When you think of Orlando, you might not think of Central Florida kayaking. With all of the wonderful theme parks and tourist attractions, it’s easy to forget the natural beauty that made Florida what it is before any of that existed. And while we absolutely adore theme parks, there’s something very magical about connecting with nature in your own backyard.
You know that we love exploring nature as a family. When we explore national parks, we love to hike and find new places in nature. But we all have a tendency to overlook nature that’s right in our own backyards! We happen to have some really beautiful waterways very close to our home and we’ve enjoyed kayaking them in the past.
So where can you find Central Florida kayaking?
Look no further than Wekiva Island! This hidden gem in Longwood has everything you need for the perfect Central Florida kayaking. This hotspot is a one-stop setting that has everything for a day on the water. Even if you aren’t kayaking, you can spend the day at Wekiva Island having a relaxing day in a beautiful Central Florida setting. It’s also a perfect spot for Florida homeschooling families who are looking to explore Florida’s ecosystems. So why should you visit Wekiva Island?
1. Wekiva Island is the perfect place to begin a Central Florida kayaking adventure.
When you aren’t an expert at kayaking or local waterways, it can be hard to know where to start, where to end, or where to turn around. It can all be pretty intimidating actually!
When you kayak, canoe, or paddle board at Wekiva Island, you’ll get set up with everything you need. Not only will Wekiva Island rent you gear, they’ll also give you instructions on where to go. This is so important because you really don’t want to get lost once you start out on the water!
Depending on how long you want to kayak, you can find different routes to take in the water. It’s an easy paddle to go upstream from Wekiva Island to Wekiwa Springs State Park. From there, you can paddle around the open water at the State Park, and then turn around and come back to Wekiva Island downstream. If you have kids with you for your Central Florida kayaking, it’s better to get the upstream paddle portion done first so that you can have an easier trip downstream.
If you’re looking for a longer trip on the water, you can journey down Rock Springs Run from Wekiva Island. You could kayak for hours and hours if you went this way. Be sure to bring water, life jackets, bug spray, and sunscreen, and you’ll be ready for Central Florida kayaking!
2. There’s an option for every budget at Wekiva Island.
There are a lot of different way to spend a day or an afternoon at Wekiva Island. When we visited, we were provided with a beautiful cabana to relax on the water. However, the price of admission is just $2 per person. So if you don’t need a cabana, and just want to relax by the water for a few hours, it’s an extremely reasonable option for families.
There’s sand volleyball, corn hole, and Adirondack chairs all available for use. Even if you never order any food or drinks (but good luck with that!), you can still jump in the water, play some volleyball and have a great day at a great price.
The water sports rental is also affordable, and can be more so depending on when you rent. Since you can fit several people in a canoe, this is a great option for families!
3. It’s a great place to celebrate!
As I mentioned before, we were hosted at a gorgeous patio cabana that could have easily fit many more people that just our family of 7. It would be perfect for a party and has a beautiful view of the Wekiva River.
And what party or get together would be complete without some delicious food? When you rent a cabana, you can bring in your own food. However, right on location at Wekiva Island, you will find Without a Paddle Cafe. This food truck features one of the largest varieties of vegetarian options I’ve ever seen for such that location size.
We tried the hot dogs, veggie chicken fingers, shrimp tacos, veggie burger, and fries. We all loved our meals and there wasn’t a bite left on the table when we were done. The service was fast and the food was hot. We enjoyed a perfect view of Central Florida kayaking while we enjoyed Without a Paddle Cafe meals.
4. Take in nature at Wekiva Island.
During our Central Florida kayaking, we saw a huge alligator, several birds, turtles, and fish! Even though we were in a watercraft, it was pretty jarring to see that huge gator coming right for my children’s kayaks. The gator we were watching even hunted and ate some prey while we were kayaking nearby. It was quite a lesson in nature for all of the kids! Talk about homeschool travel at it’s finest!
Wekiva Island has also been at work on completing the 2030 Challenge to reduce their carbon footprint on the environment. They are also implementing many initiative such as solar electric, solar hot water, rain water collection, and many more to help reduce their impact on Central Florida’s environment.
There are also many special events throughout the year, with a special emphasis on local artists during certain times. There’s even a homeschool program that would be the perfect addition to your child’s science curriculum! There’s always something new and different going on at Wekiva Island, so be sure to check their calendar for the latest.
We had a lovely afternoon at Wekiva Island. It can get pretty busy on the weekends, so be sure to go early, especially on Saturdays! And if you’re interested in booking a cabana, be sure to book early.
Central Florida kayaking is a wonderful adventure for families, especially so close to downtown Orlando. At Wekiva Island, you can get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and be completely surrounded by water and wildlife. Have fun!
*We were provided with a complimentary experience in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own.