A dip in crisp, cool water may feel refreshing in the Florida heat, but there are many choices for Floridians and visitors looking to take a dip.
And sure, you could hit your local or backyard pool, or even the beach, but you wouldn't have access to hiking trails, wildlife, and unspoiled canopies unless you tried one of Florida's 900 bubbling springs.
Many of Florida's springs are located in inexpensive state parks and most are around 72 degrees. The travel website Trips to Discover named the best swimming holes in the nation in August of 2023 - and a spring in central Florida made the cut.
This is an interesting choice as central Florida is more known for its theme parks than for its springs.
What's So Special About Wekiwa Springs State Park in Apopka?: This park is actually not that far from Orlando and all of its attractions, but it feels like a world away. It's so untouched that it may look the same as it did when the Timucua Native Americans occupied the land.
The spring is actually Orange County's longest-running tourist attraction, and it is not difficult to understand why.
There are thirteen miles of beautiful trails through lush tropical hammocks for hiking and biking and seeking out wildlife, but many people who visit the park want to swim in the spring.
Wekiwa Springs is 72 degrees year-round, so it is a refreshing place to swim, but there is no diving, jumping, or scuba gear allowed. That said, snorkeling is welcome.
The park also allows for horseback riding and there is a trail that goes along an old railroad line to enoy.
The park is also the perfect place for kayakers because, after using the park as a launching site, you can reach points of interest such as Wekiva Island, Kelly Park, and Katie's Landing. The park allows camping and has 60 campsites. The entrance fee is only $6 per car.
What Do Reviewers Say About Wekiwa Springs State Park?: Google reviewers give this park 4.5 out of 5 stars. Most reviewers praised the natural beauty and cleanliness of the park, although some believed the water was colder than 72 degrees. Most had good experiences at the campsites. Some people who took off stars did so because of crowding during peak times.
Where to Grab a Bite to Eat: If a day in the park builds up an appetite, this a great little joint to try nearby. Head to the Rock Springs Grill for phenomenal chicken wings, Philly cheesesteaks, and burgers. The atmosphere is fun and there is karaoke that people take pretty seriously. They also rent kayaks here if you need one for the park.
If you are already visiting or living by the central Florida attractions, consider giving Wekiwa Springs State Park a try. It's a cool place to relax on a hot day and a welcome change from a faster pace.