Wekiva Springs State Park is on every Floridian’s Summer Bucket List it seems, so my husband and I decided to try it out last June. Let me save you the time and energy here, if you are looking for sweeping Florida views and peace and quiet THIS IS NOT THE PLACE. We started off by renting a canoe upstream from Wekiva Springs (our first mistake – not realizing canoes are extremely uncomfortable and hard to paddle). The canoe rental was relatively cheap, costing us around $40 for a half day rental. The rental shack’s plan was for everyone to paddle upstream to the actual spring (8 miles) and a bus would pick us up and return us back to our car. Seemed simple right? Seemed fun right? Boy we were in for a treat.
Getting physically into the canoe was interesting to say the least; there was no “pushing off of a bank.” The canoe was already in the water and you had to safely step into the canoe without tipping it over all while your spouse climbs into the front. My husband and I are not the lightest or balanced of people, but we seemed to manage climbing into the boat. We pushed ourselves away from the dock and headed up stream. Not more than thirty minutes into this adventure, we already were struggling to keep the canoe in a straight line. Screaming at one another, we ended up banking ourselves more times than I can count. Further out on the river, a few feet from the stern of our boat, there were two otters playing in the water! We did end up seeing several raccoons, birds and otters! (One positive experience)
Canoeing continued on, our boat was filling slowly with water, our arms were sore and we were covered in bug bites. Absolutely nothing notable happened. We canoed for hours. Ladies and gents, if you really want to test the strength of your relationship, paddle in a canoe for eight miles getting eaten alive by spiders.
Arriving finally around 1:00pm at the official Wekvia Spring, again there was no pull in beach but a dock you had to climb on top of the dock to get out of your canoe (I had the worst cuts on my knees and arms from trying to get out of the boat). Starving, thirsty and exhausted we made our way to a food truck near the water. Little did we know that you have to pay even more money to be able to get near the water and food, luckily we had spare change, they did not except credit cards. Walking closer to the water and food trucks, the crowds were unbearable. Half naked college kids, hundreds of loose dogs and broken glass bottles scattered the ground. This was a nightmare. If sitting at a bar in the middle of the afternoon, while sipping on overpriced drinks is your thing then you are in for a treat! We spent $10 for two canned sodas and did not have enough cash to buy food. Defeated, we walked back to the bus stop. Not shocked, the bus actually showed up 30 minutes earlier than what was on the schedule and they ended up leaving us to wait another hour.
Again, if you are looking for a relaxing paddle or to dip your feet in the cool spring water take it from this Florida girl just avoid Wekvia Springs all together. There are plenty of springs to visit during the summer in Florida without the crowds of drunken college kids. Check out my article here on Blue Springs Florida or stretch out on the secluded beach of Sanibel Island.