During the day, beneath the glistening rays of the sun, a paddle along Rock Springs Run, through the mystical Emerald Cut, and the wetland wilderness towards Wekiva Island, one can experience the picturesque beauty of Florida. But…as the moon rises and fog sets in on All Hallows’ Eve, the river becomes haunted. Creatures rise from the waters and swing from the trees. Paddle if you dare…
A brand-new offering in 2021, King’s Landing offered paddlers the chance to experience the Haunting of Emerald Cut. The event lasted for two days over Halloween weekend, starting at 5:00 p.m. Reservations for spots and rentals are required, and be sure to make them sooner rather than later. You will still check in at the office, as you do for a daytime reservation and rental, to get your bands. You will gather your school of ghouls and make your way to the water. The staff does a good job of spreading people out as you enter the water. This allows you space to paddle and enjoy the experience.
Not wanting to give too much away, but there are some things to look forward to on your haunted river paddle. Bravely paddle through smoke and fog. Keep your eyes peeled for creatures of the lagoon and wide smiling faces sitting in trees. Discarded canoes line the banks. Lighting your journey are tiki torches as you move through the Cut of eerie wonders.
You will paddle all the way to the Kelly Rock Park Bridge, which is one mile upstream one way. If you haven’t paddled Rock Springs Run before, the current going upstream is quite strong, but it is a fun ride on the way back. They waited until all the paddlers arrived, and then we all hung out for a bit, talking and checking out everyone’s costumes. Just as they did at the start, the guides will send you back down the river in small groups, spread out.
Now, the sun has begun to set, and the moon is rising higher. Shadows descend upon the trees. Keep your eyes and wits about you. It may be more difficult to see creatures of the deep, but you can hear their guttural growls. Twinkling above your head is not stars but glowing lights strung about the trees. And as you round the corner, a tunnel of lights will lead you out of the darkness.
Afterward, they had a small bonfire and food available. They did a quick, fun little costume contest voted by rounds of applause by audience members. The winner got a free paddle rental. The event is kid friendly. None of the scares while on the water were jolting enough to scare you into rocking the vessel. The time frame of the paddle was well planned, so you weren’t paddling completely in the dark.
There was so much excitement at the event’s premier weekend. The staff has so many great ideas and plans for next year's event. In the meantime, enjoy some paddling adventures, maybe visit King’s Landing to paddle Rock Springs Run in the glorious sunlight. While preparing your paddle and nerves for next year, when the haunted spirits settle upon the river beneath the Halloween moon.
For more information on King's Landing during the daytime, click HERE to hop over to our next blog going into detail about what you'll have in store when visiting
Things to Bring
Watercraft (with life vest and paddle) | GoPro/Waterproof Camera | Dry Bag | Water | Bug spray | Towel | Headlamp (for extra light if needed) | Halloween Costume