Last updated on February 13th, 2020.

Rock Springs Kelly Park

The main attraction at Rock Springs Kelly Park is a gorgeous natural Florida spring and a relaxing natural lazy river. It has a super convenient location. It’s less than 30 miles away from Orlando, but surrounded by serene nature and lots of Florida Wildlife.

Rock Springs starts flowing in Kelly Park, and then runs downstream for 8 miles. There, it merges with another spring from Wekiwa Springs State Park, to form the Wekiva River.

Orlando’s Natural Lazy River: Adventure and Florida Wildlife

Rock Springs is inside the city of Apopka, but it doesn’t feel like the city at all. It’s surrounded by environmentally protected land, and feels like a true natural adventure. For being inside a city, there’s a surprising amount of Florida wildlife.

One reason wildlife is so abundant around Rock Springs is because of the huge amount of protected land; they have a much larger habitat to roam through. If you look at a google map you’ll see a huge area of green protected areas.

Almost all of these natural areas are continuously connected to each other. This lets wildlife roam freely, and expands their natural habitat.

  • Kelly park
  • Rock springs kelly park
  • Wekiwa springs state park
  • Rock springs run
  • Rock springs run state preserve
  • Wekiva river buffer conservation area
  • Seminole state forest
  • Black Bear Wilderness Area
  • Blue Springs State Park

Visitors to Rock Springs Kelly Park, and the surrounding areas, often see local Florida wildlife:

  • Birds
  • Squirrels
  • Raccoons
  • Turkeys
  • Deer
  • Snakes
  • Fish
  • Turtle

If you’re lucky you might even see more rare Florida animals:

  • Bald eagle
  • Otters
  • Black bear
  • Alligator
  • Snakes

Uh… Did You Say There Are Alligators?

Yes, alligators are sometimes found at Kelly Park/Rock Springs.

This is from the Orange County website:

Question: Are there really alligators and snakes in the water?

Answer: It is not a common occurrence but from time to time we do see wildlife such as alligators and snakes in the water. If you see an alligator, notify any staff on site; they will then verify the sighting and activate the protocols that are in place for such instances.

Alligators can live in nearly every large body of water in Orange, Seminole, Lake and Osceola counties. Source

There’s at least one recorded incident of an alligator attack in the region. This article describes an attack on a woman swimming in the Wekiva River. Tragically, she had part of her arm bitten off. Source

Kelly Park and Rock Springs swimming and tubing

What is the water temperature of Rock Springs?

The water in Kelly Park Rock Springs is 68 degrees all the time. That makes it a year-round destination. In the summer the water is refreshingly cold on a hot, sweaty summer day. On a warm winter day it’s still fine for swimming or floating.

Swimming

There are shallow, sandy areas perfect for children, and also larger, deeper areas for older kids.

Tubing Rock Springs

Tubes are available for rent outside the park, but aren’t available from the inside-park concessionaire. You’re allowed to bring your own tubes and pool noodles, but they can’t be more than 5 feet long or wide.

Canoeing and Kayaking

Excellent Canoeing and kayaking is available further downstream at King’s Landing, but is not allowed within Kelly Park.

Get there early!

Kelly Park/Rock Springs has strict visitor limits to preserve the environment and prevent overcrowding. It’s best to try to go on weekdays. If you must go on a weekend try to arrive as early as possible to have a better chance of getting in!

Highlights:

    • Beautiful water
    • Swimming
    • Tubing (Rent from outside the park or bring your own)
    • Pristine nature
    • Hiking trails
    • Cool limestone boulders and rock formations
    • Limestone caves
    • Camping
    • Great chances to see wildlife
    • Unbelievably clear water
    • Family-friendly adventure
    • Full-service concession: Snacks and some river gear
    • Picnic pavilions
    • Playground
    • On-site camping and other options close by
    • 30 miles from Orlando!

Why are there shark teeth in Rock Springs

A really fun and unique feature of Rock Springs is the chance to find shark teeth. They’re left over from Florida’s fascinating geologic past, when oceans covered all of Florida. The shark teeth are trapped in layers of ancient limestone, and get blasted out by the flowing spring water.