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Weeki Wachee River Report
(WW State Park to Rogers Park)

View: More Weeki Wachee River reports, Southwest FL Locations 

Report By:  paddledipper    Date: 7/9/2013 
Rating:Trip Rating     Photos: See 7 photos     Map & Directions: View

Oh my goodness! This is possibly the best overall paddle I've experienced! I'd recommend it to anyone, from an inexperienced, nervous first timer to the most highly skilled, experienced kayaker I know.

My Report:

I FINALLY paddled the beautiful Weeki Wachee River! We loaded the truck with all our gear the night before so my 12 year old daughter and I could get an early start to avoid the rush hour traffic in Orlando. We pulled out of the driveway at 6:34am and took the quickest route my GPS suggested which was basically I-4 to the Turnpike to a few back roads to I-75 to Highway 50. After one quick stop for gas and coffee, we pulled in Paddling Adventures parking lot at 8:26A. It was an easy drive. We had our own boats but no shuttle so we paid $6.00 each to put in there at the State Park and another $10.00 each to have them return us and our boats from Rogers Park back to the parking lot our vehicle was in at the end of the paddle. The only snafu of the day was that I realized as we were paying the clerk that I had left my ice chest with food and water sitting on my kitchen floor back at home. Geeze! We dropped our boats and gear then and ran to the closest gas station to grab some snacks and water. Even with that unexpected side trip, we managed to be in our boats and on the water at 9:27A. I reset the GPS and off we went.

There were a few others putting in at the same time and as they went left down river, we turned right and paddled up to the blocked off area where Buccaneer Bay (the State Park swimming area) and the head spring are located. We sat in our boats and ate our breakfast in complete peace. The State Park tour boats werenít running because of a scheduled inspection so there was no activity from that department. SCORE! I actually do enjoy a lovely river cruise but the last time I was on the one at Weeki Wachee the tour boat captain called the kayakers in the water ahead of us speed bumps. I admit, Iím a kayaker and even I laughed when he said it but I didnít really want to be a speed bump for a massive tourist laden pontoon boat today so I wasnít sad to see it sitting idle, at all!

We paddled downstream at an average speed of 2 MPH for the next 4 hours. We stopped and swam 4 times in the clearest and prettiest river I have EVER been on. We didnít hurry but simply took our time floating and frequently commenting at every bend, ďIsnít it so pretty?Ē and ďOh my gosh, the color of the water looks like the Blue Lagoon.Ē And most frequently, ďWe should stop and swim here too!Ē The current did most of the work for us and never once did we feel we had to exert ourselves. If you are looking for a relaxed and slow paced paddle, this is it!

Wildlife was at a minimum this day but we did see Ibis , turtles and fish. We heard one group ahead of us make mention of an alligator but it was gone before we made our way though that area. The clarity of the water and the absolute clearness of the river water gave an aquarium like view to numerous schools of mullet, several small sheepshead and blue crabs. We saw no manatee but I did overhear a resident near the canals ask the little girl with him, ďWhich way was the manatee swimming when you saw it?Ē So I assume there was one around, we just didnít see it ourselves. Thatíll do. Mermaid spotting? Not a one.

Everyone we met while kayaking was kind and enjoyable to be around, even the little girl at one of the homes with the water soaker who was aiming right for us at the fun spirited urging of the adults surrounding her. She got me, and it was WONDERFULY REFRESHING! I enjoyed the playfulness on the water.
Although we could have spent a few more hours swimming in this river we had to end things up due to an evening engagement. We pulled into Rogers Park at 1:25P and were greeted by the shuttle staff of Paddling Adventures. As they loaded our kayaks they pointed the way to the bathroom and a huge Igloo cooler of ice water in the event we needed either. We were good. After a short shuttle back to the parking lot, we changed and loaded our vehicle then grabbed a sandwich from a local drive through. We pulled in our driveway at home 4:36P. Not bad at all.

Typically if there is a large head spring on the body of water I am paddling I am disappointed if I donít get to see it, but this was not the case on this trip. There were so many beautifully deep spring like holes to throw yourself in and cool off and even a few spring vents along the way that the sunshine on the water gave a beautiful display of blue and green coloring that I simply didnít miss the big spring experience. Plus, last time I checked I could view the head spring at Weeki Wachee from a nice overlook and from a glassed in enclosure below by showing my State Park pass. Itís available any day of the week.

Next time, I hope to explore the canals and Hospital Hole (which I missed or never recognized) a bit more than we were able to do today. Not a problem, it just gives me more reasons to come back and paddle it again soon.

I havenít posted a trip report in quite a while simply because Iíve been paddling way too much in between other activities to make the time, but this river got me excited and had me wanting to post a report just to share the experience since the last trip report on the Weeki Wachee River was in 2011. If you are thinking about paddling the Weeki Wachee River but havenít gotten around to it yet, just do it. Itíll be one of your favorites too!

Get Map & Directions for this trip

Location Data:

Difficulty: Easy
Location Type: River
Boat Type: Kayak
Distance (miles): 6.20
Fees/Costs $: Variable

Photos from WW State Park to Rogers Park:    (Click image to view full size)

Nice Cart! No Comm
Nice Cart!

We liked the carts!

Mom and Daughter Day No Comm
Mom and Daughter Day

Our first swimming stop.

Clear Water! No Comm
Clear Water!

Clear water, white sand.....

More Clear Water No Comm
More Clear Water

Clear water, white sand.....

Nice View No Comm
Nice View

Did I mention clear water, white sand?

Swimming Hole No Comm
Swimming Hole

We really didn't want to leave this area.

Someone's Backyard No Comm
Someone's Backyard

Really? A backyard? Lovely!

Special Interests and Comments:

Special Interests

Post Date: 7/9/2013

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