Your Guide to the Best Paddleboarding Locations in Central Florida

Central Florida has countless paddleboarding locations; how can you pick just one? 

Don’t worry—I’m going to help you narrow down the list! Whether you are new to the area or a local, I’ve got a fantastic list of places to paddle that are good for all skill levels and abilities. There’s something for everyone, from beach-like splendor to emerald waters meandering through lush forests. The best part is that all of them are less than two hours from Orlando!

Shout out to Ella Ran, avid paddleboarder and co-owner of Outsiders USA in DeLand, Florida, for introducing me to the best spots in Central Florida!

I have been to most of these locations, and the ones I haven’t gone to yet, you get to see the research I do before I paddle somewhere! I’ll reference these when it’s time to add these paddles to my calendar. 

Grab your boards, and let’s get paddling!

Silver Glen Springs Recreation Area

Silver Glen Springs is more than just gorgeous waters. It’s also an archaeological site! The spring forms a semi-circular pool 200 feet north to south and 175 feet east to west, with two cavern openings. This place is a slice of history, and the pristine, first-magnitude spring offers some of the most transparent water you’ll ever see.

It’s high on my list of places to go!

Where Is Silver Glen Springs Located?

Silver Glen Springs is in the Ocala National Forest and is excellent for a day visit from in and around central Florida. It’s just 1.5 hours north of Orlando and an hour west of Daytona Beach.

The address is 5271 N Highway 19, Fort McCoy, FL 32134. 

Just remember, there’s a $13 per person admission fee. If that seems out of your budget and you plan to visit the area often, consider the annual Ocala National Forest Springs Hopper Pass for $75 (or $80, depending on where you look) per person. Call for the best information: (352) 685-2799.

How Long Is the Paddle at Silver Glen Springs?

It’s a short 0.5-mile paddle along the spring run from the spring to Lake George, perfect for a quick paddle with stunning views. 

The water is always a refreshing 72 degrees, and the swim area is sectioned off for safety, so boats and paddleboards are not allowed there.

How’s the Launch Point at Silver Glen?

Pay the day-use fee at the entrance, then launch at the head spring. Heads up—it’s a bit of a walk from the parking lot to the launch point, so pack light. 

Can I Rent Paddleboards at Silver Glen?

Unfortunately, paddleboards aren’t available for rent on-site, but you can get kayaks and canoes. 

Check out Outsiders USA for paddleboards—they also offer guided tours if you want expert help.

Why Is It a Good Paddling Location?

Silver Glen Springs is a local favorite for solid reasons:

  • Crystal-Clear Water: Perfect for snorkeling and swimming.
  • Sandy Bottom: Comfortable for wading and lounging.
  • Manatees in Winter: A magical experience!
  • Fewer Gators: Near the spring, at least.

Things to Keep in Mind

Alexander Springs

Alexander Springs Recreation Area in the Ocala National Forest is a great place to visit, no matter the season. Picture a clear, turquoise swimming area with a constant 72°F temperature and a soft, sandy bottom. It’s like nature’s perfect pool!

Looking for everything else you can do at Alexander Springs after paddling? Check out my detailed guide to Alexander Springs here

Where Is Alexander Springs Located?

Alexander Springs is in the Ocala National Forest, between Astor and Altoona in Lake County. It’s just 60 minutes from Orlando and Daytona Beach, making it a super convenient getaway. 

We haven’t paddled Alexander Springs yet, but we have definitely seen plenty of paddleboarders exploring the area. It’s on our list of places to visit. 

The address is 49525 CR 445, Altoona, Florida 32702.

How Long Is the Paddling Route at Alexander Springs?

How long do you want to paddle? You have options:

  • Short Paddle: 2 to 2.5 miles out and back from the spring to the bridge.
  • Longer Journey: Paddle 6.5 miles along Alexander Creek for more adventure.

For detailed paddle routes, check out PaddleFlorida.net. It’s packed with info! 

How’s the Launch Point at Alexander Springs State Park?

Inside the Park

Pay the entry fee ($13 per person) and launch from the left of the roped-off swim area. You’ll need to carry your gear from the parking lot, but you’ll be close to the spring source. 

When you’re done paddling, just anchor your boards and jump in for a swim!

Outside the Park

There is a free launch at the CR 445-A bridge, ½ miles before the main entrance (GPS 29.08070, -81.56785). There is a parking area here. 

If you decide to stop and swim, you’ll need to pay at Alexander Springs. Also, no shuttle service means you must paddle back or plan accordingly. 

The swim area at Alexander Springs with a view of the ropes and buoys that separate it from the paddling area.
apasciuto, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Can I Rent Boards at Alexander Springs?

Don’t have your own gear? No problem! The concessionaire offers rentals:

  • Paddleboards: 9 available, $25 for 2 hours, $45 for 6 hours.
  • Canoes: 2 available.
  • Kayaks: 8 single and 13 tandem kayaks.

They’re first come, first served, so call 352-660-3522 for the latest info.

Why Is It a Good Paddling Location?

Alexander Springs offers idyllic short routes, making it perfect for a quick paddle with stunning views. 

If you want to cool off, anchor your boards and dive into the clear water for a refreshing swim. 

Even if the park has reached capacity, you can still enjoy paddling by launching from outside the park, ensuring accessibility. 

Plus, only non-motorized boats are allowed, keeping the environment peaceful and serene.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Busy Times: Weekends, holidays, and summer days are always crowded. The park closes when it reaches capacity. On weekends from Memorial Day to Labor Day, reservations are required, which costs $20 in addition to the per-person fee.
  • No Dogs Allowed: Leave them at home.
  • Wildlife: Alligators are likely, so stay alert.

King’s Landing – Emerald Cut

Let me tell you about one of my favorite paddling spots: King’s Landing and the stunning Emerald Cut. It got its name for a reason—the water is shallow, crisp, 72°F, crystal-clear emerald water, with a sandy bottom. Simply magical!

The emerald cut is one of our favorites when it comes to swimming and playing on the water. 

Check out my detailed post about King’s Landing and the Emerald Cut, including route options and tips. 

The Emerald Cut portion of Rock Spring Run in Apopka, Florida lined with lush green trees.
I don’t know about you, but that water calls to me every time I see it!

Where Is King’s Landing – Emerald Cut Located?

First, I need to clarify something. King’s Landing is the privately owned launch point that leads paddlers onto the Emerald Cut. The Emerald Cut is part of the Rock Spring Run, but you can’t paddle to the springhead. 

The address for King’s Landing is 5722 Baptist Camp Road, Apopka, FL 32712. It’s only 30 minutes north of Orlando and 60 minutes west of Daytona Beach. It’s a short drive for such an amazing place.

How Long is the Paddle from King’s Landing?

You’ve got two great options. Are you feeling ambitious? You can do both!

The Emerald Cut

The emerald cut is the shorter route, 2 miles out and back. It has clear, shallow water and fewer alligators. It’s part of Rock Springs Run and is perfect for paddling and swimming.

Wekiva Island

For the more experienced paddler, this is an 8.5-mile journey. It’s more challenging but a fantastic adventure if you’re up for it. You can also opt for a tour if you want some guidance.

How’s the Launch Point at King’s Landing?

Launching here is a breeze. The area has soft sand, but it’s narrow, so it can get congested if many people are launching or finishing at the same time. 

Remember, you need to pay even if you bring your own board:

  • Emerald cut: $10 for ages 13 and over, $5 for 12 and under
  • Wekiva Island and shuttle: $30 for ages 13 and over, $25 for 12 and under. Only hard boards are allowed.
The Meinhofers posing for a family photo while paddling and swimming on the Emerald Cut in Apopka, Florida.
Definitely a place for family fun!

Can I Rent Boards from King’s Landing?

Absolutely! They have inflatable stand-up paddleboards (iSUPs) for a four-hour rental, which includes all safety gear. However, for the Wekiva Island paddle, only kayaks and canoes are available for rent.

They also allow other rental companies to bring folks and launch. 

Why Is It a Good Paddling Location?

You’ll find plenty of folks paddling, so help is nearby if you need it. There are many novices, so you won’t feel out of place if you’re new to paddling. If you bring your own gear, you can stay all day and enjoy the water until 4:30 PM.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Popularity: It’s a very popular spot and can get busy. Mid-week mornings are the best time to avoid crowds.
  • No Dogs: Leave your doggy friends at home.
  • Reservations Required: You need to book in advance, and it fills up quickly.
  • Wildlife: If you paddle to Wekiva Island, the water is darker and there’s lots of wildlife, including alligators.

Disappearing Island

This one is for the beach lovers! Have you ever dreamed of finding your very own secret island? Well, Disappearing Island might be the closest you’ll get! This sandbar looks like a tropical paradise, and when you time it right, it feels like your private getaway.

It is our favorite beach paddle, hands down. 

A woman in a small natural pool during low tide at Disappearing Island at Ponce Inlet, Florida.
I love spending time just soaking in this refreshing water!

Where Is Disappearing Island Located?

Disappearing Island is positioned inland from the Ponce Inlet Jetties near New Smyrna Beach. You can find it in the Halifax River, close to Ponce Inlet and the Indian River. 

It’s just 30 minutes south of Daytona Beach and about 80 minutes from Orlando. Perfect for a day trip!

Here are the coordinates: 29.074742, -80.931316. 

How Long Is the Paddle to Disappearing Island?

The beauty of paddling to Disappearing Island is that you can choose how long or short your journey is:

  • Shortest Route: Launch from the Ponce Inlet lighthouse area, only 1,000 feet away.
  • Swoop Site Boat Ramp: Just over a mile.
  • Callalisa Creek Park: About 2 miles.
  • North Causeway Boat Ramp: A 4-mile one-way trip.
  • Port Orange Causeway Park: A 6-mile one-way adventure.

How’s the Launch Point?

There are several launch locations, depending on what you need and how long of a paddle you would like. Volusia County residents have free parking available. Apply here.

Ponce Inlet Lighthouse

There is a free boat ramp with a slippery surface. Definitely wear water shoes with grip! There’s a flush toilet across the street.

Swoop Site Boat Ramp

Bathrooms are available, and there are two ramps. There is a $10 fee.

Callalisa Creek Park

It is free to use but has no facilities. It is only for non-motorized and small motorboats. The bottom is mostly soft, with occasional oyster shells. 

North Causeway Boat Ramp

Typical boat ramp with bathrooms. There is a $10 fee.

Can I Rent Boards?

There is no rental company on Disappearing Island. If you don’t have a paddleboard, rent one from a touring company like Ella and Renee at Outsiders USA. They can also guide you to the island if you prefer.

Robert and Jessica Meinhofer taking a selfie on one of the sandbars at Disappearing Island.
We had this whole island to ourselves!

Why Is It a Good Paddling Location?

I’ll start with the stunning views. The waters look like those of a tropical island, and the fresh, cool water is so inviting, even at low tide. 

You are likely to see dolphins, manatees, and even jellyfish. For those nervous about paddling with alligators, it is doubtful that you would see any out at Disappearing Island. 

There are plenty of spots to relax, swim, and enjoy the day in and around Disappearing Island. It’s only reachable by water, so it feels extra special. 

And one of my favorite reasons to go anywhere is that it’s absolutely free! 

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Motorized Boats: You’ll share the water with them.
  • Wildlife: Be aware of sharks and jellyfish.
  • Tidal Conditions: They can affect your trip, so plan accordingly.
  • Weather: It can get windy.
  • Crowds: Expect a party atmosphere during peak times (weekends and holidays).
  • No Amenities: There are no bathrooms or trash cans on the island, so pack accordingly and leave no trace.

Blue Spring State Park

While Blue Spring State Park is famous for being a winter manatee sanctuary, did you know it’s also an incredible paddling destination? Let’s dive into what makes it so unique.

The Walk and Paddle crew paddleboarding with friends at The Lagoon at Blue Spring State Park in Orange City, Florida on a bright and sunny warm day in May.
A day with friends at The Lagoon at Blue Spring State Park

Where Is Blue Spring Located?

Blue Spring State Park is just 45 minutes north of Orlando and 40 minutes west of Daytona Beach. Its address is 2100 W. French Ave, Orange City, FL 32763. It is not to be confused with Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park in North Florida. 

It’s beautiful, tranquil, and ready to be explored! One of the most relaxing paddles we have done. 

How Long is the Paddle at Blue Spring State Park?

While the Blue Spring Run is closed until April 2025 for restoration, plenty of alternative routes are available. 

You can paddle in The Lagoon, St. Johns River, Snake Creek Cutoff, Starks Cutoff, and beyond. Routes can vary from as short as 1-mile round trip to as long as 10 miles, offering something for every paddler. For more information, check out detailed alternative routes here

How’s the Launch Point for Blue Spring State Park?

You have two launch options, both offering sandy launches onto the picturesque St. Johns River:

  • French Landing: Free to use, and you can pull your vehicle right up to the launch point for easy access.
  • Inside the Park: You’ll need to walk from the parking area to the launch point with all your gear. It’s near the dock and launch for motorized boats, offering a scenic start to your paddle adventure.
The Lagoon at Blue Spring State Park on a sunny day as seen from an Evolve Good Buddy paddleboard.
The Lagoon is so pretty and tranquil.

Can I Rent Boards?

Absolutely! Blue Spring Adventures (833-953-2583) offers rentals, including paddleboards, canoes, and kayaks. They’re located inside the park. There are no rentals at French Landing.  

Of course, you can launch your own boards from either location.

Why Is It a Good Paddling Location?

It’s a short and uncomplicated paddle, perfect for beginners or anyone looking for a relaxed outing. Plus, there’s an excellent chance you’ll spot manatees throughout the year! 

Even though the spring run is closed until April 2025, you can still glimpse these gentle giants in The Lagoon. And here’s the best part: no motorized boats are allowed in the Blue Spring Run or The Lagoon, ensuring a peaceful and serene paddling experience.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Wildlife: The paddle begins on the St. Johns River, where alligators and motorized boats are common, so stay alert.
  • Swimming and Anchoring: Swimming and anchoring are prohibited in certain areas, so check before you do.
  • Peak Times: Expect crowds during weekends, holidays, and summer months.
  • Winter Closure: Blue Spring Run is closed during winter months due to the large gathering of manatees seeking warmth.

Rainbow River

Let me tell you about Rainbow River, a place high on our must-visit list. This stunning river is fed by the many bubbling vents in Rainbow Springs State Park, making it Florida’s 4th-largest spring. It’s an aquatic wonderland with incredible clarity and around 400 million gallons of water flowing daily. 

The entire river is an aquatic preserve, and there’s evidence that people have lived there for 10,000 years. 

Where Is Rainbow Springs State Park Located?

Rainbow Springs State Park is at 19158 S.W. 81st Place Road, Dunnellon, FL 34432. It’s about 90 minutes west of Orlando, 2.5 hours west of Daytona Beach, and just west of Ocala. Perfect for a day trip or a weekend adventure!

How Long Is the Paddle?

It’s 1.5 miles out and back from KP Hole to Rainbow Springs State Park. You’ll start paddling against the current, but then you can ride it back.  

You can also paddle from KP Hole downstream to Blue Run for 4 miles with the current. When you reach the area, you can swim and snorkel. 

There are also plenty of side streams, so if you want to explore them, check out PaddleFlorida.net for detailed paddle routes and information. 

How’s the Launch Point?

When it comes to launching your paddleboard at Rainbow River, you have two great options, both with a small fee. 

The first is KP Hole County Park, located at 9435 SW 190th Avenue Rd, Dunnellon Park, FL 34432. It costs $7 per person and offers amenities like restrooms and concessions, making it a convenient choice for a day on the water.

Alternatively, you can launch from Rainbow Springs State Park at 19158 SW 81st Place Rd, Dunnellon Park, FL 34432. This option is only $2 per person for a day-use fee. Keep in mind that you’ll need to walk about 1,800 feet from the parking lot to the launch with all your gear. 

The swimming area at Rainbow Springs State Park with park goers enjoying the day.
By Sphanyx – Own work by the original uploader, CC BY-SA 3.0

Can I Rent Boards?

Yes, several companies rent them out. Here are a few:

Why Is It a Good Paddling Location?

One of the best things about paddling on the Rainbow River is the clear waters and abundant wildlife. As you paddle, look for otters playing in the water, fish darting beneath your board, and birds soaring overhead. The crystal-clear water gives you an unobstructed view of the vibrant underwater world, making it a paddler’s paradise.

There is plenty of all-day enjoyment, from KP Hole to Rainbow Springs State Park or Blue Run. At the state park, you can get out with your board and explore the park (for an extra fee). At Blue Run, you can swim and explore, making it the perfect all-day adventure. Whether paddling, swimming, or just soaking in the natural beauty, Rainbow River offers a full day of fun and relaxation.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Busy Times: It gets super busy on weekends and during the summer, and it closes when it reaches capacity.
  • Popular Spot: People love tubing here, so watch for tubers.
  • Motorized Boats: Allowed but limited to idle speed/no wake zones.

Spruce Creek/Strickland Bay

Strickland Bay is part of the lush Doris Leeper Spruce Creek Preserve, which spans over 2,500 acres. Named after Doris Leeper, an acclaimed Florida visual artist and pioneering conservationist, this area offers thousands of acres of parks and public lands for us to enjoy.

Where Is Spruce Creek Located?

Spruce Creek is just 60 minutes northeast of Orlando in Port Orange and 20 minutes south of Daytona Beach. It’s west of the Halifax River and the Atlantic Ocean. 

The preserve has five entrances and stretches across New Smyrna Beach and Port Orange. You can start your adventure at Spruce Creek Park, located at 6250 S Ridgewood Ave, Port Orange, FL 32127.

How Long Is the Paddle?

Thanks to miles of waterways to explore, the paddle length at Spruce Creek can be as long or as short as you want it to be. You can stay at Spruce Creek or venture into Strickland Bay and Rose Bay. 

We paddled just under 2 miles through mangroves and sundrenched areas in Strickland Bay, but there’s still so much water left to discover. We’re excited to explore more, especially Spruce Creek itself.

Map showing a round-trip paddle route from Divito Park around Strickland Bay in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.
This is the round-trip route that we took from Divito Park into Strickland Bay.

How’s the Launch Point at Doris Leeper Spruce Creek Preserve?

There are several great launch points to choose from. For a drive-up and launch experience, we used Divito Park at 2-198 Divito Dr., New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168. It offers free parking and a gentle walk down to the water. Because of the oyster shells, it’s best to wear water shoes.

If you prefer to park and walk, Spruce Creek Park at 6250 S Ridgewood Ave, Port Orange, FL 32127, is another option we scouted but have yet to launch from. It can only be used at high tide due to deep mud. 

There’s also a third launch point near 2317 Creek Shore Trail, New Smyrna Beach, FL, leading through Spruce Creek, and a canoe landing at a primitive camping area on Strickland Bay.

The launch point and map of the area on a sign at Spruce Creek Divito Park in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.
The launch point at Divito Park

Can I Rent Paddleboards at Spruce Creek Preserve?

There aren’t any onsite rentals, so you’ll need to contact a rental company beforehand.

Why Is It a Good Paddling Location?

Strickland Bay and Rose Bay offer brackish water, which means you’re less likely to encounter alligators and more likely to see dolphins, osprey, water birds, and other wildlife. 

The area is incredibly scenic, with mangroves and open waterways to explore. Mangroves are some of my top paddles because the vegetation is short, dense, and crawling with tiny scurrying crabs.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Tidal waters: Strickland Bay and Rose Bay are tidal, so it’s crucial to know the tide conditions before you go.
  • Oysters: Watch out for oyster beds that can be tough on your feet and boards.
  • Motorized boats: They are present, especially in the bays, but you can usually avoid them during low tides and near the mangroves.
  • Alligators: Spruce Creek is mostly freshwater, so keep an eye out for them there.

Callalisa Creek

Callalisa Creek is a highly underrated paddle. It’s close to civilization, but once you’re on the water, you are on a relatively wide creek of brackish water lined with mangroves and teeming with life from jumping fish to graceful manatees to fluttering water birds. 

It’s one of the first places we paddled and remains one that we return to repeatedly. 

Where Is Callalisa Creek Located?

Callalisa Creek in New Smyrna Beach is perfect for a day trip. It is just over an hour from Orlando and about 30 minutes south of Daytona Beach. The address is 598 S Peninsula Ave, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32169.

Nestled on the Intracoastal (Indian River) and connecting to the Mosquito Lagoon Aquatic Preserve, it offers miles of mangrove-lined waterways to explore.

How Long Is the Paddle?

It totally depends on how long you want to paddle. There are miles and miles of mangrove-lined creeks and off-shoots to explore.

I have detailed paddle routes, from low effort to difficult, in my Callalisa Creek blog post

On our first outing, we paddled a one-mile round trip. We have since increased to around 3.5 miles round trip. 

Although distance is not what makes a great paddle or strong paddler, I would like to explore longer routes someday, and Callalisa Creek is a great place to build up stamina. 

Route map of Callalisa Creek overlaid with text noting the lack of shade and the launch point.

How’s the Launch Point??

The launch point is located at Callalisa Park, 598 S Peninsula Ave, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32169, and offers convenient access for paddlers. You can pull up right at the launch to unload your gear before parking nearby. While the bottom is mostly sand, be cautious of oyster beds. Water shoes are essential. 

Unfortunately, no facilities are available, so it is best to arrive with an empty bladder.

Additionally, while small motorized boats can use the launch, they typically head towards the Indian River/Intracoastal, allowing paddlers ample space to explore the creek’s tranquil waters.

Can I Rent Boards?

No. There are no rental companies at Callalisa Creek, but plenty of companies in the area can help you. My go-to is Outsiders, USA, with Ella and Renee. 

Jessica Meinhofer, owner of Walk and Paddle, standing on her Evolve Good Buddy paddleboard at Callalisa Creek on an overcast day.
This was a challenging paddle because it was quite windy, but I loved every minute of it!

Why Is It a Good Paddling Location?

Callalisa Creek offers a serene and scenic paddling experience for all experience levels and abilities. It’s ideal for both solo outings and guided tours.

Despite being influenced by tides, Callalisa Creek has a gentle current. Additionally, it’s shielded from strong winds, making it enjoyable for paddlers during low and high tides.

While small motorized boats are permitted in the creek, they’re uncommon. You’ll encounter mainly kayaks, paddleboards, and other non-motorized watercraft here.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Tidal waters: High or low tides can affect your paddle, so keep an eye on tidal charts.
  • No facilities: Arrive with an empty bladder or be prepared to find a bush.
  • Dark waters: You can’t see the bottom, so you won’t know what’s there or how deep it is. 
  • Brackish water: Mix of fresh and salt.
  • Plan your route correctly: Lots of small channels that can get confusing.
  • Low tide challenges: Some smaller mosquito canals can be challenging to pass, and you might find yourself carrying your boards.

Wekiwa Springs State Park

Wekiwa Springs, also known as Wekiva Springs, holds a special place in Central Florida’s heart. The name “Wekiwa” comes from the Creek language and means “spring.” It’s not just any spring; according to the Florida State Parks’ website, Wekiwa Springs is “Orange County’s longest-running tourist attraction.”

This is another location that is high on our to-paddle list!

Jessica Meinhofer, owner Walk and Paddle, at the kayak, canoe, and paddleboard dock at Wekiwa Springs State Park in Apopka, Florida.
The dock where paddlers can enter Wekiwa Springs State Park from the water.

Where Is Wekiwa Springs Located?

Wekiwa Springs is conveniently situated just 30 minutes north of Orlando and approximately 60 minutes southwest of Daytona Beach, making it a popular destination in Central Florida. 

It is located at 1800 Wekiwa Circle, Apopka, FL 32712. Nearby attractions include Rock Springs Run, King’s Landing Emerald Cut, and various wildlife management areas and conservations to the north and east of the state park.

How Long Is the Paddle?

From Wekiwa Springs to Wekiva Island, you can enjoy a peaceful 1-mile paddle with the current, making for a perfect 2-mile round trip journey. 

If you’re up for a longer adventure, paddle from Wekiwa Springs to Otter Camp, covering 3 miles one way for a scenic 6-mile round trip excursion. For more details, check out the paddle guide here.

You can paddle up to 10 miles along various routes from Wekiwa Springs, but that’s probably better once you are experienced.

How’s the Launch Point at Wekiwa Springs?

Wekiwa Springs State Park

Starting at the Wekiwa River inside the state park is pretty straightforward. The address is 1800 Wekiwa Circle, Apopka, FL 32712. The launch point is just outside the swim area. Park in the lot as close as you can to the launch point. You’ll have a bit of a trek with your gear to get to the water, so be prepared. 

There’s a day-use fee of $6 per vehicle for up to 8 people. Nearby, you’ll find concessions and bathrooms for your convenience.

The launch point at Wekiwa Springs State Park in Apopka, Florida.

Wekiva Island

If you prefer launching from Wekiva Island, head to 1014 Miami Springs Drive, Longwood, FL 32779. There’s a dock launch with a ramp, and the fee is $10 per vessel on weekdays and $20 on weekends. 

This spot offers many amenities, including a full bar, cabanas, bathrooms, and a food truck. Just remember, if you decide to stop at Wekiwa Springs State Park, you’ll also need to pay the day-use fee of $2 per person.

Can I Rent Boards at Wekiwa?

Yes! Wekiwa Springs State Park Nature Adventures (407-884-4311) has rentals, and so does Wekiva Island

Why Is It a Good Paddling Location?

Weiwa is a peaceful paddle in waters where no motorized boats are allowed. The slow-moving and shallow waters of Wekiwa Springs are perfect for paddlers of all skill levels. 

You’ll see plenty of wildlife and soak in the beauty of nature. 

After your paddle, take advantage of the park’s amenities like rest areas, restaurants, bathrooms, and even a swim in the spring.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Super popular spot: Can hit capacity during summers, weekends, and holidays.
  • Dogs: Only allowed on trails and campground, except for service dogs.
  • Tannic waters: The further from the spring, the darker the water gets, and the possibility of gators increases.

Silver Springs State Park

Silver Springs State Park is a unique place that is the home of the famous glass-bottom boats. From the 1930s to the 1980s, it was a popular location for filming movies and TV shows. 

It’s a paddler’s paradise, with more than 30 springs to explore. If you’re into the science behind it all, check out the St. Johns River Water Management District site for some cool info.

Where Is Silver Springs State Park Located?

Silver Springs is just outside of the Ocala National Forest. It’s a 90-minute drive from Orlando and Daytona Beach, so it’s totally doable for a day trip. 

The address is 5656 E. Silver Springs Blvd, Silver Springs, FL 34488

How Long Is the Paddle at Silver Springs?

Like many other routes mentioned in this post, you can make your paddles as short or long as you would like. 

The shortest official route is a 1.1-mile loop. From the launch, follow the signs through the Fort King waterway. The waterway connects with the Silver River, and you can take a left and head towards the springs.  

You can also choose a 5-mile one-way or 10-mile round trip. But that can be a bit much, especially if you are new to paddling. 

How’s the Launch Point?

There’s a launch inside the park. You can pull up and drop off your boards and gear, but you still have to walk it all down to the launch point. The launch area is painless on the feet and gear. However, if you go during peak days, there will be a lot of people launching and disembarking in the same area. 

Only non-motorized vessels are allowed to launch here. And yes, there’s a day-use fee per vehicle ($8 for 2 to 8 people) and a $4 vessel launch fee.

Four turtles resting on a log on the shore at Silver Springs State Park in Silver Springs, Florida.
Look at these cute turtles at Silver Springs!

Can I Rent Boards?

Absolutely! You can rent by the hour or day, and they also offer guided paddles. But you can still bring your own gear. Just remember the day-use fee and launch fee.

We brought our own, and it was a relatively simple process. 

Why Is It a Good Paddling Location?

It’s gorgeous, with plenty of room for lots of paddlers. It’s beginner-friendly and hard to get lost. Plus, you’ll see incredible wildlife like manatees, waterfowl, turtles, monkeys, alligators, and more! 

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Watch out: Glass-bottom boats and motorized vehicles are on the Silver River and the various springs.
  • Alligators: Both a pro and a con. It’s always cool to see them, but it can be nerve-wracking to be around them.
  • Crowded: It can reach capacity and close, especially during peak times.
  • No swimming: So you can’t cool off with a swim when it’s hot.

It’s Time to Paddle!

I hope this list of locations has given you plenty of places to check out.

If you are new to paddleboarding, check out my posts: 

Ready to explore? Here’s more information about some of the places I’ve mentioned, including paddle route details:

I’ll be sharing more details on paddleboarding locations as I visit and paddle them.

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