Just a little north of the hustle and chaos of the theme parks is a piece of Florida unlike any other. The Wekiva River has been designated as part of the Florida State Canoe Trail, an Outstanding Florida Waterway, and an Aquatic Preserve by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The Wekiva River system is also one of the two rivers in Florida that are federally designated as a National Wild and Scenic River for its scenery, recreation, geology, and diverse habitats. The word wekiva (or sometimes wekiwa) is from the Creek Indian word for “spring of water”. And this river is fed by a lot of springs, thirty of them along its 16-mile course with a total discharge of some 43 million gallons of water a day. It begins in Apopka, Florida and empties into the St. John’s River (Florida’s longest river) near Debary.
The river is home to a multitude of native wildlife and offers a glimpse into the real natural beauty of Florida. On this paddle, you are likely to see alligators, otters, the occasional manatee, great blue herons, limpkins, and hundreds of songbirds. Speaking of songbirds, this paddle is great for birdwatchers during the migration seasons. Bald eagles are another bird often seen on this paddle along with other raptors including red-shouldered hawks, osprey, and owls.
While the wildlife alone would make this paddle spectacular, the quiet and solitude is another distinguishing feature. Weekends sometimes get a little busy, but weekday paddles are often done seeing no other human being. The sounds of nature become the only noises you hear.
Easy paddling suitable for never-before kayakers.
What to bring, what’s provided
What’s provided: Kayak, personal floatation device (PFD), paddle, drinking water and light snacks.
What to bring: bug spray and sun protection of your choosing, beverages (other than water (please note: no alcohol during the tour)), shoes and clothing you don’t mind getting wet, and a hat or other head covering.
3 1/2 Hour Tours Tuesday – Sunday 8 am – 11:30 am, or 12:30 pm – 4:00 pm