Ahh, the Florida springs. Crystal blue gems that dot the sub-tropical paradise that is Florida. I’ve been to over 50 springs and Weeki Wachee definitely tops my list. There’s so much to do here, from kayaking, to a waterpark, to mermaid shows (yes, that’s a thing), Weeki Wachee is the perfect destination for nature lovers and families alike.
Weeki Wachee Springs is located on the gulf coast of Florida, about an hour and a half from Orlando and Gainesville, and about an hour north of Tampa. If you are visiting Florida and are in one of these areas, it’s definitely worth a day trip.
To get into the park (the spring, waterpark, and wildlife shows) it costs $13 for adults, $8 for children between the ages of 6-12, and is free for children 5 and under.
To launch a kayak, you don’t have to pay the entry fee, but you do have to pay a $6 launch fee if you have your own kayak, and either bring your own life jackets or pay $6 each to rent them. If you are renting a kayak, make sure you call ahead for a reservation a couple days in advance. They often book up, especially in the summertime.
Furthermore, if you are planning on launching your own kayak expect to pay another $5 each for the shuttle to bring you back to the main parking lot. If you’re with someone, you can save some money by only purchasing one shuttle ticket. One person can go back on the shuttle and get the car and the other can wait with the kayak/canoe. If you are renting a kayak or paddle board at Weeki Wachee, the prices are as follows:
Single Kayak: $32.50
Tandem Kayak: $37.50
Paddle Board: $32.50
These prices include the life jacket and shuttle back. Arrive at the park early, as they ask you to finish the 5-mile run and reach Rogers Park (where they pick you up) by 4:30p.m., or you will incur a $50/hour late fee.
Things To Do
1. Kayaking Or Paddle Boarding. I love kayaking, so naturally the 5-mile, crystal blue river is what attracted me to this spring in the first place. Most springs in Florida connect to a murky river run. Not Weeki Wachee. It’s like the entire river is the spring itself here. It so clear and blue, I felt like I was floating in a river of gatorade. The entire run from the launch site to Rogers Park took us about 5 hours, but can be done much quicker without any stops. I took my time, stopping to swim and
climb/jump off trees along the way. It’s a pretty easy ride, as the water is fairly still. Most of the run is shallow and sandy, making it a great spot to bring the kids to swim. If you want to keep going, you can kayak 2 miles past Rogers Park and you’ll reach the Gulf. Just keep in mind that coming back up you will be going against the current. Make sure you bring lots of water, sunscreen, and food! The water may be 72 degrees year round, but the sun is hot and you will get burnt if you don’t wear proper sun protection. Play it safe and bring a bag with you on your kayak/paddle! (:
2. Buccaneer Bay Waterpark. Entry into the waterpark is included with the purchase of your ticket into the park. One unique feature of this waterpark is that the slides feed directly into the spring! It also has a nice beach so parents, kick off those shoes and relax while your kids play in the spring!
3. River Boat Tours. Another activity included with your ticket is a river boat tour. If kayaking isn’t your thing, relax and enjoy this cruise down the river with your family. These rides last about 25 minutes and are a great way to see part of the river and still have time for all of the other activities that await you inside the park.
4. Wildlife Shows. Also included with your ticket are wildlife shows. Learn about some of Florida’s native wildlife, including alligators, snakes, and exotic birds. Show times are at 10am, 12pm, and 2:15pm. Being Florida natives who see alligators on a daily basis we decided not to go view the show, but we did talk to a group of tourists who went and saw it and they loved it. If you aren’t from Florida then we recommend going to check this out, especially since it’s included in your ticket price.
5. Mermaid Shows.
If you have children this will be a highlight of their trip to Florida. Weeki Wachee is home to the Weeki Wachee Mermaids, and they have two showings that run every day year round: The Little Mermaid and Fish Tails. Even if you aren’t going with kids we recommend seeing one of their mermaid shows, as it is a unique entertainment experience unavailable anywhere else.
Bonus: Eat at Upper Deck. Although there is food in the park, I recommend going to Upper Deck. If you are kayaking, it is right by Rogers Park, looking over the river. You can park your kayak right outside of it and dine in. If you didn’t kayak, it’s only 5 minutes away from the park. They have great cocktails and seafood at a pretty decent price!
So there you have it: 5 things to do in Weeki Wachee Springs, Florida! Have you been to Weeki Wachee before? Whats your favorite spring? Comment below and share with your friends! (: