(Review added 10/13/13, last update 12/15)
Home of the Mermaids, Weeki Wachee Springs offers a terrific day trip for kayaks as well. Started in 1946 by a former Navy SEAL instructor, Weeki Wachee Springs was the original Florida attraction and in the 1950s was one of the most popular tourist stops in the United States. In 1959 the attraction was purchased by ABC who built the current submerged theater into the side of the spring, developed themed mermaid programs, and added a water park. In 2008 Weeki Wachee was added to the Florida State Park system and the mermaid shows continue.
Weeki Wachee Spring pumps an amazing 117 million gallons of fresh water each day into the spring run for it’s short trip to the Gulf of Mexico. The run is about 6 miles long and is relatively shallow most of the way. As may be expected, the current is quite strong. On the twisty upper part of the run most of your paddling will be steering. A park concessionaire offer rentals and shuttle service to Rogers Park. A small launch fee is required in the state park and there is a small parking fee (bring cash) at Rogers Park.
The launch site is about 0.2 mile downstream from the spring, You can paddle upstream from the launch about 0.1 mile, but cannot access the spring itself. The upper 3 miles is winding and very shallow, with the swift current providing some thrills. At about the 3 mile mark the stream widens and the current slows down a bit for the next 1.5 miles. The last 1.2 miles is partially channelized and houses line at least one bank of the river to the take out at Rogers Park. However, one of the big attractions of the trip lies along this last stretch – Hospital Hole – a large, deep pool where you can usually see at least one or two manatee.
(Remember, “river left” is the left side of the river headed downstream.)
Weeki Wachee Springs State Park to Rogers Park
0.0 Weeki Wachee launch (can paddle upstream 0.1 miles)
3.0 Sand shelf on river right – good rest stop
4.1 First canal, river right
4.3 Second canal, river right
4.7 Third canal, river right
5.5 Fourth canal, river right
5.6 Hospital Hole, river left
5.8 Leave the river and join canal on river left
5.9 Rogers Park, river right
Click HERE to download Weeki Wachee River Fact Sheet with mileage chart and directions to launch sites.
Click HERE to download Weeki Wachee River gpx file for your GPS unit.
Double-click to zoom in or use mouse scroll to zoom in and out. Drag to change location. Click on icons or river route for more info.