Kayaking, Canoeing and Paddleboarding in Orlando: How to have a great day

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Summer is in full swing in Central Florida, and that means it’s time to get outdoors. Why not take that opportunity to cool down at the springs in Orlando? At Wekiva Island, kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding are great ways to experience the beauty only Orlando springs can deliver.

While we love getting out on the water every chance we get at Wekiva Island, we understand that if you’ve never been kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding in Orlando, it might be a little intimidating. If you’re planning your trip to Wekiva Island to enjoy the cool water and beautiful springs, here are some of our tips to make it the best trip possible.

Be prepared

Before you head out into the Florida sun, you’re going to want to make sure you’re prepared. A hat, sunscreen, sunglasses and clothes you don’t mind getting wet are all essentials. You might also want to bring a backpack to keep things handy and perhaps a towel. A great trick? Put your phone in a plastic baggie so you can have some piece of mind and keep it close for photos. But, don’t worry. If you forget anything, we stock all the essentials at the Tooting Otter General Store. Another great way to prep for our Orlando outdoor activities? Plan to arrive early. We reach capacity early in the summer months, so check our capacity meter online before you head out. Once you’ve arrived, just pay the $2 entrance fee, and you’re on your way.

Fuel up (and leave the alcohol at home)

Typically at Wekiva Island, unless you have rented an Orlando cabana, we do not allow food or drink coolers. You may, however, bring along water or a cooler for food if you’re renting a vessel—the cooler just must go back into your car when you arrive back at the Island. Unfortunately, we do not allow any outside alcoholic beverages on the Wekiva River, but our outdoor bar in Orlando is a great place to relax after a nice, long Orlando canoe trip. You can also fuel up at Without a Paddle Café, our Orlando food truck, before or after your trip. They serve everything from lobster sandwiches to vegetarian options.

Pick your vessel

Now the question is, which vessel do you want to take out? All of our vessels can make for a fun day, but there are a few differences. First, paddleboards are standing vessels. You stand (or kneel, or sit) on a surfboard-like vessel while you use one paddle to move along. Once you get the hang of it, this method of moving can be a blast! Not so sure? Our partner, Paddleboard Orlando, can help you with a guided Orlando paddleboarding tour.

Canoes and kayaks are both seated vessel options. Kayaks, however, are closer to the water, and paddlers typically sit in the with their legs outstretched. Kayakers also use a double-sided paddle to propel themselves forward. Canoes tend to be bigger, and paddlers sit on a bench inside the vessel. Paddlers propel themselves with a single-sided paddle. Our Wekiva River canoes hold two or three people, and we offer single or double kayak rentals in Orlando. A great thing about Wekiva springs kayaking or canoeing with us? At Wekiva Island, we rent vessels by the day instead of by the hour, so you have time to enjoy your trip.

Plan your route

The Wekiva River offers dozens of possibilities for a kayaking, canoeing, or paddleboarding adventure, but as you exit Wekiva Island, there are two main routes you can take.

First and arguably easier is turning left toward Wekiwa Springs State Park. If you head this way, you will be doing the hard work going upstream first. On the way back, your journey will be downstream, allowing you to relax a little and enjoy the view. On this route, you will head about mile up the river to the beautiful springs in Orlando and you can enjoy the nice cool water. You can also take this route to head up Rock Springs Run towards King’s Landing.

The other main route you can take is turning right to go downstream toward Wekiva Falls. It will be a lot easier to start out your Wekiva River kayaking journey this way, but you must remember that the route is not a circle. You can paddle as far down as you like, but however far you go, you will have to paddle back—and it will be harder as you come back upstream. This route is a great option for experienced paddlers who want to explore a little further.

Keep it clean

Finally, no matter what you choose for your river adventure, remember that we are the visitors here. The Wekiva River area has many animals, including deer, otters, bears, and alligators, so make sure to be aware of the wildlife, as you are in their home. You should also be sure to pack out any trash you bring in…and maybe even grab a few extra pieces of garbage. At Wekiva Island, we know how lucky we are to be part of this unique and incredible habitat. Sustainability is part of our core values for that very reason. In fact, we host regular river clean ups with Keep Seminole Beautiful! Be sure to have your own informal river clean up as you’re out and about with your Wekiva springs kayak rental so we can continue to share this amazing river with people for years to come.

Now that you are ready for a fun-filled trip to Wekiva Island, come visit us. Check out some of our activities and amenities, as well as our rates. We hope to see you so