This post may contain affiliate links.
Florida Spring: Rock Springs
Location: Apopka, Florida
Located 2 hours from Jacksonville, just north of Orlando, sits Kelly Park and Rock Springs. Kelly Park is a county park, where you can swim, tube, and camp. The swimming and tubing at Kelly Park was closed due to COVID when we visited, so we started our day at King’s Landing, a few miles away from the park.
King’s Landing is a launch site on the Wekiva River where you can rent kayaks and canoes. There are two options when you get on the river. You can go left out of King’s Landing and drift downstream 8.5 miles to the Wekiva Island Marina. There you can catch a shuttle back to your car at King’s Landing. Your other option (and what our family recommends) is that you go right out of King’s Landing and paddle upstream towards Kelly Park and then drift back downstream to finish at King’s Landing. Going right will take you through what’s called the Emerald Cut, which is a simply stunning area of the spring.
One of our favorite parts about paddling upstream towards Kelly Park was the crystal clear water and sandy bottoms of Rock Springs. The cool, inviting waters had tons of spots along the way where you could get out and swim, looking for fish or even a turtle.
Much of the river is shaded along the way and be sure to keep your eyes peeled because there are lots of birds to spot.
The paddle upstream towards Kelly Park took us a little over 1.5 hours, that’s with a few swim stops along the way. When you reach Kelly Park, you can’t dock and get out, but there are sandy areas near the turn around point where you can stop for a snack before heading back downstream.
For our family, it took about 3 hours for us to go round trip up to Kelly Park and then back down to King’s Landing. Paddling upstream can be a workout, but coming back you glide down effortlessly with the current. Just be sure to keep and eye out for low lying branches.
If you’re interested in learning more about springs in Florida, we recommend Touring the Springs of Florida: A Guide to the State’s Best Springs. It’s a great resource for day trips that your family is sure to love!
Looking to explore more springs in Florida? Check out our other suggestions for the best springs to explore with your family!
Shannon Beckham is a former Special Education teacher, turned SAHM that doesn’t spend a lot of time staying at home. Mom to Cole & Kiley, she loves cheering on the Gators, early morning visits to the beach and traveling with her family. She blogs about her adventures at The Beckham Project.