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The Wekiwa Springs are located in Central Florida and are part of the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford area. For many centuries, these springs have served as a respite from the Florida heat. Every year, throughout the year, thousands of visitors enjoy the temperate waters and surrounding nature. The spring water is fresh, crystal clear, and perfectly potable, which in some ways makes it a superior swimming medium to the ocean and swimming pools. It's worth noting that there are no lifeguards on duty, which is also preferable as there are fewer restrictions. However, there are some restrictions that are important to keep in mind. This article will cover all the basics of visiting Wekiwa Springs.

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Origins Of Wekiwa Springs

The word 'Wekiwa' comes from the Creek-Seminole word for 'spring'. The Spring is located in Seminole County, which is a technically unincorporated, sparsely populated census-designated zone. Native Americans are said to have used the Springs as a source of drinking water and irrigation. The Springs were 'discovered' by settlers in the 1860s. The Clay family originally 'owned' the land where the Wekiwa Springs are located, and so they were initially named Clay Springs. After further consultation with the natives, the original name was uncovered, which led to much confusion in the Anglosphere as Wekiwa is pronounced with a soft 'w'. As a result, many older maps of central Florida include incorrect spellings of Wekiwa, often with 'b' or 'v' instead of 'w'.

Characteristics Of The Wekiwa Springs

The swimming area of the Wekiwa Springs stretches on for about half an acre (22,000 square feet). The average depth of the Spring is around four feet deep (1.2 m). As a result of the rather shallow depth and lack of currents, the Spring is relatively safe for older kids who cannot swim. Personal-use floatation devices are allowed and are encouraged for people who are shorter than four feet tall. Also, diving is strictly prohibited due to the shallow depth and rocky undersurface. There are no lifeguards, so visitors will have to practice caution without the help of an external authority.

Since the Spring originates underground, the water temperature is a stable 72F (22C) throughout the year, summer and winter. The Wekiwa Spring expels 43 million gallons (163 million liters) of crisp cool water a day, making it a second-magnitude spring.

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When To Visit Wekiwa Springs

Given that the water temperature is stable throughout the year and that the general climate in central Florida is balmy all year round, it is always a good time to visit. On rare occasions when the Florida temperature drops into the 60s, the Wekiwa Springs water will no doubt be a warming respite. At any time of the year, if swimming is not on the agenda, visitors can always throw a picnic blanket on the grassy plains around the Spring and enjoy a peaceful day in the sun.

Of course, by far the most popular time of the year to visit is the summer when crowds can get thick. In fact, on especially hot summers, the area can reach maximum capacity every single day, so visitors intending to go to Wekiwa Springs on hot days should get there early to ensure entry into the park.

Visiting The Wekiwa Springs

Visitors can access the Wekiwa Springs by entering the Wekiwa Springs State Park, which is a short drive from downtown Orlando. There is a small entrance fee to enter the park anytime between 8 AM and sunset. Visitors are allowed to camp inside the park in whichever way they want, under the stars or in a luxury RV. Most visitors, however, go for an afternoon, which is plenty of time to take it all in.

  • Address: 601 Ponce de Leon Blvd. De Leon Springs FL 32130. Florida State Parks
  • Hours: 8 AM - Sunset
  • Admission: $6 per vehicle, $4 for single occupancy vehicles, $2 for pedestrians and cyclists
  • Camping Fees: $24 a night, $5 for primitive camping

Apart from the Springs, the Park has a lot of other activities to partake in, from bird watching to kayaking to alligator hunting. Visitors will find hidden spots within the park with lush tropical hammocks, secluded picnic tables, and breathtaking views.

During the peak season in the summer, arrive at the park around 7:30 AM to avoid the afternoon rush. Make use of one of the barbeque pits and enjoy a relaxed breakfast on the water. When the temperature starts to rise, take periodic dips in the Spring to stay frosty. It's probably a good idea to bring a cooler with plenty of ice to keep the beers cold. Even though the central purpose of visiting the Wekiwa Springs is to cool off, don't forget that the Florida summer heat can be dangerous and that hydration is important.

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