throughout the rest of the park
  • Rent a kayak or canoe if you feel like splurging, you'll definitely see gators, turtles, and birds down the river
    • Save some energy for the paddle back, you'll be coming upstream!

hiker looking through binoculars

What to pack: 

  • Snacks and your reusable water bottle to stay comfortable - there are grills to use!
  • Towel to dry off (the spring is a chilly 72 degrees, you don't want to air dry)
  • Grab some pool floats: the spring is mostly ~5-6 feet deep, so if you don't snag one of the rocks to stand on, you could be treading water for a long time
  • If you've got 'em, bring a snorkel mask or goggles so you can swim down into the spring's opening
  • Bring a picnic blanket or chairs because the grass gets sandy and buggy 
  • Hiking: bring a hat, it's sunny and hot (shocking, right?)
  • Keep an eye out for wildlife
    • My favorite: black bears. You probably won't see any, and they will not harm you if you mind your business, but they are there 👀 
picnic blanket with food bowls
Britt Gaiser / Unsplash
 

What's a Spring?

Florida is well known for its bubbling springs. Pressurized ground water flows up through a rocky opening to create a spring, usually a swimming hole, and then flows to join a water system heading to the ocean. Wekiwa Springs pumps 42 million gallons a day to meet with Rock Springs, and then heads to the St. Johns River. Like most aquatic ecosystems, their health is important. So when you visit, be sure to wear your eco-friendly sunscreen so it doesn't harm aquatic life. Shown below, try your luck diving into the spring's opening! 

swimmer with fins in between limestone