Wekiwa Springs State Park
With all of Orlando’s manmade attractions, it’s refreshing to get deep into nature at this wonderful state park, located north of downtown and the theme-park corridor. Spread across 7,000 acres of pristine central Florida forest, the park centers around the headwaters of the Wekiwa River, a beautiful, blue-and-green-hued spring with a roped-off area that’s safe for swimming (alligators do dwell in the main river). Rent a kayak or canoe at the park and paddle from the spring into the river, where you can spot turtles and alligators sitting on the banks. If you’re seeking a more primitive experience, you can also book one of the park’s spacious campsites, some of which come with hookups for electricity and water.
By Terry Ward
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My Favorite Florida Escape: Canoeing Wekiwa Springs
My favorite local escape is canoeing at Wekiwa Springs State Park. Get there early to rent a canoe before it gets crowded. Experience the lush greenery at canoe-level, along with egrets, turtles, herons, and (occasionally) alligators. Later, lounge on a blanket on the grass lawn and then go swimming in the whoa-it's-cold springs. Don't miss out on exploring some of Florida's natural beauty. Tip: Go on a weekday.
By Jack Barr, AFAR Local Expert
1800 Wekiwa Cir, Apopka, FL 32712, USA
Sun - Sat 8am - 8:30pm