Unleash Your Inner Adventurer: Paddleboarding in King’s Landing, Central Florida

Are shallow emerald waters with epic scenery your thing? 

King’s Landing, where leisurely swims and serene floats down Rock Spring Run await, calls to those seeking a rejuvenating paddle. As your launching point for adventure, it provides extended routes with boundless water to explore. Whichever path you choose, bask in the natural wonders of Florida’s beauty.

I have visited King’s Landing several times, once as a family of four and the other times with my husband. We initially gave it a try because of all the hype, and Ella Ran from Outsiders USA also shared how beautiful it was. We were not disappointed, and its beauty has kept us coming back. 

I’ll share route options for beginner, intermediate, and expert paddleboarders in this post. I will also suggest apps, gear, and the best times to visit. 

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Table of Contents

Where is King’s Landing?

King’s Landing is one of Central Florida’s most popular paddling locations. It is renowned for its crystal clear, cool waters along Rock Springs Run. 

It is located just: 

  • 30 minutes north of Orlando
  • 60 minutes west of Daytona Beach
  • 90 minutes Northeast of Tampa

The address is 5722 Baptist Camp Rd, Apopka, FL 32712 

Austin Stoner, Office Manager at King’s Landing, invites visitors “to be a part of the community. There is a lot of history here, and sharing it with folks from around the world is a blessing.”

View of Rock Springs Run at King's Landing in Apopka, Florida taken from a Bote inflatable paddleboard on a sunny Florida day.
And yes, the spring run is really this beautiful.

Is King’s Landing Good for Paddleboarders?


King’s Landing is a private launch point that gives you access to the Rock Spring Run. The springhead is not accessible to any boats, motorized or otherwise. The spring run flows to the Wekiva River. 

You can paddleboard against the current towards the spring head, then relax and let the current bring you back. Oh, and you can stop and swim along the way.

Navigating can get exciting, especially when there are a lot of paddlers on the run. You will have to navigate around kayaks, canoes, and other paddleboards. 

Rock Spring Run to the Emerald Cut is a great place to practice because you can see the bottom and various obstructions, such as submerged trees. 

They don’t let you choose your thumbnail. lol Watch as we paddle along the spring run.

Paddlers have a high chance of seeing: 

  • fish
  • otters
  • birds
  • turtles

Potential Cons


King’s Landing is very popular. People come from all over the world to paddle here, especially during the holidays and summer. So, if you want a peaceful and quiet paddle, you must time your visit accordingly. 


If you are doing the Emerald Cut, you are less likely to see alligators. But it’s Florida, and alligators are all over. 

However, if you decide to explore the Shuttle Run, the water is more tannin, and the likelihood of seeing gators goes up. It’s still beautiful and worth the paddle, but if you are nervous about gators, it’s good to know they are around. 

View of the Emerald Cut at King's Landing in Apopka, Florida with it's palms and cypresses in the Rock Spring Run.
The Emerald Cut at King’s Landing

Can You Rent Paddleboards at King’s Landing?

Yes, you can rent kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards at King’s Landing.

Not only do they provide rentals, but they also have tours that you can book.

If you already have a rental or tour company in mind, King’s Landing allows other rental companies to bring their clients on the run. That’s not always the case at paddling locations with their own rentals. 

My favorite rental and tour company is Outsiders USA in DeLand, FL. 

The best thing about renting from a company is having zero transport and setup responsibilities. You just show up and enjoy your day while the rental company handles everything else. Having a tour guide helps you learn a bit about the area, and you can get helpful tips if you are new to paddling. 

Ella Ran, co-ower at Outsiders USA, and Jessica Meinhofer, owner of Walk and Paddle, paddleboarding at Silver Springs State Park in Silver Springs, Florida.
Ella and I at Silver Springs State Park.

King’s Landing Launch Details

There’s one launch point for King’s Landing, and it is soft on the feet and boards.

The setup at King’s Landing is relatively simple. There are always attendants everywhere to help you and answer any questions. Remember that it may be a bit more hectic if you go during their busy times. 

They allow you to drive up, drop off your boards, and park. This way, you don’t have to haul all your gear. 

If you are renting, whoever you are renting from will have everything set up. So you’ll park in the designated area and then go inside the information office, and they will help you get started. Contact your rental company directly for specific instructions and information. 


  • There are bathrooms, trash cans, and a shop in case you need anything.
  • It’s specifically for canoe, kayak, and paddleboard launches.
  • You have to make reservations so you will have a spot.


  • You have to pay, even if you bring your own paddleboard. 
  • The park can get very busy – it’s a favorite with locals and tourists.
  • You have to make a reservation, even if you bring your own vessel. 
Evolve Paddleboard and Bote iSUP at the sandy and shady launch point at King's Landing in Apopka, Florida.
Your feet and boards are safe at this launch point. The bottom is soft and sandy.

Easy and Beginner Paddling Route: Emerald Cut

The Emerald Cut is the shortest and easiest route available. It’s little effort, mega results! 

It’s not a loop but an out-and-back trail approximately 2 miles long.

Emerald Cut Route

Paddle from the launch and turn right when it intersects Rock Springs Run. There is a sign at the intersection that’s helpful. 

You’ll paddle along this route until you reach a barrier and sign telling you to turn around. Then you’ll be able to coast back, just steer and enjoy. The current will easily bring you back to where you started. 

You won’t get lost here, and there are plenty of places to stop to grab a snack, a sip of water, or even a swim. I recommend taking your time. It’s a short paddle, and you’ll have plenty of time to play, rest, and take photos. 

The depth varies from very shallow to around 5 feet. 

Map of the out and back paddle route of the Emerald Cut at King's Landing in Apopka, Florida.

Intermediate Paddle Route: Wild Florida

If you want a longer and slightly more challenging paddle, combine Wild Florida and the Emerald Cut.

Launch your board and follow the King’s Landing canal until it reaches Rock Springs Run. Then turn left.  You’ll be paddling with the current. 

Continue downstream, enjoying wildlife along the lush hammock. The water here will be far darker, and you will not be able to see the bottom. 

Travel one mile and turn around when you reach two buoys that say, “Turn Around.” 

Paddle back upstream against the current past the launch area. You’ll see signs pointing to the Emerald Cut. 

Enjoy the clear flowing waters of the spring run and follow it one mile to the turnaround point. 

Then, coast back with the current to the launch point. 

Map of the Wild Florida paddle route on Rock Springs Run at King's Landing, Apopka, Florida.
Click the image for an interactive version of the map.

Expert Paddle Routes at King’s Landing

There are a few route options for paddlers looking for a challenging paddle. The main way is to combine various paddles and increase your mileage. 

Shuttle Run

Stoner said, “Many people downplay the full trip that we call the ‘Shuttle Run.’ I love our Emerald Cut (the short scenic trip), but in my opinion, the experience on the Shuttle is way more immersive, but it is only for those looking to get deeper into nature.”

It’s 8.5 miles long and takes around 4.5 hours to complete. The shuttle run forms “the boundary between the 7,000 acre Wekiwa Springs State Park to the West and the 14,000 acre Rock Springs Run State Preserve to the North and East,” per James Steele, owner of the Florida Paddle Notes website.

Launch from King’s Landing to Wekiva Island, then ride the shuttle back. The shuttle only runs once a day at 3:30 pm, so you have to watch your time. Of course, they won’t leave you stranded, but you must pay an additional fee. Check out their website for details

There’s nowhere to stop and rest, and you can’t see the bottom. And, of course, gators. While we didn’t see any the last time we were there, it doesn’t mean that they didn’t see us. 

A map of Rock Springs Run going from Kelly Park all the way to Wekiva Island (AKA the Shuttle Run) in Apopka, Florida.
Shoutout and thanks to James Steele from Florida Paddle Notes.

Shuttle Run + Emerald Cut

Paddlers can combine the Shuttle Run and the Emerald cut for a 10.5-mile paddle. If you choose this route, launch by 8:30 am. That way, you have enough time to do both and not miss the shuttle back from Wekiva Island. 

Other Route Combos

If you are looking for even more miles of paddling, you can research other routes and rivers in the area. King’s Landing shared this amazing brochure and map about the Wekiva River and connected waterways. 

Jessica Meinhofer, owner of Walk and Paddle, faces away from the camera while standing on her Evolve Paddleboard riding the current on the Emerald Cut at King's Landing in Apopka, Florida.

Best Apps for Paddleboarding King’s Landing

Several factors impact paddling, and using apps can help you plan your paddle at King’s Landing. Below, I’ve outlined some of my preferred apps, and yes, the list is short because you really don’t need that many.

Weather App

I find the iPhone Weather App and My Radar App reliable. First, I check the temperature, then the radar for a weather overview before my paddle. 

Other paddleboarders suggest the WeatherBug app, which has live radar, humidity, air quality, lightning maps, highs and lows, and wind information. 

Whatever app you decide on, always check the weather before your paddle.

Launch Point Research App

The Go Paddling app is an excellent resource for researching launch locations. It shows launch points worldwide with photos and amenity descriptions. 

Users can share their experiences about the launches, but the information sometimes needs to be updated. I recommend verifying the information before heading out. 

GPS Tracker

I like the Strave app because it records your GPS routes on a map. 

The King’s Landing area is straightforward, but there are a few off-shoots from Rock Spring Run. It’s possible to take a wrong turn if you’re not careful. The area changes a lot, too, with new channels and lost sandbars, to name a few. 

The app lets you track your paddles, connect with friends, and share your activities.

Wind App

Although Rock Spring Run is mainly sheltered from winds, a combination of windy conditions and a swift current can affect your paddle. We’ve paddled here on semi-windy days, and although we loved it and had a great time, there was a notable difference between going on a windy and not-windy day. 

I recommend using Windy. It is more than just a cute app name; it provides accurate wind speed and direction data wherever you are.

Understanding the wind conditions is necessary whether you are paddling on a lake, river, tidal waters, or the ocean

Windy App graphic showing an example of what users of the app can expect to see.

Gear for Paddling King’s Landing

Sun Protection

Rock Spring Run at King’s Landing has shade here and there, but other areas are completely exposed. I recommend having gear with you to keep you protected. 


A hat will help protect your face from the sun. I recommend a snug-fitting baseball cap or a wide-brim hat with a strap so you don’t lose it during your paddle.


I recommend polarized sunglasses that reduce glare. Don’t forget to get a strap to prevent them from being lost. I lost my favorite pair here, and I felt terrible—polluting and emotionally painful!

Rash guard

A rash guard is a great way to protect your skin from the effects of wind and sun. I recommend a long-sleeved version with thumb holes. 

These are also great for swimming, or you can simply wear your bathing suit underneath and take it off when you decide to take a dip. Remember to wear sunblock under your rashguard if you plan to remove it. 

Arm Sleeves

You can skip the rash guard and choose arm sleeves as well. Pair them with a short-sleeved shirt so you can remove them if you find yourself in the shade.

Jessica Meinhofer, owner of Walk and Paddle, smiling at the camera paddling the Emerald Cut at King's Landing in Apopka, Florida.
Wearing my sun protection. Except for polarized sunglasses, these are my backups!


Keep your skin from burning with reef-safe and waterproof sunblock. Applying sunblock is especially important if you skip the rash guard or plan to take it off for a swim. 


Fill your favorite reusable bottle with fresh water and bring it along. I like to add electrolytes to my water to make it taste better and avoid muscle cramps


No way around it: your feet will get wet. Even if only during launch.

Water shoes are a good choice if you don’t want to ruin your other shoes. They are made to protect the soles of your feet and are not affected by wet-dry cycles.

Safety Gear For Paddleboarding

Paddleboards are classified as vessels by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG). In Florida, having a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) and a whistle on your paddleboard is legally required unless you are within a designated swimming area. 

Children under the age of 6 are required to wear a PFD while paddleboarding. I recommend all paddlers, regardless of age, wear PFDs whenever possible.

USCG regulations specify the necessity of a “sound-producing device,” with a whistle being the simplest and most cost-effective choice. Whistles are compact, reasonably priced, and easily attach to your PFD or body.

For detailed legal requirements in Florida, refer to the information provided by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Robert Meinhofer, husband of Jessica, smiling and relaxing on his Bote iSUP at Rock Spring Run at King's Landing Emerald Cut, Apopka, Florida.
Robert wearing his whistle. The PFD is safely stowed since it’s only 3 feet deep here.

Best Times to Paddleboard King’s Landing

Visit the King’s Landing website before you head out. The site will have the most current information on closures, warnings, and other things you need to know before you go. 

Always call or email if you have any questions before you arrive and review their rules, FAQ, and details about your experience (Shuttle Run, Day Paddle, or Bring Your Own). 


King’s Landing is a good paddle unless it’s windy, stormy, or extreme temperatures like peak summer or peak winter. Avoiding bad weather is a basic rule when you are on the water.


I recommend looking up King’s Landing Florida on Google, checking their busiest times, and avoiding those if possible.

Wednesday is their least busy day; the earlier you go, the less busy it is. If you bring your own board, you can stay until 4:30 pm. 

You do have to make reservations, but you can easily make them online. If you can’t make it, just email them and reschedule. I recommend paying and signing your waivers online. However, if you aren’t sure you will make it out on the day you have reserved, I would wait until the morning to do the payment and waiver so you can easily reschedule. 

Robert Meinhofer and his daughter share a paddleboard on Rock Springs Run Emerald Cut at King's Landing, Apopka, Florida.
A sweet photo from our King’s Landing visit with the kids.


There are no tides to worry about at King’s Landing, just the current, and it’s not too bad unless you really push yourself. 


King’s Landing is open seven days a week, rain (not stormy) or shine. They post specific closed days like Christmas or Thanksgiving and update their site based on hurricanes and other extreme weather. To make super sure, call or email.  

Florida can get extremely hot in summer. You can swim in the Rock Spring Run at King’s Landing, and I highly recommend it! Also, afternoon storms in the summer are common, so you’ll want to check the forecast and avoid those afternoons.

You can paddle during Florida’s mild winter, but you’ll need gear to keep you warm.

Enjoy your paddle!

Jessica Meinhofer, owner of Walk and Paddle, faces away from the camera while standing on her Evolve Paddleboard on Rock Spring Run, the Emerald Cut, at King's Landing, Apopka, Florida.
Don’t forget to pin me!

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