Weeki Wachee Kayaking – Best Place to Kayak in Florida

weeki wachee kayaking
Weeki Wachee River Kayaking / Photo Credit: Lauren R. Gay

A Weeki Wachee kayaking adventure is one of the best ways to spend a day outside enjoying nature in Florida. There’s no better feeling than cruising down a shimmering crystal clear river with bright turquoise jeweled colored waters.

Here is everything you need to know to plan your day of kayaking on the Weeki Wachee River in Weeki Wachee State Park.

weeki wachee kayaking

Where to Launch Your Kayak on the Weeki Wachee River

There are a few kayak outfitters and a couple of different places you can launch for a day of Weeki Wachee kayaking.

The most common spot to launch is within Weeki Wachee Springs State park near the spring head. There are currently 2 kayak companies that are permitted to launch from the state park: Weeki Freshwater Adventures and Weeki Wachee Kayaking.

Your choice will really depend on how long you want your trip to be and how comfortable you are paddling upstream against the current. Some reviews online people say paddling upstream is fairly easy even for beginners.

I’ve paddled this river over 10 times now and paddling upstream is difficult and strenuous. If you are a novice or not in great shape, I don’t recommend you attempt to paddle upstream.

weeki wachee kayaking

What To Expect On the River

The Weeki Wachee River takes my breath away every single time I see it. The river’s name literally means “winding river” translated from its Seminole Indian name. It starts at the head springs, which is a first magnitude spring pumping 67 million gallons of fresh spring water everyday, and then twists and turns all the way out to the Gulf of Mexico.  

I love this spring-fed river because its turquoise and aquamarine waters are just so hypnotizing.   The white sandy bottom and crystal clear water provides for optimum visibility of all of the fish and wildlife swimming beneath you.

Be warned, the secret is out on what a beautiful river this is. It can get pretty crowded during peak times like weekends with not only other paddlers but people in boats with motors.

To experience the river at its most beautiful and peaceful time, a weekday or an early morning time is the best.

weeki wachee kayaking

What Wildlife Can You See

The river is teeming with fish and turtles. Those are the most common sightings. If you’re lucky you could spot a deer along the banks or encounter a manatee swimming in the river. Once I even saw a river otter!

There could also be water moccasins, alligators, bees, and spiders so be mindful if you pull your kayak over to take a break.

Weeki Wachee Kayaking Rental Options

Weeki Freshwater Adventures:
Launch location: Weeki Wachee Springs State Park
Length of rental: 2 hours (2.8 miles)
Cost: $32 single/ $48 tandem/ $32 SUP
Shuttle pick up: Yes

Weeki Wachee Kayaking:
Launch location: Weeki Wachee Springs State Park
Length of rental: 3 hours / (6 miles one way )
Cost: $40 single / $50 tandem
Shuttle pick up: Yes

Launch location: private dock downstream
Length of rental: Your discretion but you have to paddle upstream
Cost: $35 single /$40 tandem
Shuttle pick up: No

Kayak Shack:
Launch location: Kayak Shack dock downstream
Length of rental: 5 hours; must launch before noon
Cost: $35 single / $40 tandem / $35 SUP
Shuttle pick up: No

Java and Ashli having girl talk on the river

Nicole is all smiles on the Adventure Is A Lifestyle Group Trip

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is Weeki Wachee open for kayaking? Yes, the river is open for kayaking. There are several outfitters to rent from.
  • How much does it cost to for a Weeki Wachee kayaking trip? Prices range from $32 to $50.
  • Are there alligators in Weeki Wachee River? Yes, there may be but they are typically in the marsh or the shoreline and rarely in the river where you are paddling.
  • How cold is water in Weeki Wachee? 72 – 74 degrees Fahrenheit year round
  • Can you swim in the Weeki Wachee river? Swimming is prohibited within the state park boundaries. It is marked along the route where you are still in the state park. You can swim outside the state park boundaries.
  • Is alcohol allowed? Alcohol is prohibited. Food and drink is allowed but it must be in reusable containers. Disposable items are not permitted.
  • Is the Weeki Wachee River good for beginner paddlers? Yes, if you are doing a one-way downstream trip. The current gently pushes you without much work. There aren’t a lot of things to maneuver in the water making for a smooth paddle.

Tips for Your Weeki Wachee Kayaking Adventure

If you are thinking of planning your own outdoorsy kayak adventure here are some of the things you’ll need:

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  • Insect repellant
  • Water shoes
  • Kayak gloves
  • Dry box or dry bag (keep your phone and keys safe)
  • Waterproof camera
  • Snorkel gear
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
  • Swimwear or clothes that dry easily
  • Sunglasses
  • Don’t forget to pack water and a small cooler for lunch.
  • Mask

Is It Safe to Kayak During the Pandemic?

As we all know, we are still in the midst of the pandemic and many are still trying to be cautious and stay safe. Kayaking is an outdoor activity that can be done with relative safety.

Paddlers can opt for a single kayak and the nature of the sport will allow you to have more than enough distance between you and others on the river. Most outfitters have a sanitization process posted on their website, however, you should call and ask prior to booking to be sure you are comfortable. You can also bring your own sanitizing supplies to wipe down your oar and spray your life jacket.

You should wear your mask when interacting with staff at check in and in the shuttle when you are picked up.

As with everything we do now, there are inherent risks and it is completely up to you and your level of comfort if you’re ready to embark on an adventure like this.

weeki wachee kayaking

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Tia
    October 10, 2015 at 3:43 am

    This looks like a great adventure, I wish I could have gone with the group. The water is absolutely amazing how crystal clear it is. Thanks for sharing all of your tips with us.

  • Reply
    Lisa
    October 13, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    I love Weeki Wachee – it’s my favorite place to go paddle boarding! The water is SO clear and nice.

  • Reply
    Beth Deyo
    September 3, 2019 at 9:06 pm

    This looks like an amazing adventure! Will definitely need to take the drive from Bradenton and check this out. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Lauren
      September 3, 2019 at 9:16 pm

      Thank you for reading. The earlier you go the less crowded it will be.

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