Today, we decided to check out Kelly Park / Rock Springs Run, located in Apopka, which is in the Orlando area at 400 E Kelly Park Rd. They are open 8 am to 8 pm in the summer. The park is county owned and the fee to get in was $5 for the carload (4 of us in the car). At Kelly Park, there is a large springs swimming area, as well as the Rock Springs Run. You can choose to swim in the main swimming area, go down the run, or you can do both. There are a lot of picnic tables and benches available and there are many shady spots for setting up your things. This park fills up quickly in the summer time, so if you want to get in you have to arrive early. Once it reaches capacity they will not let anyone else in.
The Rock Springs Run is absolutely beautiful! If you are going to tube it, you can either take your own tubes into the park, or you can rent them a minute away from the park for $5 each for the day. We wanted to snorkel the run, so we skipped tubes. I'm glad we decided to snorkel it, because it was amazing! You walk down to where it begins, which is near a cave wall where the spring is located. There are several areas there where you can make your way into the water. Before going to this area you should ideally find a spot down by the main swimming area to set up your things. That way everything will be there for you when you finish the run. The first part of the run is around 10 minutes long and the second part is around 15 minutes, then there is a walk back to the main swimming area.
Snorkeling the run was awesome, but I must also say that it's a little dangerous. The current is strong and it really pushes you, and there are large rocks around. So you have the risks of hitting these rocks (and the water level is low right now). My son is light and he did hit a few rocks and it scared him. My knee hit one rock, and it hurt, but I was loving the experience so much that it overshadowed the pain. We snorkeled right over the top of the rocks, having to quickly navigate around several of them. The view under there is beautiful. We stopped a couple of times going down the run so that we could make sure we were all together and look around at the beauty.
After doing the first 10 minutes of the run it leads out into the main swimming area. From there, you can choose to stay in that area, or you can go on and do the other part of the run, which is 15 minutes (and then you walk back). The main swimming area was nice. Some of it has some algae, but there are some nice sandy and shallow areas, too. Many people are able to find shark teeth near the bridge, but I couldn't find any. We did see plenty of fish, shells, and a turtle swimming around. There are two lifeguards on duty at this spring, too. Kelly Park / Rock Springs Run has restrooms, a concession stand, and some pavilions.
Overall, we really liked Kelly Park / Rock Springs Run. It's a beautiful park, snorkeling the run was awesome, the water in the run is crystal clear, and the spring felt great. This spring is in the Orlando area, so it can get quite busy, but if you can get there early and get in you will have a great time. Exercise caution if you are going to be in the Rock Springs Run, because there are risks being around the current and the rocks. But it's a great time and a beautiful atmosphere!
If you go, it's best to try and take your own tubes if you have them. Since the entire spring run is only about 25 minutes, it could be costly to rent the family tubes. I saw many people using their own tubes, including small ones for kids. Some people went down the spring run swimming, snorkeling, walking, and tubing. Even if you don't go down the spring run, make sure you walk over to it so you can see how beautiful it is.
- Jacqueline Bodnar
Here are pictures of our visit to Kelly Park / Rock Springs Run today in the Orlando area: