The summers in Florida are hot. So hot that some locals bring an extra shirt with them to leave in their car because they know the one they’re wearing will be soaked in sweat in no time. It can get so hot that you can fry an egg on the sidewalk. So hot that you want to stay inside all day, but there’s no fun in that.
One of the best places to spend a day outside during the summer in Florida is at Wekiwa Springs State Park. There’s so much to do there whether it be setting out a blanket for a picnic, trail running, or paddling down the river.
Here are some tips to ensure you have a great day at Wekiwa Springs State Park:
Get There Early
All the locals know about this place and they know to get there early. You should do the same. The park opens every day at 8 a.m. sharp and the park fills up fast. During the weekend the park rangers have to start rejecting people at the entrance starting around 10 a.m. because the park’s usually at capacity by then.
Alternatively you could show up later in the day with the hopes that enough people have left the park and the rangers reopened it. But why would you want to get there late in the day and risk not getting in at all?
Canoe/Kayak/SUP down the Wekiva River
Another reason to come early is to make sure you get to rent a canoe or kayak. The park rents them on a first-come/first-serve basis and you can pay at the concession stand. You can also bring you canoe, kayak, or SUP and paddle down the Wekiva River. Keep your eyes peeled as you paddle through the open bay right after you start paddling away from the park’s launch beach. Gators are known to patrol those waters, admire them from a distance and they’ll stay away from you.
Hangout at Wekiva Island
Paddle long enough and you’ll land at Wekiva Island. This is the place to party and have a blast. Make your way over to the Tooting Otter to grab a drink and fill up on some food. Play a game of beach volleyball, swim in the river, or just kick back and relax. Just remember that you have to paddle back to Wekiwa Springs State Park before they close at 7 p.m.
Swim in the Spring
The spring at Wekiwa Spring State Park is so easy to access it’s unreal. The water’s always crystal clear and easy to see just by standing at the edge of the water. It’s an easy swim, even against the current, and the spring’s fairly shallow. Dive down about 15 feet and you’re at the bottom where the constant 72 degree water comes flowing out of the ground.
Go for a Trail Run
There are four different trail length options for trail runners and hikers alike. The most popular of these is the 13-mile trail. It’s great for half marathon and marathon training. You’d be best off running in the morning and cooling off in the spring after your run.