There are waterparks and there are water parks. What’s the difference, you ask? Well, to a Central Floridian, the differences are enormous. Orlando may be the theme park capital of the world, but the best spots for water babies are entirely natural. These are the best natural springs for wild swimming in Florida.
Florida has more springs than any other state, and some of the best ones are just a short drive east on Interstate 4 from Orlando. One of the most popular for locals is Wekiwa Springs State Park. At the headwaters of the Wekiva River, you can hike, horseback ride, canoe and kayak, or take a dip in the refreshing springs, which (despite the sometimes-scorching Florida heat) stay between 20 – 22 degrees Celsius.
A recent addition along the Wekiva River is the somewhat unexpected oasis of Adirondack chairs, “river-banas”, a volleyball net, and free-flowing beer along the shore at Wekiva Island. Arrive by land (entrance is less than two miles away from the State Park) or rent a kayak or canoe at Wekiwa Springs and stop on your way down the river. Weekends promise a lively, but relaxed crowd, so be sure to rent your river-bana early.