When you are planning your next Florida road trip, east coast road trip, or a stop in Orlando for a family vacation you will want to check out this awesome tubing spot! Normally when we think about Florida we think Disney/Magic Kingdom or Universal and YES they have some good ones!
But, there are also some other cool attractions for families by Orlando that are Non Disney related. One of our favorites is tubing by Orlando! Our favorite place to go tubing in Florida is down the clear waters of Kelly Rock Spring.
Kelly Rock Springs is one of the top things to do in Central Florida and you won’t want to miss it!
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The Best Tubing by Orlando is at Kelly Rock Springs
Quick list of things to know:
- There are no tubes to rent in the park. You can bring your own (less than 5 feet in length and width) or rent tubes outside of the park (more on that below).
- You have to pay to get into the park: $3 per vehicle for 1-2 people; $5 per vehicle for 3-8 people; and $1 for additional person/walk-ins/motorcycles/bikes.
- No pets and no alcohol.
- Park is open 8am-8pm in the summer and 8am-6pm in the winter. The swimming area closes one hour prior to park closing.
- The park can (and does) fill up – especially in the summer. Each morning they allow 280 vehicles and an additional 50 vehicles are allowed in after 1pm with an afternoon parking pass (given if you can’t enter in the morning).
- The concession stand is open daily from spring break until early October and is cash only.
**NOTE: If the park reaches capacity they do close it. You can call the park to see if they are still letting visitors in or check their website to see if it is closed for the day. In the summer you usually need to arrive early.
Also there have been alligators in the springs. Everything we have seen is no one is too worried about it. And if they know an alligator is there they do remove it. But wanted to be sure you had this information before deciding if you want to go.
Kelly Park is about a 30 minute drive from Orlando but it is so worth it! You won’t even believe you are that close to Orlando when you get the Spring and see the beautiful spring and trees all around you.
You are welcome to bring your own floating device (something like this one on Amazon) but if it easier you can stop at the bar up the street and rent some heavy-duty inner tubes to use. To do that you will go to: Rock Springs Bar and Grill (4939 Rock Springs Rd Apopka, Florida 32712). It is a small older building so pay attention and just look for the fence area filled with inner tubes. Then you know you are in the right place.
These inner tubes are big so bring some bungee cords or some other way to secure them to your car. Our bike rack worked pretty well.
Once you get the park you will have to pay to get in. The price varies depending how many people are in your car. Also note that the park states it usually is filled to capacity by 8am in the hot summer months. So if you are trying to go in the summer you will want to get there early to get in.
We went in December and we were the only one’s there for a while. The water was cool, but not unbearable and with the sun out it was really nice!
Park your car and walk a little ways to get to the beach area – which is in the middle of the inner tubing spring trail. You can leave your things here and then carry your tubes up to the top of the spring.
NOTE: There is no tube rental in the park.
When we were walking on the trail we were kind of confused on where we were going but if you just keep walking up from the beach area you will eventually see the signs and find the starting spot of the spring/lazy river.
There is a nice overlook area so if not everyone in your party is going to be tubing make sure they come with camera in hand to capture some great pictures. It looks like a jungle!
When you are ready to get in you will want to carefully walk over the rocks, drop your tube in, and jump on! We really loved how absolutely crystal clear the water was. You could see straight to the bottom and the colors were so beautiful.
Once you get in your tube be ready to go. The water is moving at a decent pace and your tube is going to be ready to start floating down to the beach! P.S. don’t let kids in first unless you have a good hold on their tube, the current will take them straight down river.
Once everyone is in you take off and down the river you go! As you get away from the entrance spot you really start to feel like you are in the middle of nowhere. There is lush vegetation on either side of you and you can’t see anything but green on both sides.
What Did The Kids Think?
Some of our kids were a little freaked out and did not enjoy it. They were afraid something was going to jump out at them or bite their butt through the middle of the inner tube! I don’t blame them it was definitely a little bit scary with all the mangroves around you and you are just floating down the river with no where to go.
Then some of our kids absolutely loved it! I have to say I was a little uncertain at first . . . but it really was beautiful and such a cool experience.
Some of the kids got out of the tubes and actually swam along next to us for most of the time. The nice part about that was the water was so clear that we could see them the whole time.
End Of The Tubing Area
Once you get down to the end you can decide to go over by the beach (swimming dock area) and be done with tubing and just hang out at the swim hole or else you can keep going until you come to a blockage in the river where you can get out and carry your tube back up by the beach area.
It is nice that there is a swim and tube area!
Can you see why this would be a top thing to do in Orlando besides theme parks?!
It wasn’t super warm when we went and I can only imagine how refreshing the water would feel on a super hot Florida day – though it is a lot busier in the summer!
When you are in the Orlando area block a day out to come hang out by the spring, eat a picnic lunch, and go on the tubing run down the river 1, 2 or 10 times!
Plus the beach area was perfect for little kids to hang out and play. So take a time-out from all the theme parks and try some tubing by Orlando.
What To Bring
Here’s a list of a few things to bring with when you’re tubing by Orlando:
Innertube – It can be heavy duty or just a plain old pool innertube.
Keens – There are a lot of rocks and mucky mud at the bottom of the river. Protect your feet!
Snorkel Gear – With the crystal clear water, bring some goggles and a snorkel!
GoPro – This experience prompted us to get a GoPro. We actually stopped at Best Buy on the way home to get one!
Here is our Friday Family Chat as we are tubing by Orlando!
For more state park fun by Orlando check out the best Springs in Florida there are a lot to pick from like: KP Hole Park – Rainbow Springs state park on the Rainbow River, Ichetucknee Springs state park, Blackwater River state park, Blue Springs state park, Rock Springs Run state reserve.
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