If you’re looking for a laid-back kayaking experience, the Weeki Wachee River is a great place to paddle. The river offers kayakers a chance to explore the area’s crystal-clear waters and lush vegetation. You’ll even see some fantastic wildlife.
Weeki Wachee Springs is one of Florida’s deepest freshwater springs, and water temperatures run consistently at 72-74 degrees year-round. An underground aquifer feeds the spring, and its outflow forms the Weeki Wachee River, which empties into the Gulf of Mexico. The spring is so deep the bottom has never been found.
Here’s everything you need to know about kayaking Weeki Wachee, one of the most beautiful kayaking destinations in Florida
Weeki Wachee Kayaking
The spring-fed river is located on Florida’s Nature Coast in central Florida. And more than 100 million gallons of freshwater flow from the springs daily. As a result, the river is teeming with fish and other wildlife.
The Weeki Wachee River is the perfect place for kayaking. With clear blue-green waters, gently flowing currents, and gorgeous natural surroundings, it offers the ideal conditions for both experienced and novice kayakers.
The river is often a popular destination for tourists who admire its serenity. Most of the trip is spent beneath the shade of oak and cypress trees, with a chance to see manatees, otters, turtles, and other marine life.
If you start paddling at Fresh Water Adventures and float downriver, the total length of the trip is 2.8-miles, and it’s a very easy paddle with the current. So my advice…paddle slowly, you get 2 hours on the river, and if you paddle too fast, you will finish much sooner than you think.
You can paddle leisurely to keep yourself on course to avoid trees and strainers and make the trip in 2 hours. But, unfortunately, my wife and I kept an eye on the clock, took it a little too slow, and had to hurry up toward the end.
Weeki Wachee Kayak Rentals
If you don’t have your own kayak or stand up paddle board (SUP), you can rent everything you need at Fresh Water Adventures, the only place in Weeki Wachee Springs State Park to rent kayaks and SUPs.
Rental fees are very reasonable, $32 for single kayaks and paddle boards and $48 for tandem kayaks, including a shuttle ride back from Rogers Park to the state park (Fresh Water Adventures).
Alternatively, advanced paddlers can launch from Rogers Park and paddle upriver and back if they have their own equipment. There are no rentals at Rogers Park, and there is a fee to park there. Trailer parking is available at Rogers Park but fills up quickly.
Note: Reservations are required to rent kayaks and SUPs at Fresh Water Adventures. If you have your own kayak/SUP, you can use the private launch from the state park for $6, but you still need to make a reservation to launch. In addition, if you need to use the shuttle service back to the state park, it’s $10. Again you need a reservation.
Reservations, reservations, reservations. The whole point of the reservations is to limit the number of people on the river. You can call to make reservations at 352-597-8484 or reserve online.
Another thing to keep in mind, Weeki Wachee is a non-disposable container river. Any food or drink (non-alcoholic) must be kept in a non-disposable container. These folks are all about keeping this beautiful environment just that, beautiful.
You get about 2 hours on the river if you rent equipment from the state park and float to the pickup location at Rogers Park. Don’t be late or miss your shuttle unless you enjoy paying more for the next shuttle.
Finally, paddlers are not supposed to get out of the boat. So, no swimming, or chilling on the beaches.
Watch Out For Boats
Yep, this is a big one. The river is very shallow in places, and there isn’t much room, to begin with. However, boats are allowed on the river, and many make the trip from the Gulf of Mexico upriver. Of course, boats need to stick to deeper water, which sometimes means getting out of the way.
I was caught in a bit of a pickle while paddling my SUP down the river. I came upon a boat (rounding a corner), got over as far as possible, and was forced to paddle right into a tree. The guy driving the boat glared at me with a menacing look as I struggled to maintain balance on my board. The current pushed me into said overhanging tree.
The other passengers looked at me apologetically as they passed. Ah, good times! Anyway, watch out for boats. Even though they are traveling slowly, be prepared for these types of encounters.
Kayaking Weeki Wachee is a great way to spend a couple of hours on the water. The trip is easy and can be done by people of all skill levels. Just remember to make a reservation, kayak at your own pace, and watch out for boats!