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Florida Spring: Weeki Wachee Springs
Location: Spring Hill, Florida
My family has a long list of Florida springs we want to visit. We also have a shortlist of springs we keep returning to because we love them so much. Weeki Wachee Springs is one of those springs on the shortlist. Since we first made the trip four summers ago we have returned every summer since. Read along to find out why this place with a silly name has found a permanent spot on our summer bucket list.
Weeki Wachee State Park is the home of real-life mermaids.
We first wanted to visit Weeki Wachee because of my daughter’s obsession with mermaids. Mermaids have been performing an underwater theater show since the 40s here! Based on that info we had to make the trip. The state park also boasts the waterpark Buccaneer Bay, a wildlife show, and a boat ride. All of the attractions are included in the insanely affordable admission price of $13/adults, $8/kids 6-12, free/under 5. During the summer months, Weeki Wachee State Park fills to capacity before noon, make sure to get there early.
Not only is Weeki Wachee one of Florida’s oldest attractions it is also the deepest natural underground cave in the United State.
There is no swimming in the area of the spring head, they save that for the mermaids. The swimming area in the park is deep with a jumping dock and two waterslides. There is also a small children’s water play area.
Besides the mesmerizing mermaids, the crystal clear Weeki Wachee river is another reason to love this spring.
Located behind the parking lot of Weeki Wachee State Park is Weeki Fresh Water Adventurers, the launching point for kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards is a 5.5-mile paddle down to Rogers Park where they will pick you up to bring you back. If you bring your own you can launch here, but you will have to paddle back upstream to return to your point of entry.
Deer, fish, turtles, egrets, great herons, and manatee along the Weeki Wachee River.
The first three miles of your journey downriver is a lush tropical oasis. Be on the lookout for wildlife! There are many spots long river to stop and swim, eat a snack, and relish in the serenity of this peaceful place. Our family can spend hours on the river, pack a lunch, lots of water and make a whole day of it! We spot almost manatees every time we are on the river. Sit back and observe them in their natural habitat.
Hotel accommodations are extremely limited in this area of the Nature Coast. We rent an Airbnb along the Weeki Wachee river. There is a good selection to choose from and most come with kayaks, and canoes to get you on the river. No matter where you stay in the area make sure to stop at Pine Island Beach Park to watch the sunset. There is no better way to end the day than watching the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico.
Before visiting Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, and any other state park, please call first to find out the latest closures. As of August 2020, Weeki Wachee State Park is currently closed. The adjacent Weeki Fresh Water Adventurers is open by reservation only.
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!
Jillian Gishler is a New Englander at heart. Born in Jacksonville Beach, she grew up in Massachusetts but was beckoned back to Florida by Mickey Mouse for a Disney World Internship. She returned to the beach in 2005 after graduating from Florida State. Ten years ago she opened her handmade & vintage collective shop, Sew Vicious, in Neptune Beach. Jillian raises chickens, is a passionate gardener, a DIYer, a thrift store junkie, and a deal loving mama who runs Sunny Savings. She leads her daughters Girl Scout Troop, teaches sewing at a local Montessori School, and is a Parents Who Lead Alumni. She loves surprising her husband and daughters with mini-vacations around the Sunshine State.