Monday, March 17, 2014

Orlando Day Trip: Wekiwa Springs Kayaking + Vitality Bistro

Orlando is known for it's attractions and theme parks. It's also about an hour from the beach. Many people don't realize that Orlando is also close to some wonderful state parks and outdoor recreation areas. One of the most popular is the Wekiwa Springs State Park.

From their website: "just one hour from most central Florida attractions, Wekiwa Springs offers visitors the opportunity to relax in a natural setting, enjoy a picnic, or take a swim in the cool spring. Canoeists and kayakers can paddle along the Wekiva River and Rock Springs Run. Thirteen miles of trails provide opportunities for hiking, bicycling, and horseback riding."

There is a small concession area at the park where you can rent canoes and kayaks. The prices are very reasonable and the springs are easy to navigate by boat, even for newbies. You would be hard pressed to not see any wildlife. On our recent trip we saw our first wild alligators, birds of all types, hundreds of turtles doing yoga, and OTTERS.

It's $6 per car to get into the park, and we paid $23 for a double kayak for 2 hours. 2 hours was a great length of time for us, but it's only $3 per hour more after that! There are other places in and around the Wekiwa area to rent boats, but this is the best deal. There's also a large spring for swimming right by the concessions area. 

After kayaking we explored the town Mt. Dora since we were already halfway there. At the Central Florida Veg Fest in October I got a plate of raw ravioli from a restaurant called Vitality Bistro. It's completely organic & raw, and they sell some of their popular products like onion bread and crackers to go. They serve organic beer and wine, and have great desserts (we took a raw brownie to go). You should definitely check them out if you're in the area!

Appetizer: fruit and cheese plate. This was amazing! The cheeses were shallot & olive and sundried tomato. 

The daily special: spaghetti and meat sauce. That was an edible flower, which I quite liked.

The VB signature sandwich with a side of kale chips.

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