State Parks: Wekiwa Springs, Florida

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March 16, 2009

Wekiwa Springs State Park is located in Central Florida about 20 minutes north of Orlando at the headwaters of the Wekiwa River. The nearby community of Apopka (the Indoor Foliage Capital of the World) provides all the usual services (groceries, fuel, laundry) for you to re-supply between trips.

It’s amazing that this kind of wilderness exists so close to a major metropolitan area—lucky for you! Wekiwa Springs State Park would be a fantastic place to stay if you want to experience a more relaxed, natural atmosphere yet not be too far from the excitement of the Orlando-area attractions of SeaWorld, Disneyworld, Universal Studios, etc.

Activities: Wekiwa Springs allows you to glimpse the vistas where Timucua Indians hunted and fished before the arrival of Europeans. Enjoy a picnic to take in the sights and sounds of nature then swim around in the cool spring water. Take a hike, go for a bike ride or ride your horse along 13 miles of trails winding through the park. Visit the Wekiwa Springs Activities webpage for trail information, and download the trails map PDF to familiarize yourself with the general area. Park management recommends bringing water, a compass and map when using these wilderness trails.

You can paddle along the Wekiva River and Rock Springs Run in a canoe or kayak to see the scenery from a different angle. Canoes can be rented at the park from the concessionaire Nature Adventures and guided tours are available. Download the canoe map PDF to get a general idea of your potential routes when planning your trip on the waterways.

Canoes on the Wekiwa River in central Florida.

Canoes on the Wekiwa River in central Florida.

You’ll have plenty of chances to view wildlife since the park is home to fox squirrels, wild turkeys, and Florida Black Bears, to name just a few. Please use caution and take care to maintain your distance from these larger animals. Remember—never feed wild animals, no matter how cute or small. Stop by the Nature Center on your way in for a free self-guided tour to get familiar with native wildlife and learn about their habitat. The center is open on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 3:00, and is located next to the concession stand.

A family of wild turkeys cross the road in Wekiwa Springs State Park, Florida.

A family of wild turkeys cross the road in Wekiwa Springs State Park, Florida.

If you’re part of a large group, the park has two pavilions (each with capacity of 100) that can be rented out for special events. Each pavilion has water, electricity, a double charcoal grill and picnic tables. View Wekiwa Springs pavilion details or call (407) 884-2008 to make reservations.

There are many more fun things to do and see at this park. Since I can’t cover them all here, please visit the Wekiwa Springs State Park activities webpage for complete details!

Camping Info: The Wekiwa Springs State Park has 60 gravel RV campsites in a wooded area at the front of the park. Back-in sites measure 35’x 60’, but please be advised that sites may not be wide enough to accommodate large slideouts. Each site has water and electrical hookups (20/30 amp service), as well as a fire ring with grill and a picnic table. There are no sewer hookups but the dump station is located at the campground. There are two restrooms with showers. ADA accessible sites are available by reservation. Last year’s rates were $22 per night. Please call (407) 884-2008 to make reservations, as the park does close when it reaches capacity.

Cool Feature: The park provides a Lending Library where you can borrow books about the area’s wildlife to help your little campers understand more of their nature experience during your nightly story time.

Pets are allowed as long as they are kept under the owner’s control at all times and do not disturb other visitors or park wildlife. A pet fee of $2 per animal per day is required. Pets are not allowed in swimming areas. You must pick up after your pet and dispose of droppings in trash bins. Read the park’s pet policies for full details.

If you’re from the Apopka/Orlando area or have visited Wekiwa Springs State Park in the past, please chime in with your stories and tips! Your insights can help others have a fantastic trip.

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  2. Sybil S. Byrnes recommended a great RV park on the coast of the Florida Panhandle (not all that far from where I used to live in Panama City) if you happen to be driving through the area before or after your trip to Wekiwa Springs.

    Topsail Hill Preserve State Park is in Santa Rosa Beach, about 65 miles east of Pensacola. It is a pet-friendly park with gorgeous white sand beaches where you can fish, swim (no lifeguards), or just lounge in the sun. Nature trails meander through the sand dunes for great wildlife viewing. There are also picnic areas and outdoor showers for your convenience.

    Regarding RV camping, Sybil says: $38 a night with full hookups (including 50 amps and sewer at each site!). It’s beautiful but fills up fast!

    According to the Topsail Hill park website: The Gregory E Moore RV Resort has 156 sites with water, 30 or 50 amp electric, cable, sewer, (non-heated) swimming pool, laundry and shuffleboard courts. Bathhouses are heated and cooled. Big rigs welcome.

  3. Rich: I went to Lake Powell with my family a few years back with our ski boat and it was a blast! Gorgeous scenery and lots of exploring.

    Barry has a great tip for staying organized when planning a trip without getting buried under mounds of paper! You can access the archives of all my park reviews to date by clicking on my name in the byline of the article above. This works well if you missed a week or have a friend that is just starting to follow the series.

    My list of chosen parks is ever-evolving based on feedback from readers and other inspiration. I try my best to include information for all you big rigs out there, but sometimes the best way to get the real scoop is to call the campgrounds and parks directly.

    Hopefully this points you in the right direction for ideas for your upcoming summer road trip!

  4. Rich Moran

    A few years ago 2006 summer took my son and his buddy to Zion, lake powell, then Bryce canyon, then yellowstone and then Glacier. I really like Glacier, not as crowded and the narrows in Zion are outstanding. Planning a road trip starting in may or June and saw some of your information on parks. Just wondered if you knew any other particular favorites of yours. We stayed in dubois camp ground before going into yellowstone and really enjoyed. I have a fifth wheel (toy hauler) Fuzion and pull with a F-250 so I kind of long but I have a big rig camp ground booklet but I also do some boondocking in Desert. I saw the couple above has a lot of your park blogs is there anyway to get some of the further information of your favorite places. Thanks




    This is a little thing but I think it is worth sharing with you and others. I am saving all of your park blogs in a travel file on my computer rather than using paper to print them and keep them in a book. I rework the title of your blog to put the name of the state first. The computer file is then in alphabetical order by state. This allows me to easily look up all the parks you have written about in Tennessee, Florida, Arizona or any other state when I know we will be going through that state on a trip.

  6. Please bear with me this week, folks.

    We just upgraded to the latest version of the publishing software and I’m still working out the kinks for displaying images. I’m hoping to have the blog looking pretty again by Saturday.

    Thanks for your understanding. 🙂