Wekiva Island, Florida, offers plenty of activities, including kayaking and swimming in the cool and unspoiled Wekiva River. Explore one of Orlando’s most popular local hang-out spots that is entirely authentic, natural, and non-touristy. If you ever want to experience what it’s like to navigate the Floridian rivers, experience springs, and bask in the sun without hitting the beach, then Wekiva Island is for you!
Wekiva Island offers one of the best watering holes in Central Florida. There are plenty of things to do at this watering hole north of Orlando. Play corn hole and volleyball, take to the water and walk along the boardwalk while enjoying the natural springs of Florida. Or, simply claim a lounger and relax next to the river.
Visiting Wekiva Island allows you to escape the city and enjoy the beauty of Florida. Wekiva Island offers canoeing and paddleboarding and hosts events throughout the year. Take a canoe out on the water and enjoy one of Central Florida‘s best canoeing spots. Whether you want to rent a canoe for the day or a half-day, you can enjoy fantastic views of the river and people watch all of the kayakers, canoers, and people in small boats.
The Wekiva River offers more versatility if you rent a kayak or canoe. You can also take out paddle boards on the river for a unique experience. Explore the beauty of the river at your own pace while standing. You can bring your own water vessel for a small fee.
Going out on the water may not be your cup of tea. The Tooting Otter (the local bar) has a regulation-size sand volleyball court for volleyball enthusiasts. From the bleachers, you can watch others play or reserve the court as a group. There are designated swimming areas in the river, and you can bring your floats.
About Wekiva Island
Wekiva is a family-owned and operated business. Known initially as Wekiva Marina, this beautiful spot was a fish camp in the 1960s and served as a set for the Johnny Tiger movie. After an accidental fire in 1999, the bar was unfortunately razed to the ground.
Weinaug’s family bought Wekiva Island in 2008 and restored it. As a result, it has become a perfect green getaway. Featuring 2,000 square feet of space, Wekiva Island is nestled along the Wekiva River and a short canal. This artificial, privately owned eco haven is about 1.5 miles from Wekiwa Springs State Park. A glorious natural respite from the summer heat originates from the headwaters of the Wekiva River.
This family-owned and operated business focused on three core principles: art, education, and sustainability, with solar energy panels, recycling bins, and educational signage. Their current goal is to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.
The Location Of Wekiva Island
This park is located at 1014 Miami Springs Drive in Longwood, FL.
Make sure your map points to “Wekiva Island” rather than the nearby “Wekiva Springs.” Wekiva Springs is a separate private area, not part of any park.
Getting to Wekiva Island
From downtown Orlando, you can get to this Central Florida Eden in about 30 minutes, where the Wekiva Island is located.
Get there early so you won’t have to wait in line for parking. Also, guests must have a valid ID to access the park. The park’s authority aims to add more beauty to the world as a green business and share the beauty of its location. You will be inspired, transformed, and stay with these values long after you leave this place.
What is there to do at Wekiva Island?
Enjoy The View
The scenic Wekiva River offers kayaking and paddleboarding, but some people prefer canoeing on Wekiva Island. It’s a great way to enjoy the beauty of nature and watch birds, fish, and perhaps even an alligator.
If you plan to stay on Wekiva Island for a full day, you can rent a boat for the day. You can also rent cabanas. The cabanas are located right on the river and come with an ice chest, cabinets, and plenty of seating. Taking a break from the sun and enjoying the river while watching others go by is a pleasant way to relax.
Chill Out On The Boardwalk
Nothing is better than spending an afternoon by the water soaking up the sun. The riverfront boardwalk is lined with many Adirondack chairs where you can relax. Dip in the refreshing river to cool off on a hot day.
Adirondack chairs and a relaxing day by the water are relaxing, but plenty of monthly events are held on Wekiva Island. Live music performances, wine events, and paint nights are all part of the fun.
Summer vacationers love Wekiva River’s comfortable temperature all year long. Kids can cool off after chasing each other about in the slow-moving river with a nice long dip. While teenagers may prefer to paddle to burn off extra energy, younger kids will enjoy racing each other with their floaties.
Jumping in and out of the river is why most are here! And, it’s necessary if you are spending a day here in the Florida sun. There are designated swimming areas along the river and boardwalk area for guests to enjoy.
Besides watersports, Wekiva Island has several land-based activities to offer. Try out a game of corn hole, or challenge your friends to a beach volleyball match. You can rent the beach volleyball court if you’ve got a large group. But keep in mind that you must make a reservation in advance.
Fishing and Boating
The Wekiva River has a variety of fish, so you can try fishing here. It is recommended that guests bring their bait and tackle. You can fish from your boat, kayak, canoe, or paddleboard.
Rentals at Wekiva Island
As mentioned, you can rent watercraft to enjoy the river, which is affordable.
Canoe or paddle boats
Boat Launch at Wekiva Island
While visiting Wekiva Island, you will feel like going back in time. There is abundant wildlife along the banks of rivers. In addition, the foliage and landscape are unique. Nothing is better than experiencing “Old Florida” in proximity to all the theme parks. There is a marina on Wekiva Island, and slips are available for rent.
There is also a ramp for launching small boats. The maximum horsepower allowed for vessels using the ramp is 25hp. This is a great place to start your day if you plan to explore the area.
Amennies at Wekiva Island
The Tooting Otter
There is no doubt that you will enjoy The Tooting Otter on Wekiva Island. The best thing about gathering on the river is drinking craft beer, wine, and other beverages. Featuring plenty of drinks, live music, and more, this indoor/outdoor bar has something for everyone. They are open from 7 pm to 11 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Happy Hour happens all week long from 5 to 7 p.m. with $1 off beer and wine!
Without a Paddle Cafe
You can grab a snack or a meal at the Without a Paddle Cafe food truck. The menu offers plenty of options, so everyone in your group can find something they like. During Cabana Feast, you can even enjoy the buffet. Splurge and try the lobster sandwich! It’s not your traditional open-faced lobster roll; it’s a fried lobster tail.
Wekiva Island hosts its Winter Wonderland event once a year in the winter, which includes a visit from Santa, a Christmas movie screening, story time with Mrs. Claus, and sleigh rides on the Wekiva River. You can also enjoy fake snow when the winter fest happens.
Take advantage of Wekiva Island’s official website to keep up with upcoming events and plan your trip accordingly. Visitors to the website can also view a super helpful real-time capacity meter to see how complete the island is before they arrive.
Where To Stay Close To Wekiva Island
The best place to stay is at Kings Landing. This way, you can explore Kings Landing and even paddle down to Wekiva Island from your cabin. Most importantly, if you stay at Kings Landing, your kayaks and canoes are included!
If you don’t want to rent a cabin in the area or go camping there, here are some other options close by:
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Where do you launch kayaks from Wekiva Island?
There is a state park called Wekiva Springs State Park one mile upstream from where the Wekiva River originates. The Rock Springs Run originates in Kelly Park, eight miles away from Rock Springs. Kayaks and canoes can be rented down the river. Wekiva Island is located at the confluence of these two rivers. It’s a great place to cool off during a hot day because of its refreshing, cool temperature and fresh water. Hundreds of people can be seen floating on rafts, swimming, and enjoying the river on a busy summer day. The Weeki Wachee River is perfect for renting kayaks, which can be used to see nature along the river.
Furthermore, you can picnic with your friends and share some time. Wekiva Island is a great place for you to relax and spend quality time. This is a great place to visit for anyone planning to explore Florida over the holidays.
Frequently Asked Questions About Wekiva Island
How early should I get to Wekiva Island?
Early morning is the best time to get to Wekiva Island. Each day, the park opens at 8 am and fills up quickly. Around 10 am on weekends, and the park begins rejecting people at the entrance due to overcrowding. So you must arrive before 8 am on the weekend.
How much does it cost to get into Wekiva Island?
The owners of Wekiva Island have kept the price very low. Wekiva Island charges $2 per person for admission. Arriving early is highly recommended during the summer because they reach the capacity level.
Can you fish at Wekiva Island?
Plenty of fish can be found throughout the river and other waterways. However, you cannot fish from the shoreline. You will need to take a boat, canoe, or fish from one of the bridges.
Are there alligators at Wekiva Island Florida?
Yes, there are allegators in the Wekiva river. There are, however, designated swimming areas. If you wish, you can swim on Wekiva Island.
Can you swim at Wekiva Island?
Yes, you can swim at Wekiva Island. Wekiva Island is located at the confluence of these two rivers. There are dedicated swimming areas for guests. So you can enjoy swimming with your family at Wekiva Island.
Who owns Wekiva Island?
Bill and Mary Weinaug are the owners of Wekiva Island.
How much is a canoe at Wekiva Island?
Two-person canoes cost $15 for two hours, while three-person canoes cost $22.50. A single kayak costs $7.50 for two hours.
There is no better place to enjoy Florida’s natural springs and rivers than Wekiva Island. You can rent kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards to explore the pristine Wekiva River and its fascinating Florida wildlife. Take a dip in the refreshing water or play volleyball or cornhole on our picturesque boardwalk. Furthermore, enjoy delicious foods, a drink at the bar, and many more events you should not miss.
Nikki Webster is a travel writer who covers how to travel while grinding a day job without breaking the bank. Nikki is always in search of off-the-beaten-track experiences and unique stays. She is particularly fond of Florida and writes extensively about the state. She flies around 60,000 miles per year and has visited 54 countries, 50 states, and six continents. You can read all about her travels at www.britonthemove.com or follow along on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.