Your first question might be is this a Game of Thrones themed adventure. Kings Landing kayak rental predates the popular series, so the common name is purely coincidental. You will find no dragons on your kayak trip to this beautiful stretch of river near Orlando; however, you may see a few alligators, a snake or two, possibly a bear, many birds, and quintessential Florida scenery.
Florida Paddling Group inspires my Kings Landing Kayak Rental Adventure
On a Florida paddling Facebook group, someone posted beautiful pictures of a gorgeous clear river snaking through lush Florida wilderness. I was heading in that direction in a month and this was just what I was looking for. The name of the river was Rock Springs Run, which flows into the Wekiva River. Kings Landing is the name of the business that rents kayaks. I found their website online and made a reservation.
Related: Swimming with manatees in Crystal River, Florida
Arrival for my Kings Landing Kayak Rental Adventure
I got to the landing a little early and there was a traffic backup a half mile going into the property. Fortunately, the queue was for a nearby tubing business, and I was able to drive around the cars and then made it to the landing. Check-in was seamless, and I was shown the rules and regulations, and provided a boat. Staff was cordial and helpful, and pushed me off from the shore, and I proceeded downstream.
Tropical Storm Elsa darkens the waters of Rock Springs Run
My initial thought was that this was nothing like the pictures I had seen on the Facebook group and also on the website. The river looked like the Suwannee River. Instead of a crystal clear river, it was dark brown. This was not due to tannins though, this was from Tropical Storm Elsa. About a week before my reservation, almost the whole state of Florida was drenched from Hurricane and then Tropical Storm Elsa.
This did not deter my enthusiasm for the day as the river was still beautiful and the scenery was just outstanding. A little higher water makes the paddling easier. The stretch is 8.5 miles, and paddlers must reach the take-out by 3:30 p.m.
Spectacular wildlife along Rock Springs Run
The wildlife was amazing. I saw more than twenty alligators along the shoreline, some at very close range. Most of them were rather small, but one was a good eight feet. A group of baby alliagators was the highlight as seen below. A non-poisonous snake was spotted on a log. The birdlife was abundant with osprey, egrets, anhingas, green herons, and several other Florida favorites. On the shuttle back to our cars, one kayaker shared that he saw a bear. The bear climbed up a tree, and was thus spotted above the abundant foliage.
Weeki Wachee River and springs canoe adventure
Incredible scenery on the Kings Landing Kayak Rental Adventure
The scenery was absolutely outstanding. I felt like I was in a rainforest in South America; yet, here I was one hour away from Disney in Orlando, Florida. Rock Springs Run forms the edge of the Wekiva Springs State Park. On the other side of the stream is the Rock Springs Run Conservation Area, so kayakers are surrounded by undeveloped Florida beauty.
Hot and humid turns to torrential rain
Weather is pretty consistent in Florida in the summertime. You can pretty much expect hot and humid with a thunderstorm. That is exactly what I got. For an hour the heavens dumped pouring rain as I continued to drift through the jungle like scenery. The storm was welcome as temperatures soared into the 90s. Every time I entered into a clearing, I wished I was back in the shade.
Kings Landing Kayak Rental manages the river well
One thing that really impressed me about the experience is how few people were on the river. I went hours without seeing anyone. Whenever I stopped paddling, someone would overtake me, but it would only be a kayak or two. There were no large groups out on this stretch and not much loud noise. They do not allow alcohol on the river and they check your coolers to make sure it is not brought out. While I would have liked a beer on the river, I appreciate the fact that this deters many from paddling and keeps the river clean.
Reservations recommended for a Kings Landing Kayak Rental Adventure
When I booked online, there were only a few rentals left. You can bring your own vessel and use their service for only $10.00. Kayak and canoe rentals run from $49.00-$59.00. The paddle ends at Wekiva Island and a shuttle will take you back at 3:30 p.m. The Tooting Otter craft beer and wine bar and the Without a Paddle Cafe serves drinks and food at the end, so don’t forget to bring a little money while you are waiting for the return shuttle.
There is only one return shuttle, so if you arrive early, you can Uber it back. If you miss the shuttle back it is a $100 fee, so you must start your trip early enough in order to paddle to the take-out by 3:30 p.m.
Swim at your own risk
The water is normally crystal clear, so the swimming under those circumstances is much safer. Even though the floods made the water much darker, I decided to take a quick swim anyway. I found a nice sandy stretch and inspected both directions for alligators for several minutes before taking the plunge. Most of the alligators I saw were rather small, so I was not too worried.
My one regret on my Kings Landing Kayak Rental Adventure
I wish that I would have stayed there overnight in their campground. I stayed in a hotel in Orlando, so I had to wake up extra early and drive up. It would have been great to camp out at their campground and wake up with the river just a short walk away. I will definitely do that next time. Make a reservation now for your Kings Landing Kayak Rental adventure. Click here.