Your Complete Guide to Wekiwa Springs

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View of wekiwa springs

It’s no surprise that Florida is full of natural hot springs. January and February are prime seasons for watching the manatees swim inland to these warm waters.

But it may come as a surprise that you’ll find such an oasis just 16 miles from downtown Orlando. Wekiwa Springs State Park has been entertaining visitors since the 1800s. 

Let’s see why it continues to be a popular attraction for locals and tourists!

Where Is Wekiwa Springs?

Florida is home to 195 state parks. Wekiwa Springs is just minutes from downtown Orlando in central Florida. The exact address is 1800 Wekiwa Circle in Apopka, Fla. 

It’s a very popular state park and may temporarily close when it reaches capacity. The lush greenery and spring-fed Wekiva River lure locals and tourists trying to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

What Is Wekiwa Springs State Park Known For?

Wekiwa Springs State Park is most known for its picturesque waters, which have made it Orange County’s longest-running tourist attraction. Since the mid-19th century, visitors have come to enjoy the springs and wildlife. 

The 72-degree springs welcome visitors year-round who soak, swim, and paddle. Wekiwa Springs expels 43 million gallons of water a day, and the designated swimming area is just over a half-acre with an average depth of 4 feet.

Things to Know Before You Go

Because the state park often reaches capacity, it’s always a good idea to arrive as early in the day as possible.

If you can visit on a weekday, you’ll avoid much of the crowds. The park opens at 8 a.m. and closes at sundown, like most Florida state parks.

Everyone must pay an entrance fee upon arrival. It costs $6 per vehicle, $4 per single-occupant vehicle, and $2 per pedestrian or bicyclist. The camping fee costs $24 per night plus tax and a nonrefundable $6.70 reservation fee. 

And RV, cabin, bungalow, boat, and yurt units also have a $7 nightly utility fee. Primitive tent sites cost $5 per person per night, plus tax.

The main entrance is on Wekiwa Springs Road, where you’ll find the ranger station, parking area, the Wet-to-Dry trailhead, and the Wekiwa Springs. The family campground lies to the left of the entrance along Main Park Drive.

A bridge at wekiwa springs

Things to Do at Wekiwa Springs State Park

When you visit Wekiwa Springs State Park, you have much more to do than just swim in the springs. From mountain biking to paddling to hiking, you’ll have various outdoor recreational opportunities. Let’s explore a few.

Mountain Bike the Off-Road Bicycle Trail

Whether you want a challenging route or an easy scenic ride, you have miles of biking and multi-use trails in Wekiwa Springs State Park.

The off-road bicycle trail is about 9 miles long. Just stay alert to other cyclists, hikers, and horseback riders who may use the same paths.

Rent a Canoe or Kayak

Canoe and kayak rentals are available at Wekiwa Springs State Park Nature Adventures. If you want an enjoyable, short ride, try paddling the 1-mile route from Wekiwa Springs to Wekiva Island. 

Wekiwa Springs to Big Buck is about 4 miles, while Wekiwa Springs to Katie’s Landing is 10 miles. You can begin your ride inside the state park or at any point along the Wekiwa River. Just make sure to pay the $2 per person entrance fee once inside the park.

Keep in Mind: How Do You Store a Kayak on an RV? Let’s dive in!

A woman kayaking at wekiwa springs

Snorkel in Wekiwa Springs

Snorkeling is not permitted in Wekiwa Springs Run, Rock Springs Run, or the Wekiva River. But you can go snorkeling in the Wekiwa Springs swimming area. It’s important to note that this area has no lifeguards on duty, and everyone swims or snorkels at their own risk. 

The swimming area opens when the park opens at 8 a.m. and closes at sundown. Diving, jumping, scuba, and other tank-assisted or tethered hookah breathing systems are prohibited.

Hike Over 13 Miles of Trails

Wekiwa Springs State Park also has miles of hiking trails. Whether you just want a mile-long stroll or a 13.5-mile trail traversing most of the park, you have several trails to choose from. 

The longest trail provides opportunities to see varied wildlife, from Florida black bears and white-tailed deer to gopher tortoises and turkeys. You can obtain a trail map at the ranger station.

A hiking trail sign at wekiwa springs

Stay Overnight at the Campground

Finally, Camp Cozy and Big Fork offer primitive hike-in campsites for tenters looking to spend the night in the wilderness areas of Wekiwa Springs. Big Fork also offers equestrian camping for visitors wanting to bring their horses. 

The family campground near the entrance has 60 campsites with water and electrical hook-ups. It can accommodate RVs up to 50 feet.

What Is the Proposed Serenity Garden?

The final concept design for the Serenity Garden has been completed, although construction has yet to begin. 

According to the Florida State Parks, “The garden, the first of its kind in any state or national park, represents the next innovative wave in the movement to expand equitable access to nature for people of all ages and diverse abilities.”

Once completed, this peaceful retreat will have native plants, interactive and sensory elements, and opportunities for relaxation, exercise, social gathering, education, and therapeutic programming. 

The Serenity Garden has been designed specifically for seniors, people without sight, Wounded Warrior veterans, and children and adults with autism.

Keep in Mind: Wekiwa Springs isn’t the only hot spring in Florida worth visiting! See what other Florida hot springs we recommend soaking in.

Is Wekiwa Springs Pet-Friendly?

You can bring your furry friends to Wekiwa State Park. However, they must always remain on a 6-foot leash, and you can’t leave them unattended. 

Although you can take them on hiking trails, they’re not allowed in the swimming area. Please follow the Leave No Trace principles and pick up after your pets.

Enjoy the Beauty of Central Florida at Wekiwa Springs

Wekiwa Springs is a beautiful oasis outside the hectic city of Orlando. You’ll find solitude and peace among the trails and trees. Bring your tent and enjoy connecting with nature.

Pack a picnic and spend an afternoon soaking in the springs. You may feel amazed that this leisurely retreat lies just a few miles from one of Florida’s largest cities.

Have you ever visited Wekiwa Springs State Park?

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