The Orlando area is widely known for all the theme parks with Disney World and Universal Studios as international favorites but there is a whole other side of central Florida that includes a lot of natural beauty and its own kind of magic. If you've been cooling off this summer in your Orlando apartment pool
and looking for a new spot to cool off and explore, here is a list of some of the popular natural springs that you should check out.
Kelly Park/Rock Springs is located in northwest Orange county
in Apopka. It is a short drive north on I-4 and is the perfect day trip to go tube or swim down this natural lazy river. The park also features larger swimming areas on different stops along the way down the river. The park includes picnic pavilions, concession area, and tube rentals.
King's Landing is on the same road as Kelly Park/Rock Springs in Apopka and if you want to escape the crowds and fully immerse yourself in nature this is the spot for you. They offer canoe/kayak rentals where you can paddle down Rock Springs Run to swim, fish, or just explore and relax in nature.
Wekiwa Springs is also located in Apopka and a great place to spend the day. This park features an open area spring with plenty of room to swim and explore including a few caves. Picnic pavilions, concession area along with grassy hill perfect to relax after you've cooled down in the springs. Plenty of hiking trails and canoe/kayak rentals so you can travel down the Wekiva River.
Another option to visit the Wekiva River is Wekiva Island located in Longwood. This popular indoor/outdoor spot offers canoe/kayak and paddleboard rentals along with swimming areas and plenty of on-land activities for all including volleyball, beer and wine bar, and café.
Just over 30 miles north of Orlando on Interstate-4
, Blue Springs State Park along the St. Johns River is a great spot to swim, snorkel or tube, and if you are lucky, certain times of the year you may be able to spot a manatee swimming around the park.
One of my childhood favorites and mainly because of The Old Spanish Sugar Mill Grill and Griddle House. This restaurant is located in the state park and each table includes a pancake griddle where you can make your breakfast. After breakfast jump in for a swim in the springs or go on a boat tour through the park and Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge.
If you are looking to cool down outside your own Orlando apartment
, I hope you will include some of these springs above in your summer plans. Summertime in Central Florida is a beautiful time to visit these local springs especially if you are looking for a place to cool off and beat the summer heat. Most of the springs in the summer months are very crowded and due to Covid-19 may be at limited capacity. I suggest you call ahead and plan to arrive early or visit during the week or non-peak times.