Two years ago, I came across an advertisement for Wekiva Island. Ever since, my curiosity begged me to experience this local literal watering hole. Today, on a whim, I finally discovered this paradise.
Wekiva Island is located in the Wekiva Springs, FL area, Northwest of Orlando. Many, many years ago it was the site of a local favorite restaurant “Cock of the Walk”. Patrons would dine on down-home Southern seafood while watching the Wekiva river flow by. A wooden platform across the shore provided sumptuous scraps for raccoons which gladly appeared on the platform, no matter the time of day, to nibble away. As a child, I delighted in watching the little critters.
How fortunate for me that now as an adult the venue has transformed into a perfectly adult appropriate getaway? The blissful Florida weather beckoned and the parking lot was packed accordingly. As my best buddy and I approached the sundrenched camp of deck chairs, benches, sand pits, and grills, a smile stretched across my face. That smile did not leave the entire time we visited. A large group of guys played beach volleyball and tons of bikini clad women dotted the shoreline. Since this was a purely impromptu visit, we were not dressed appropriately… at all. Jeans, blouses, and closed-toed shoes did not fit in. This is the land of bathing suits, sunglasses, and flip flops.
We felt awkward and welcomed at the same time. Strolling among the decidedly Southern,yet demographically diverse crowd, we took notice of the families mixed among the couples all while sandy, soaking wet dogs darted in and out of the river. I sighed. I needed to relax and decided to ignore my lack of appropriate clothing. We pulled up to the bar and without hesitation, I knew the beer for the job…. Landshark of course!
I took it all in. Men shared fishing stories. Bikers revved their engines in a friendly competition. Kids splashed in the water. Families and friends swapped stories. Kayaks and canoes continually floated by. Clusters of friends dotted the lawn playing corn hole. Sunbathers soaked up the January Florida sun. Yeah… I fell in love. Then, the gears began to turn. My birthday is next weekend. There are “river-banas” (cabanas) to rent for the day. I weighed my options. Currently, we have plans set already, but this felt like paradise. Sad to say, next weekend’s weather is not ideal so we will stick to our plans, but I feel a Cinco de Mayo party along the river coming our way.
There is plenty of affordable beer and wine, while food is served through local vendors. Canoes and kayaks are available for rent. Adirondack chairs line the river, but I suggest bringing along your own lawn chairs, especially on the busy weekends. I will definitely be back and hopefully soon!
- Black Bear Encounter at the Seminole Wekiva Trail (chasebutterflies.wordpress.com)
- Weighing Rigs & Paddling The Wekiva River – (Sorrento, FL) (rv-dreams-journal.com)
- A Local’s Favorite Orlando Watering Holes (thisfloridalife.com)
- A Very Happy Hour at Margaritaville (thisfloridalife.com)