King’s Landing definitely should be added to your Florida Springs bucket list! Take a real-life jungle cruise on Rocks Springs Run. Follow crystal clear water through the Emerald Cut to Kelly Park/ Rock Springs, or paddle towards the Wekiva Island to see Florida’s wildlife.
For any activity you choose at King’s Landing, you MUST make a reservation through the King’s Landing website. They have single and double kayaks available to rent. If you are using your own kayak or paddleboard, you still need to make a reservation.
The Touring Options At King's Landing
If you choose the 8.5-mile paddle towards Wekiva Island, you will want to book the offered shuttle service. Booking the shuttle service is recommended for those who choose to paddle this stretch of water on their own or rented watercraft. If you are part of the Eco River Adventure tour, the shuttle is included in your tour booking. The shuttle comes to Wekiva Island once a day at 3:30 p.m. If you miss the shuttle, you will be charged a $100 late vessel fee if you rented. If you have your own vessel and missed the shuttle, you will need to find your way back.
Heading To King's Landing For The Day
When driving to King’s Landing, it can be easy to get caught up in the Kelly Park traffic. The line you will see along the side of the road is for the entrance into Kelly Park/Rock Springs. For King’s Landing, you will keep driving on the left side of the line but still turn on to Kelly Park Road. You will turn left at the end of the road and continue to follow signs for King’s Landing.
You will need park along the road right outside King’s Landing entrance. There is a circle drive you can pull through if you need to drop off your watercraft closer to the drop-in point. Follow the yellow entrance sign, then circle around to the road to find parking.
No matter if you are renting equipment, going on a tour, or doing a self-guided adventure day, you will need to check in at the office. They will give you a colored wristband according to your type of reservation. If you are doing a self-guided adventure, they will show you a map of both sides of the river. Ask any questions you might have, and you can take a picture of the map for your reference. If you are doing a tour or renting, they will get you hooked up with the gear and tell you where to meet.
There are two restrooms in a building by the parking lot, and four port-a-potties. They also have two outdoor showers if you would like to rinse off or any gear at the end of your paddle. The office has supplies, such as sunscreen and hats, if you forgot anything.
Which Path To Take
The drop-in point is just a few feet from the office. There are people to help you get your watercraft in the water if needed. You will paddle out of the little canal. Heading to the right side, out of the canal, will take to the Emerald Cut.
When you start heading out to the right out of the canal it is quite shallow, but it will get deeper. The depth underneath will fluctuate on this side of the river. The water is like glass, and you can easily see the depth change. You will also be able to see any logs and branches you need to avoid.
It is about a one-mile paddle upstream to the bridge, marking Kelly Park/ Rock Springs. The current is about a medium level in strength, but it is doable for a novice paddler. The paddle back though, is like a rollercoaster ride!
A little less than halfway on this mile paddle is when you will arrive at the Emerald Cut. Two small islands with trees and foliage cut through the center of the river. This is a great place to park your board along the bank, do some swimming and snap a photo.
This side of the river is full of twists and turns. Most of this side of the river is shaded by a canopy of tree limbs. The end is very apparent. You will clearly see the large bridge, and Kelly Park is on the other side.
The side of the river that leads you to Wekiva Island is a different adventure. The water is not consistently as clear as the Emerald Cut side, but the clarity is still good in places. The depth of the water doesn’t change as much, but you will encounter more tree logs submerged and poking out of the water.
You will have the chance to see more wildlife on this side of the river, such as turtles, blue herons, white ibis, and even deer. There is the possibility of seeing alligators. Normally, you will see them on the banks sunning themselves. Always operate with caution and awareness.
You will see the sign letting you know you have entered Wekiwa Springs State Park. For those with blue wrist bands, there is a clear sign of where you need to stop and turn around. If you decide to paddle the 8.5-mile paddle down to the river toward Wekiva Island, enjoy the ride and the scenery.
At Wekiva Island, there are plenty of fun ways to relax and celebrate after a hefty paddle. There is an indoor/outdoor bar called The Tooting Otter and a restaurant called With Out A Paddle to refresh yourselves. There is a general store if there is anything you want or need to purchase. You can enjoy the cabanas or go for a swim while you wait for the shuttle service or whatever ride you have.
If your journey ends back at King’s Landing, make sure you get any rental gear returned appropriately. Around noon, they have food trucks if you need a snack after your paddle. They have picnic tables if you want to enjoy the food you brought yourself. They have two African Spurred Tortoises who live in the building between the office and the restroom if you would like to meet some permanent residents.
Know Before You Go
- You MUST make a reservation
- Have your own Kayak or Paddle Board? Drop Ins cost $10/adult & Shuttle Run $30/adult
- Rental Rates: $59/Canoe | $69/Double Kayak | $49/Single Kayak (4 Hours)
- Emerald Cut Kayak Adventure - 2 HOUR GUIDED TOUR | $59 PER PERSON | BEGINNER
- VIP Wild Florida Kayak Adventure -2.5 HOUR GUIDED TOUR | $89 PER PERSON | BEGINNER - INTERMEDIATE
- Eco River Adventure Shuttle Run - 5 HOUR GUIDED TOUR | $99 PER PERSON | EXPERIENCED
- Summer Nites Kayak Adventure - 2 HOUR GUIDED TOUR | $59 PER PERSON | BEGINNER
- For more information, click HERE to read King's Landings' FAQs
Here is a list of more animals you should keep your eyes peeled for:
- Softshell turtle
- Box Turtle
- Blue Heron
- Tricolored Heron
- White Ibis
There is a board at King’s Landing that has a more extensive list of all the animals you might see.
Things to have packed in when embarking on this adventure:
- Bug spray
- Long sleeve shirt or rash guard
- A dry bag or anything to protect your electronic devices
- GoPro (if you have one)
- Water (no alcoholic beverages are allowed!!)
Have fun planning your excursion to the tropical jungle down the street from a bustling city!