Kayaking in Florida
Off the Beaten Path Series, Travel Destinations & Stories

Our Epic Florida Springs Kayaking Trip

One thing we’ve learned is that you either love Florida or you don’t. For us, Florida was a state of travel goals. Justin and I, both, really enjoy the mountains and the lakes as well as less crowded areas. Neither of us is really a beach lover. However, for us, visiting Florida is about finding the things to do away from the beach. And to our surprise, there is a ton of beautiful things to do aside from the beaches! Here we will share our most amazing Florida kayaking trip down the Weeki Wachee Springs paddle trail.

Kayaking Weeki Wachee Springs

The highlight of our Florida trip this year was our kayaking trip down Weeki Wachee Springs. It was a whole day trip for us because we took our time and stopped often. During our 5.5 mile kayak down the slow-flowing spring, we saw 3 manatees (which required sitting in one spot watching it do nothing for over 30 minutes Ha!), stopped for lunch on a little beach area, and took over 1,000 pictures. It was such a beautiful day of kayaking. We highly recommend this trip! Oh, and yes, the water really is this clear and gorgeous. The whole way!

We learned a few things along the way and want to offer some tips to make your kayaking trip perfect!

Launch / Put In Site

The kayak launch site is on the opposite side of the parking lot and downhill from the main entrance to Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, which is along US 19 just south of the intersection with SR 50. Follow the narrow unpaved road down to the parking area that adjoins the outfitter. Unload your kayaks in the parking lot below. Then drive and park your vehicle in the upper parking lot. Tip: They do close the gate to the lower parking lot at 5, so you don’t want your vehicle to be stuck in the lower parking lot. 

Kayak Rentals

The State Park also rent kayaks, and paddleboards but require you to get out around the halfway point. Once you’re driving down to the lower parking area you will see the outfitters and where you pick up your kayaks at. You can also make reservations on the same site by selecting the Self Guided tab at the bottom. Those prices range from $32 to $48. They do not allow you to kayak down to Rogers Park as we did. You will be guided to an area about halfway and driven back to the area you parked. 

Logistics 

How did we get back to get our vehicle? One of us stayed with the kayaks and the other called an Uber ride. It’s about 6 miles by vehicle and it worked out perfectly. Another option is if you’re going with others, you can leave one vehicle parked at Rogers Park. There is a very small parking fee of $5 to park all day.

Kayaking in Florida

Private Launch

Private launch just means you’re bringing your own boats! For us, this was the best option since we do have our own kayaks. The cost is $6 per kayak. Click here and scroll to the bottom and select Private Launch.

TIPS: We kayaked the whole 5.5 miles down to the public (free) ramp at Rogers Park. Most of the way you are floating with the river flow. There wasn’t much paddling involved. We would not recommend floating down and trying to paddle back upstream. Though it looks like a gentle flow, we did see a few people doing it and they were definitely admittedly struggling. 

This is one of the best kayak trips we’ve been on. We definitely have a few favorites and this is one of them. We hope our information helped plan a fun day of kayaking in Florida for you. Here are a couple more tips we learned along the way

  • All food and drinks need to be packed in non-disposable containers. No Ziplock baggies or plastic water bottles are allowed. They do inspect your backpacks so please follow the rules
  • The above statement doesn’t mean all people follow the rules. We did pick a few items out of the spring and brought them with us to throw away. Please do the same if you see any floating trash. This incredible adventure is worth keeping open, so please do your part.
  • Our Uber ride was $20 (with tip) to get back to our vehicle. Well worth it if you don’t have 2 vehicles.
  • Though I mentioned it above, make sure you make reservations in advance! They only allow a few people at a time to launch, and if you try to make reservations the morning of your launch date, it’s possible they won’t have any openings (depending on when you’re going).

Wondering what kind of kayaks we have? Click here to see! We have the 385FT. We’ve had them for over 5 years, love them, and they fit right behind our theater seats in our RV.

Our Paddle Map

Here’s a quick look at our paddle map

Close-Up of Rogers Park Take Out Area

Here’s the take out area at Rogers Park. Very easy, and free.

Here are a few other blogs we think you’ll love!

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