Nature / Outdoors, Picnic, Swimming

Rock Springs ~ A Jungle Adventure & South of France Picnic

Rock Springs swimming area, Apopka Florida (35 minutes from Orlando)

Rock Springs swimming area, Apopka Florida (35 minutes from Orlando)

Rock Springs is true, beautiful Florida outdoors. Florida is hot, so this experience is delightful because you’re waist deep in refreshing, clear water. That right–no concrete meccas or water-slides, just nature.

Rock Springs is a mix between a jungle adventure and a picnic in the South of France. Begin by walking up a wooden boardwalk for about 5 minutes, then climb steps into the spring. The river will be chilly at first (68 degrees), but the warm air and sunshine keep you warm.

Surrounded by trees and basking in the sun, you’ll float down the first part in about 10 minutes. The feeling of being in a beautiful jungle is surreal, and the clear water is a delight to swim with goggles.

You’ll come to the middle section, where the river splits into two parts and opens to a larger swimming area. Since this water sits in the sun, it’s warmer here. It’s a beautiful area to play with kids or pose for photos on the rocks. The river then continues about 1/3 mile more downstream. When finished, just walk back up the boardwalk.

The river is shallow enough to stand up in the whole way down, assuming you’re at least 5 feet tall. Independent companies offer to rent inner tube floats outside the park, but unless you’re determined to stay out of the water, they can be a bit cumbersome.

Beautiful spring-fed river to float down.

Beautiful spring-fed river to float down.

Of course, it’s better to avoid the summer months. Late May – early September, you’ll brush elbows with more local kids on the river. After school is back in session, and especially during the week, it’s nearly empty.

I recommend leaving your stuff in the car, and walking up to the top of the river with just a car key tied to your wrist. (Sans the flip flops!) Jump in and float down. Enjoyed 25 minutes floating through the forest, admiring the crystal clear water. Then, go back to the car and grab your picnic blanket. Lay out on the grassy island between the rivers. Alternatively, there is another hidden grassy meadow of the far side of the river. Enjoy the sun, paint some watercolors, eat a sandwich, and relax in true Florida nature. If you get hot, the refreshing springs are a few feet away.

Getting there:

Rock Springs is located in Apopka, about 35 minutes North of Orlando. It’s a pleasant drive, once you get off I-4, and you’ll feel immersed in the Florida of years past. You’ll breathe deep  away from the throngs of tourists.

Beautiful grassy picnic areas to lay out at Rock Springs, Kelly Park.

Beautiful grassy picnic areas to lay out at Rock Springs, Kelly Park.

Rock Springs at Kelly Park is NOT the same as Rock Springs Run (camping but no swimming.) The place you want to go is Rock Springs at Kelly Park.

Here’s the address for your GPS:

Rock Springs Run at Kelly Park 400 East Kelly Park Road
Apopka, FL 32712
(407) 889-4179

Entry fee:

$3 per car
$5 for 8 or more people


  1. Eric

    February 8, 2014 at 5:01 am

    My family just relocated to Celebration from Ohio. After only a couple of months in Celebration, we realized we wanted to explore alternative areas with more soul. I thought what better way to find cool areas than to search for Vegan joints in Orlando. Thankfully I also tried searching for “hipster Orlando” and stumbled on this blog! I’m very much looking forward to following this blog. Thanks for the great tips thus far!

    1. iamvioletta

      February 11, 2014 at 4:00 am

      Thanks! Your positive comment meant so much to me. I’ll keep sharing my favorite spots. 🙂

      1. Eric

        April 11, 2014 at 2:19 pm

        My pleasure to read your tips! Thanks so much 🙂

  2. iamvioletta

    November 21, 2015 at 6:16 am

    Yes, I have a contact page. I’d love to hear your suggestions!

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