Your Complete Guide to Wekiwa Springs

Last Updated on May 16, 2023 by Jess

It’s no surprise that Florida is full of natural hot springs. January and February are the best times to watch manatees swim inland to these warm waters.

It may come as a surprise, however, that such an oasis is located just 16 miles from downtown Orlando. Wekiwa Springs State Park has been entertaining visitors since the 1800s.

Let’s take a look at why it remains a popular attraction for locals and tourists alike!

Where is Wekiwa Springs located?

There are 195 state parks in Florida. Wekiwa Springs is located just minutes from downtown Orlando in central Florida. The exact address is 1800 Wekiwa Circle in Apopka, Florida.

This is a very popular state park that may be temporarily closed when it reaches capacity. The lush greenery and spring-fed Wekiva River attract locals and tourists looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

What is Wekiwa Springs State Park known for?

Wekiwa Springs State Park is best known for its scenic waters, which have made it the longest-running tourist attraction in Orange County. Visitors have been coming to enjoy the springs and wildlife since the mid-19th century.

The 72-degree springs welcome visitors year-round for bathing, swimming and paddling. Wekiwa Springs emits 43 million gallons of water daily, and the designated swimming area is just over half an acre and averages ten feet deep.

Things to know before the trip

Since the state park is often at capacity, it is always a good idea to arrive as early as possible.

If you can visit the park on a weekday, you will avoid most of the crowds. The park opens at 8 a.m. and closes at sunset, like most state parks in Florida.

Upon arrival, everyone must pay an entrance fee. It is $6 per vehicle, $4 per single vehicle, and $2 per pedestrian or bicyclist. The camping fee is $24 per night plus taxes and a $6.70 nonrefundable reservation fee.

RV, cabin, bungalow, boat, and yurt sites also charge $7 per night. Primitive tent sites cost $5 per person per night, plus taxes.

The main entrance is off Wekiwa Springs Road, where the ranger station, parking area, wet-to-dry trailhead, and Wekiwa Springs are located. The family campground is located to the left of the entrance along Main Park Drive.

Recreational activities at Wekiwa Springs State Park

When you visit Wekiwa Springs State Park, there’s a lot more you can do than just swim in the springs. From mountain biking to paddling to hiking, there are plenty of recreational opportunities here. Let’s explore a few of them.

Mountain biking on the off-road bike trail

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

The off-road bike trail is about 9 miles long. Just watch for other bicyclists, hikers and equestrians who may use the same trails.

Rent a canoe or kayak

Canoe and kayak rentals are available at Wekiwa Springs State Park Nature Adventures. For a pleasant, short trip, paddle the 1-mile stretch from Wekiwa Springs to Wekiva Island.

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

Please note: How do you stow a kayak in an RV? Let’s dive in!

A woman kayaking at the Wekiwa Springs

Snorkeling at Wekiwa Springs

Snorkeling is not allowed in Wekiwa Springs Run, Rock Springs Run, or the Wekiva River. However, you can snorkel in the Wekiwa Springs swimming area. It is important to note that there are no lifeguards on duty in this area and everyone swims or snorkels at their own risk.

The swimming area opens when the park opens at 8am and closes at sunset. Diving, jumping, scuba diving and other tank-assisted or tethered breathing devices are prohibited.

Hikes on over 13 miles of trails

Wekiwa Springs State Park also has miles of hiking trails. Whether you’re just taking a mile-long walk or a 13.5-mile trail that traverses most of the park, you have your choice of trails.

The longest trail offers opportunities to view a variety of wildlife, from Florida black bears and white-tailed deer to gopher tortoises and turkeys. A trail map is available at the ranger station.

A trail sign at Wekiwa Springs.

Spend the night at the campground

Finally, Camp Cozy and Big Fork offer primitive trail camping for campers who want to spend the night in the wilderness areas of Wekiwa Springs. Big Fork also offers equestrian camping for visitors who wish to bring their horses.

The family campground near the entrance has 60 sites with water and electric hookups. RVs up to 50 feet can be accommodated.

What is the proposed Serenity Garden?

The final concept for the Serenity Garden has been completed, but construction has not yet begun.

According to Florida State Parks, the garden, the first of its kind in a state or national park, represents the next innovative wave in the movement to expand equal access to nature for people of all ages and varying abilities.

When completed, this peaceful retreat will feature native plants, interactive and sensory elements, and opportunities for relaxation, exercise, socializing, education and therapeutic programs.

The Serenity Garden was designed specifically for seniors, people without sight, wounded war veterans, and children and adults with autism.

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

Is Wekiwa Springs pet friendly?

You may bring your furry friends to Wekiwa State Park. However, they must be on a 6-foot leash at all times and cannot be left unattended.

While you may take them on hiking trails, they are not allowed to swim in the swimming area. Please adhere to the Leave No Trace policy and leave your pets behind.

Enjoy the beauty of Central Florida at Wekiwa Springs.

Wekiwa Springs is a beautiful oasis outside the bustling city of Orlando. Here you will find solitude and tranquility among the trails and trees. Bring your tent and enjoy the connection with nature.

Pack a picnic and spend an afternoon soaking in the springs. You’ll be amazed that this relaxing retreat is just a few miles from one of Florida’s largest cities.

Have you ever visited Wekiwa Springs State Park?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top