has been our intrepid theme parks reporter for the past year. We love her insight, insider tips and detailed descriptions of rides, treats and entertainment venues. But, when Covid-19 put the kaibosh on park attendance, Jess sat still for a bit (like we all did) and considered options.
After discussion, and because the truest rollercoaster ride of 2020 has been the uncertainty of how this virus spreads, who it attacks and how to best avoid it, we decided to shift focus away from the parks and onto more solitary recreational activities.
Jess lives in Orlando and recently decided to venture outside of her park comfort zone and explore some of Central Florida’s more natural environs.
There have been tons of things I’ve wanted to do around Florida that I haven’t made time to experience.
I love the outdoors, and I’ve been taking this time to get outside more and explore natural Florida.
Since I’m more of a planner, I don’t just like to jump in and see what unfolds. So, after some research, I decided to book a kayak tour to explore Rock Springs Run State Reserve in Sorrento, right outside of Apopka (and about 90 miles northwest of Melbourne).
After more research, I opted to for a tour with Get Up and Go Kayaking, and it was an excellent choice.
Get Up and Go Kayaking operates from 11 different locations around Florida, one of which is a bioluminescent tour in Titusville which I definitely have on my list to check out. I was lucky enough that one of their tours explored a beautiful waterway that was nearby, so I decided to check it out.
Get Up and Go is the original clear kayak tour company. This is a wonderful way to kayak, with no obstructions between you and what’s underneath you in the water.
The Rock Springs tour is a great way to immerse yourself in the ancient, natural beauty of Florida, and winds you up mainly crystal-clear water which is, the majority of the time, between two to four feet deep. It’s meant for beginner/intermediate paddlers with the first half of the two to two-and-a-half-hour tour going completely upstream. If this is your first time on a kayak, it might seem a bit challenging, but trust me, the trip upstream makes the relaxing drift back really worth it.
Each tour is capped at 10 paddlers, which makes it easy to stay with the group, hear your guide and not feel overwhelmed. An additional bonus is the ease of social distancing while paddling a 10-12-foot kayak!
I’m no stranger to kayaking, but it has been quite some time since I ventured out in one. Following the expertise and instructions of a qualified tour guide made me feel so much better about being out on the water.
Our tour guide was very accommodating to our early struggles and even helped us in and out of the kayaks. He was very knowledgeable about the area and the history of the springs and made sure the whole group stayed together and enjoyed the adventure.
Tours are scheduled from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. We booked an 11 am tour, but I can understand the appeal of booking the first run at 8 am, where you are the only paddlers out on the water.
By 11, there were more locals out on paddleboards and kayaks and at King’s Island, the canoe and kayak launch where you start the tour, they were in full swing assisting walk in customers.
Starting the tour at King’s Island, you paddle upstream towards the springs and as you do, you notice the water changing before your eyes. The first stop isn’t too far from the start, and a quick stop allows a brief paddle break and the first deeper water swim of the day. Then it’s back onboard your kayak to continue upstream.
You’ll know it when you start to float on the crystal-clear water that this is one of Florida’s most beautiful kayaking spots. If you’re lucky enough to have the sort of beautiful day we did, the sun will shine down on the water, turning it the deepest blue-green color. Soon after, you’ve arrived at your second stop to enjoy the water and sun for a bit.
Paddling again to the turning point, there is another quick stop before heading back downstream where you’ll have the opportunity to jump from a tree into the gorgeous water. It’s quite frightening but also great way to put an exclamation point on your tour.
Get Up and Go Kayaking donates a portion of each booking to Florida Land & Springs conservation.
For more information about tours and pricing: www.getupandgokayaking.com.
Jess is an adventure-seeking, theme park loving, star gazing, geek from New Jersey who moved to Florida to never be bored. She is constantly outside, and you can usually find her at Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando when she’s not working.