We own a kayak yet I feel we haven’t explored as much as we should have on the water so far. While we definitely use it a lot and it was money WELL spent, we typically go to the same places: Jupiter Sandbar, Peanut Island or Beer Can Island (Boynton). But, there are so many places to explore in Florida alone, that we really need to get out more! Once we purchased the kayak, I told Ben I really wanted to go out on one of the hundreds of natural springs in Florida and kayak the crystal clear waters. We finally did this!
We went to Weeki Wachee Springs which is about an hour north of Tampa, FL. Using HomeAway to book a house for a long weekend, we were able to find a cottage that came with 4 adult kayaks included in our rental and the cottage was located right on the river. All we had to do each morning was roll out of bed and walk about 20 feet and BAM we are on the water!
Our cottage was in a perfect location, one mile down river was Rogers Park. I do not advise trying to go there on a weekend as it was insanely. We paddled with the current and there were not any good sandbars or shallow clear water areas to get out of the yak at and it was so crowded with people that have no clue how to steer and kept running into us. But if we went the other way, it was about 8 miles (we didn’t venture that far) with plenty of stop offs, tree jumps, rope swings and even manatees!
Some important things to note if you ever go to Weeki Wachee Springs; this is a state park (even the area our cottage was located in) and their rules are no alcohol AT ALL on the river. We learned this the hard way. Citations will cost you $100 in case you were wondering… Pack a Yeti! The earlier you get out on the water, the easier it will be to find a great spot to get out, swim and spend some time.
I have never been so relaxed and at peace. Some areas are narrow, others wide, some are super clear, others have sea grass, but no matter where we were, it was just beautiful. We were even lucky enough to see a momma manatee and her baby swim right past us while we were playing in the water! I also almost got pinched by a blue crab walking on by me! There was so much wildlife and things to see. Since we were in solo kayaks, Ben had the dry bag in his yak with my phone so I didn’t take nearly as many photos as I should have! But at least I have the images engraved in my brain so I’ll never forgot.
If you do not rent a place on the river and plan to rent a kayak from the state park, I heard people line up two hours before it opens because the kayaks and paddle boards sell out quickly. So a word to the wise. And if you’ve never been, I highly recommend it. I can’t wait to go explore more springs!
Weeki Wachee is a small town with not a lot to do. But I find this to be a good thing. It’s a town where you spend time outdoors and taking in the beauty. So if you want nightlife, bars, things to do, attractions, etc. this probably isn’t for you. There are lots of restaurants, but I found the ones people raved about were not that great. This is a town where you go see the Mermaids at the park, take a river boat cruise, or spend each day on the river enjoying the cool spring water. One attraction we did find that didn’t involve water was the Nature Coast Botanical Garden. It was much larger than I expected and it was free. You should also stop by Marker 48 Brewing for a beer!
If you’re looking for more outdoor adventure, Devil’s Den is only about an hour from Weeki Wachee and they rent snorkel and scuba gear to explore the sink hole spring. Two hours north of Weeki is Ginnie Springs and Blue Springs. These places make for a great day trip!