This week, while RV camping at Wekiwa Springs State Park, we decided to check out Wekiva Falls, which only about 30 minutes away. It was during the week and we were the only people there, having the whole spring to ourselves!
Wekiva Falls is an RV resort, with over 800 campsites, and they have a natural sulfur spring. The camping area is very busy, with many people opting to stay there, since it is not far from Orlando. There are not a lot of shady spots (most looked like full sun spots, no shade at all) and they mostly seem close together, but it didn't keep people from camping there. Those who stay at the campground have access to the sulfur spring. Along with the spring, there is kayaking and kayaking rentals (the spring leads into the river where you can kayak), a children's playground, a small store, and other options for those who are camping (e.g., laundry, activities, etc.).
Being that it is privately owned, it tends to cost more than state parks. It was $25 for the four of us to get in to use the spring. The spring area is quite big, with a cement deck with chairs all around it. It's kind of set up like a huge swimming pool. There are many picnic tables and chairs all around, too. Like other Central Florida springs, this one at Wekiva Falls is also around 72 degrees, which I find quite refreshing. There is one side that has a sandy beach-like access and is shallow. It gets deeper as you move in more. There are also a couple of ladders on the sides. In the middle of the spring there is a huge man-made water fall and a couple of water slides.
Snorkeling here was awesome! I could not believe how many fish there are in this spring. Fish of all sizes, ranging from tiny babies to ones that were over a foot in length. There were thousands of them surrounding the bottom of the water fall. There were also schools of big fish, 20-30 per school, swimming around. Most looked to me to be tilapia, but I don't know fish species well, so I'm not positive.
The water was refreshing, the snorkeling was great because we saw an awesome amount of fish, and it was great that we were literally the only people there at the spring. However, it is a sulfur spring, so the smell must be brought up...
I knew going there that it was a sulfur spring, so there was going to be an odor. Oh, boy, is there! Once you are even at the picnic tables, before heading down the stairs to go toward the water, the air is filled with the sulfur odor. If you are not familiar with what that smells like, it smells like, well, an egg fart. Seriously, it does. So the air around the entire spring smells like an egg fart and every time a breeze comes by it just blows it right at you. Ugh. When we were snorkeling it was fine, because once you are under water you don't smell it. But quite honestly, every time I came up for a break the smell was like a punch in the face. It was awful! I only stuck with it because I know it's natural. But the odor was not pleasant, that is for sure.
My daughter and husband were fine regarding the odor. They cracked jokes, but had a great time snorkeling and using the slides, so it never bothered them. My son, on the other hand, is very sensitive to smells. He was in the water for about three minutes and went out running. Practically gagging. He couldn't take it, not even being by the picnic tables. He went over to play in the playground. As we went to leave the place he actually said that he hated that spring and never wanted to go back, because the smell was do bad. There must have been hundreds of people camping there, it was 93 degrees outside, and none of those campers were using the spring. My son was quick to point out it's because it stinks so badly.
If you can get past the smell, it's actually a really nice set up around the swimming area, the one end is shallow enough for smaller kids, and it's great to go snorkeling to see all of those fish. But go in knowing there is a rotten egg smell (not just at the water, but even as you are up the stairs and at the picnic tables). If someone in your family is overly sensitive to smells, as my son is, then it's going to be difficult for them to have fun being there. And when we paid at the entrance the woman was quick to tell us there are no refunds. I have a feeling some people have tried to get their money back after taking one whiff!
Here are pictures of our stop at Wekiva Falls RV Campground and Sulfur Spring: