Looking for a place where nature exists in its purest form? Then a visit to Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park is a terrific idea!
Situated just an hour from Orlando and Daytona Beach, this fabulous 18,000-acre state park incorporates 6-miles of the picturesque St Johns River. Blessed with outstanding scenery, it facilitates a wildlife corridor that leads along this river, as well as the Wekiva River to the stunning Ocala National Forest.
Providing a natural habitat for alligators, black bears and river otters, the park is a renowned spot for wildlife watching. It is also a popular destination for canoeing and kayaking, fishing, and geocaching. While hikers, bike and horse riders can explore over 18 miles of trails.
Camping options are limited to equestrian sites. However, if you do bring your horse with you, this Florida state park provides you with the perfect destination to reconnect with nature.
Visitors can partake in a wide range of outdoor recreational pursuits during their time at Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park.
Outlined below is a brief overview of some of the activities you can do during your time there.
Boating at Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park
For those into paddling the preserve provides lovely opportunities to traverse the Wekiva River.
You can take to the water via kayak or canoe at Katie’s Landing which you will find in Sorrento on Wekiva Park Drive.
The scenery is pretty spectacular on this waterway, so be sure to have your phone or camera with you to capture footage of your journey.
Fishing at Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park
If you are into fishing you will enjoy the opportunities the river gives you to cast a line. So you will definitely want to bring your rods and reels.
You can choose to fish on the banks of the river or from your watercraft. Depending on where you do this you may need a fishing license.
However you can expect to catch the likes of black crappie, blue gill, blue tilapia, bowfin, catfish, bullhead and pickering.
Trails at Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park
Arguably the best way to explore the park is via its 18 miles of multi-use trails.
Set up for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding, these trails take you deep into the heart of the park and showcase its diverse flora and fauna.
One of the most popular of all of them is The Florida National Scenic Trail, which is wonderfully maintained by Florida Trail Association volunteers.
While on the trails please be mindful that you are sharing them with other park visitors. So please be considerate of them.
You should see plenty of wildlife while on these trails, so be sure to have your camera at the ready. If you do spot any of the native fauna, remember you are in their natural habitat, so make sure you are respectful of this.
Geocaching at Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park
Geocaching is a very popular activity at the park as there are several treasures hidden throughout it.
If you want to try and find them you will need to visit the relevant geocaching website. Once you have done that you can download the location coordinates to your phone or other handheld GPS device.
After finding a cache, be sure to replace it with a treasure of your own. That way you keep the fun going for other people.
Birding at Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park
For those who enjoy birding, the park is home to many different breeds.
Many of these reside within the park all year round, while others only pass through during the migratory season.
Depending on the time of the year you visit the park, you should see several types of wading birds, songbirds and birds of prey.
Nature & Wildlife
The park provides a natural habitat for a diverse range of wildlife species.
This includes the likes of black bear, American alligator, sandhill crane, river otter and several types of snakes.
Your best chance of seeing them is when you are on the trails or paddling down the river.
Pets at Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park
Pets are welcome to join you at the preserve although some conditions apply.
For instance they are permitted on the trails, but not in the camping area.
They must also be kept on a handheld lease that is no more than six feet in length at all times. Under Florida law, dogs must also be vaccinated against rabies and owners must clean up after them as well.
Camping at Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park
The only camping available at the park is primitive equestrian camping. You will find this just off State Road 44, inside the main entrance.
At this campground there is trailer and recreational vehicle parking. There are also corrals and horse stalls available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Tether posts are available at the campground as well, although you are not allowed to erect any type of temporary fencing.
Horse troughs are found in numerous locations and there is non-potable water available too. Other amenities include a shower facility and restroom.
To stay at the campground, one of the guests has to be over the age of 18 and you need to carry proof of negative Coggins with you at all times.
You will have to bring all your water, food and firewood with you and make sure to take out all your trash.
Tents can only be pitched in areas that are specifically designated for camping and fires are only allowed in the provided grills.
Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park
Sanford FL 32771
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park: