Paddle Boarding Orlando, Florida: 14 Best Spots

Paddle Boarding Orlando, Florida: 14 Best Spots

Orlando, Florida, is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, thanks to its world-famous theme parks, attractions, and entertainment options. But did you know that Orlando also offers some of the best paddle boarding spots in the state? Whether you’re looking for crystal clear springs, scenic lakes, or wildlife-rich rivers, Orlando has it all. In this article, we’ll show you 14 of the best places to paddle board in Orlando, as well as a unique way to experience the water at night. Grab your paddle board and get ready to explore!

1. Alexander Springs

Alexander Springs in the Ocala National Forest is a wide-open, slow-flowing run. It is also one of the few springs in Florida that allow Orlando paddle boarding, kayaking, and canoeing.

Alexander Springs

You can paddle around the spring pool or venture into the creek that flows out of it. Along the way, you’ll see fish, turtles, birds, and maybe even an alligator or a manatee.

  • Distance from Orlando: 75 minutes from Orlando.
  • Water type: Freshwater spring. The water is clear and calm, with a constant temperature of 72°F.
  • Skills: Beginner to intermediate.
  • Launch point: Alexander Springs Recreation Area. Make use of the restrooms, picnic areas, and camping spots.
  • Amenities: The recreation area boasts an array of amenities to cater to your needs. You can find well-maintained restrooms, parking places, spacious picnic areas, canoe rentals and premium camping spots to make your stay as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. This place has got you covered with its beautiful surroundings and top-notch facilities.

Note: Alexander Springs is a popular spot, so arrive early to avoid the crowds. If you are visiting Orlando without your paddle board, you can rent one from the on-site concession stand.

2. Blue Springs State Park

Blue Springs State Park is home to the largest spring on the St. Johns River and is a winter refuge for hundreds of manatees. These gentle creatures, commonly called “sea cows,” pose no danger to humans, and getting close to them is an experience not to be missed. What's special about this place is that in the cooler months, manatees come here seeking warm water. Blue Springs keeps a steady 72-degree temperature all year. When the sea gets colder than 72 degrees, you can see hundreds of manatees moving in spring.

The spring is closed to paddle boarding in Orlando from November to March, and it will open to paddle boarding from April to October. You can enjoy the clear blue water and the lush vegetation. However, it is worth checking online before planning your visit. Be respectful of the wildlife and follow the park rules. Visit Blue Springs State Park to see manatees up close.

  • Distance from Orlando: 45 minutes to drive
  • Water type: Freshwater spring and river
  • Skills: Beginner to intermediate
  • Launch point: Blue Springs State Park
  • Amenities: This location offers a variety of amenities for a comfortable experience. You'll find ample parking, well-maintained restrooms and showers, and kayak rentals. Take advantage of the picnic tables for a lovely outdoor meal, or make use of the campground if you're planning to stay overnight. If you need a break, stop by the concession stand for some refreshments and snacks.

Tips: To have fun, bring snorkel gear and swim with the manatees. They're harmless but keep your distance and watch from afar to respect their space.

3. DeLeon Springs State Park

Slightly further out from downtown Orlando is DeLeon Springs State Park. DeLeon Springs State Park is a historic site that was once a sugar mill plantation and is one of the best paddle boarding spots in Orlando.

DeLeon Springs State Park

Source: freepik

Waters at DeLeon are extremely calm, making them the perfect location for beginner paddlers or children. The spring is the main attraction, with a large swimming area and a fountain of youth legend. For thousands of years, DeLeon has been a source of drinking water for locals, releasing 19 million gallons daily. For the clearest water, go straight to the spring. The water gets darker away from the spring head because of the plants below. DeLeon Springs State Park provides access to Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge, where canoeists can explore 22,000 acres of lakes, creeks, and marshes.

You can paddle board around the spring or explore the lake that connects to it. You’ll see a variety of wildlife, including birds, fish, turtles, and alligators.

  • Distance from Orlando: 60 minutes
  • Water type: Freshwater spring and lake
  • Skills: Beginner to intermediate
  • Launch point: DeLeon Springs State Park
  • Amenities: Parking, restrooms, showers, picnic tables, campground, kayak rental, restaurant.
    • Hiking: DeLeon Springs State Park offers a half-mile hike.
    • Fishing: Fishing is permitted in Spring Garden Run and from the fishing pier.

Note: Don’t miss the Old Spanish Sugar Mill Restaurant and enjoy making your own pancakes on a griddle at your table.

4. Lake Holden

Lake Holden is a hidden gem in the heart of Orlando. Surrounded by residential neighborhoods, this water stays mostly clean and quiet most of the year, perfect for peaceful paddle boarding in Orlando. In summer, it becomes lively with boats and floats from local people.

The lake is clean and calm, with a sandy bottom and a few islands. You can paddle board around the lake or join the water sports activities offered by Lake Holden Water Sports. You’ll see some impressive houses and boats along the shore, as well as ducks, herons, and eagles. Lake Holden is a great place to enjoy the city skyline and the sunset.

  • Distance from Orlando: 15 minutes
  • Water type: Freshwater lake. The water is clean and clear, suitable for exercise or just for fun with the family.
  • Skills: Beginner to advanced
  • Launch point: Lake Holden Water Sports
  • Amenities:
    • There are parking places, restrooms, showers, picnic tables, paddle board rental, boat rental, and wakeboard lessons.
    • There are a lot of restaurants, coffee shops, and parks in Lake Holden.

5. Juniper Springs

Juniper Springs is one of the oldest paddle boarding Orlando spots and one of the most scenic recreation areas in the Ocala National Forest. The spring is a natural pool with a historic millhouse and a waterfall.

5. Juniper Springs

Source: unsplash

You can paddle board around the spring or take on the challenge of the 7-mile Juniper Run, a narrow and winding creek that flows through a dense forest. You’ll need to portage your paddle board several times and watch out for fallen trees, rocks, and rapids. You’ll also see a lot of wildlife, such as otters, deer, raccoons, and birds. Juniper Run is a one-way trip, so you’ll need to arrange a shuttle or a car drop-off at the end.

  • Distance from Orlando: 90 minutes
  • Water type: Freshwater spring and creek
  • Skills: Intermediate to advanced
  • Launch point: Juniper Springs Recreation Area
  • Amenities: Parking, restrooms, showers, picnic tables, campground, canoe rental
    • Camping: Juniper Springs is one of the nation's top destinations for camping.
    • Day Hiking / Walking / Backpacking: There is also the Juniper Run Nature Trail to enjoy for hiking and walking.
    • History Area: Juniper Springs is a historic site with an interesting story to tell.
    • Swimming: Juniper Springs is notable as a crystalline pool of spring outflow.

Note: The initial part of the run features swift-moving crystal clear waters. Once you reach the middle section of the river, be prepared for rapids. The water is deeper and wider here, and you may need to navigate around obstacles. At the end of the run, you'll paddle through wetlands before reaching Wayside Park.

6. Econlockhatchee River

The Econlockhatchee River, or the Econ for short, is a designated Florida Wild and Scenic River that flows through a diverse ecosystem and has a 19-mile stretch. You can paddle board on the river or explore the tributaries and backwaters.

You’ll see cypress swamps, hardwood hammocks, sandhill pine forests, and marshes. You’ll also see a lot of wildlife, such as alligators, turtles, snakes, fish, and birds. The river can be shallow, narrow, and fast, so be prepared for some obstacles and currents. The river is also popular for fishing, so watch out for hooks and lines.

  • Distance from Orlando: 30 minutes
  • Water type: Water in the Econ is classed as blackwater and gets extremely murky at times. What paddlers come to the Econ River for, though, is the surrounding wilderness.
  • Skills: Intermediate to advanced
  • Launch point: Little Big Econ State Forest
  • Amenities:
    • Wildlife Sanctuary: The river is described as a beautiful wildlife sanctuary. It’s crawling with unseen wildlife, which makes it even more special.
    • Camping: Camping is available in the forest at designated campsites.

Note: This is one of the few remaining unspoiled rivers in Central Florida and a natural habitat for a diverse range of wildlife and plant species. You can spot animals like eagles, cranes, alligators, and turkeys along the river. It's recommended to carry binoculars and a camera to capture the beauty of these animals in their natural habitat.

7. Lake Eola Park

Lake Eola Park is a downtown oasis that offers a relaxing and scenic paddle boarding Orlando experience. The lake is small and calm, with a beautiful fountain in the center.

7. Lake Eola Park

Source: freepik

You can paddle board around the lake or join the swan boats and other water activities. You’ll see the city skyline and the park’s landmarks, such as the Chinese Pagoda and the Japanese Lantern. You’ll also see a lot of birds, such as swans, ducks, geese, and pelicans. Lake Eola Park is a great place to enjoy the urban vibe and the events.

  • Distance from Orlando: Approximately 1.06 miles
  • Water type: Freshwater lake. The lake is actually a sinkhole and is approximately 23 feet 8 inches deep.
  • Skills: Beginner
  • Launch point: Lake Eola Park
  • Amenities: The park offers a wide range of amenities that cater to both individuals and families.
    • Visitors can park their cars with ease, use the clean and well-maintained restrooms, and take advantage of the many picnic tables available for use.
    • For those looking to get out on the water, paddle board and swan boat rentals are available.
    • Children can enjoy the playground, while adults can relax by the fountain or take in a performance at the amphitheatre.
    • For those who love fresh produce, the park hosts a weekly farmers market.

8. Mosquito Lagoon

Mosquito Lagoon is part of the Indian River Lagoon system and is a haven for marine life. You can have the most amazing experience at Mosquito Lagoon if you paddle at night.

Don’t let the name put you off, regular mosquito control sprays keep the area near the water free of mosquitoes. Mosquito Lagoon is a great place to enjoy the coastal beauty and the wildlife. You can paddle board on the lagoon or explore the islands and the mangroves. You’ll see dolphins, manatees, sea turtles, rays, and fish. You’ll also see a variety of birds, such as pelicans, herons, egrets, and osprey. Mosquito Lagoon is also famous for its bioluminescence, a natural phenomenon that makes the water glow at night. During the summer, dinoflagellates light up when disturbed by water. When you paddle, these bioluminescent critters will shine blue, creating your own underwater light display.

  • Distance from Orlando: 60 minutes
  • Water type: Saltwater lagoon
  • Skills: Beginner to intermediate
  • Launch point: Canaveral National Seashore
  • Amenities:
    • Waterfront Accommodations: Direct waterfront accommodations are fully furnished on the Mosquito Lagoon. They offer clean, comfortable, well-equipped, air-conditioned cabins.
    • Fishing: The lagoon is known worldwide for its excellent fishing. You can park your boat right at your own slip and spend more time on the water.
    • Wi-Fi Internet Hotspots: Keep in touch with your friends and family during your stay with wireless internet hotspots.
    • There are a lot of shower houses available.

Tips:

  • Don't forget bug spray for a great time paddling at Mosquito Lagoon.

9. Rainbow River

The Rainbow River has some of the state's purest waters, making it an ideal paddle boarding Orlando destination.

The Rainbow River's waters are so clear that it has been classified as an Outstanding Florida Waterway and a Registered National Landmark. The river is clear and colorful, with a constant temperature of 72°F. You can paddle board on the river or float down the current on a tube. You’ll see underwater plants, fish, turtles, and birds.

  • Distance from Orlando: 90 minutes
  • Water type: Freshwater spring and river
  • Skills: Beginner to intermediate
  • Launch point: Rainbow Springs State Park or K.P. Hole County Park. There are several spots available along the river where you can launch your boat.
  • Amenities: Parking, restrooms, showers, picnic tables, campground, kayak rental, tube rental, shuttle service
    • Fishing is available at the campground for registered campers only.
    • Leisurely strolls through shady gardens laced with azaleas, oaks, and magnolias.
    • Rainbow Springs is an outstanding birding area and is part of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail.
    • The campground is located along the Rainbow River at a separate facility.

Note: Rainbow River is a popular spot, so arrive early to avoid the crowds.

10. Rock Springs

Rock Springs is a natural spring that flows into a creek that winds through a tropical forest. The spring is a swimming hole with a rock formation and a slide. You can paddle board on the spring or take a 3-mile trip down the creek.

Rock Springs

Source: freepik

You’ll see clear water, sandbars, and overhanging trees. You’ll also spot fish, turtles, birds, and maybe even an otter or a deer. Rock Springs is an ideal place for paddle boarding Orlando and a family-friendly spot, but it can get crowded on weekends and holidays.

  • Distance from Orlando: 45 minutes drive from Orlando
  • Water type: The water temperature stays between 68-72 degrees year-round, and the water is crystal clear, making it a freshwater spring and creek.
  • Skills: Beginner to intermediate
  • Launch point: You can launch your board from either Kelly Park or King's Landing. Both locations provide access to Rock Springs Run, where you can paddle all the way down to the Wekiva River.
  • Amenities: Rock Springs offers a variety of amenities. These include parking, restrooms, showers, picnic tables, campground, and tube rental.

11. Silver Springs State Park

Silver Springs State Park, boasting the world's largest natural artesian spring, pumps out 550 million gallons of water daily. The park is renowned for its crystal-clear waters, best enjoyed on their popular glass-bottom boat tours, offering a unique glimpse of the underwater world.

Visitors can also paddle board in the spring or embark on a 5-mile river journey. Along the way, you'll encounter clear waters, aquatic plants, fish, turtles, birds, and even monkeys. Historic sites are scattered throughout, including the remnants of a Native American village and a 19th-century steamboat landing. The park's main allure lies in its picturesque gardens and historic structures that encircle the central spring.

  • Distance from Orlando: Silver Springs State Park is located about 86 miles from Orlando. The driving distance is approximately 75 minutes.
  • Water type: The water at Silver Springs is crystal clear, making it a freshwater spring and river. The water maintains a constant temperature of 74°F.
  • Skills: Beginner to intermediate
  • Launch point: You can launch your board or kayak from Silver Springs State Park. The Silver River allows paddlers to experience a primeval forest wilderness. There are no motorboat launches available inside the park.
  • Amenities: Silver Springs State Park offers a variety of amenities. These include parking, restrooms, showers, picnic tables, and a campground. Other amenities include a canoe/kayak launch, laundry facilities, a playground, a glass-bottom boat tour, a museum, and a gift shop.

12. Wekiwa Springs State Park

Wekiwa Springs State Park near Orlando is a stunning park with crystal-clear emerald springs. It is a natural oasis that offers a variety of outdoor activities. The spring is a large swimming area with a constant temperature of 72°F.

12. Wekiwa Springs State Park

Source: unsplash

You can paddle board in the spring or take a trip down the Wekiva River or the Rock Springs Run. You’ll see clear water, sandbars, and overhanging trees. In addition to paddling, you can horseback ride, bike, or walk along the trails. You’ll also see a lot of wildlife, such as alligators, turtles, snakes, fish, and birds. Wekiwa Springs State Park is a great place to enjoy the natural beauty and the wildlife.

  • Distance from Orlando: Approximately 32 minutes drive from Orlando.
  • Water type: Clear springs. The depth is from under a foot to five feet, and a small 15–20-foot-deep cavern at the source of the spring.
  • Skills: The river is relatively easy for beginners to intermediate paddlers.
  • Launch point: Wekiwa Springs State Park
  • Amenities:
    • There is a parking area available for visitors.
    • Accessible restrooms with showers are located in the camping area.
    • Picnic tables are available for visitors to use.
    • The park has a fairly substantial camping area. Campsites can accommodate recreational vehicles up to 50 feet.
    • The park offers miles of trails that can be explored on foot, bike, or horseback.

13. Winter Park Chain of Lakes

The Winter Park Chain of Lakes has six lakes in total - Virginia, Nina, Mizell, Osceola Maitland, and Minnehaha- connected by navigable canals and surrounded by luxurious homes and gardens.

One of the prettier lakes is Lake Mizell, with beautiful plant life surrounding the waters. You can paddle board on the lakes or navigate through the canals. You’ll see calm water, cypress trees, and Spanish moss. You’ll also see a lot of birds, such as ducks, herons, egrets, and ospreys. The Winter Park Chain of Lakes is a great place to enjoy the urban charm and the sunset.

  • Distance from Orlando: 15 minutes
  • Water type: Freshwater lakes and canals
  • Skills: Whichever lake you choose, the waters are calm, making it the perfect training ground for newbie paddle boarders.
  • Launch point: Dinky Dock Park
  • Amenities: There are several parks and public boat ramps around the lakes, offering easy access and facilities like picnic areas, paid parking, free parking, and year-round bathrooms.

Tips: SUP anglers can fish for largemouth bass, channel catfish, and spotted bass throughout the waters, so make sure you pack your fishing gear before heading out.

14. Lake Apopka

Lake Apopka, the third largest lake in Florida, offers an excellent paddle boarding Orlando experience for nature enthusiasts. You can explore the wetlands and marshes or paddle board on the lake itself.

14. Lake Apopka

Source: freepik

Along the shoreline, you will see open water, islands, and reeds. You will also have the opportunity to spot a wide variety of bird species, including bald eagles, herons, and ospreys. The expansive waters of the lake provide a sense of freedom and tranquillity, making it an ideal destination for a peaceful paddle boarding session.

  • Distance from Orlando: 30 minutes
  • Water type: Wetlands and the marshes
  • Skills: Beginner to intermediate
  • Launch point: Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive or Magnolia Park
  • Amenities:
    • Lake Apopka is a fantastic destination for visitors looking to enjoy a wide range of amenities and outdoor activities.
    • Along with breathtaking views of the lake, visitors can access convenient amenities like clean restrooms and a drinking fountain.
    • Additionally, there are bike racks available for those who prefer cycling, a pavilion for group gatherings, educational kiosks with informative signage, and an observation tower that provides a spectacular view of the entire area.

Tips: Check weather conditions beforehand and be prepared for the open waters.

Night Glow Paddle Boarding in Orlando

Night glow paddle boarding Orlando is a unique experience that allows you to explore the water in a whole new light. It offers a unique opportunity to witness the nocturnal activities of marine life. With LED lights attached to your paddle board, you can illuminate the water beneath you, creating a magical glow. This not only adds a fun twist to your paddle boarding adventure but also allows you to observe nocturnal marine life in a new light.

For an enchanting Night Glow Paddle Boarding experience in Orlando, you can check out Epic Paddle Adventures.They offer various night tours, including the "Glow-In-The-Dark Paddle in Urban Paradise" and "Date Night Neon Glow Clear Kayak and Champagne in Orlando." These tours provide an opportunity to explore Orlando's waters with a touch of romance and excitement, enhanced by the glow of underwater lights.

Safety is paramount when participating in night glow paddle boarding in Orlando. Here are some safety tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience:

  1. Wear a Life Jacket: A life jacket is a must regardless of your swimming abilities.
  2. Use a Leash: A leash connects you to your board, preventing it from drifting away if you fall off.
  3. Board with Lights: Ensure your board has adequate lighting. This not only helps in navigation but also makes you visible to others.
  4. Check Weather Conditions: Avoid going out in adverse weather conditions. Always check the weather forecast before heading out.
  5. Never Go Alone: Always paddle with a buddy or in a group, especially at night.
  6. Stay close to the shore and avoid areas with boat traffic.

Remember, preparation and safety are key to a successful night glow paddle boarding experience. So, gear up and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in Orlando!

Paddle Boarding Orlando with iROCKER

Orlando, Florida, is a paddle boarding paradise with a variety of waterways to explore and wildlife to see. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced paddle boarder, you’ll find a spot that suits your skills and interests. Remember to respect the environment and the wildlife and to follow the safety guidelines.

If you’re looking for a high-quality paddle board, check out iROCKER. Based in Florida, iROCKER offers a range of stand up paddle board that are durable, portable, and affordable, which can elevate your paddle Boarding Orlando adventure. To find out more and browse their offerings, visit their website.


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