The Best Spot To Enjoy Crystal Clear Water & Warm Weather This Winter Without Leaving The US

When the snow starts falling and the temperatures drop, it's easy to reminisce about warm, summer days spent in or near bodies of water. Splashing around, swimming, and cooling off in gentle waves feels like a dream when water is frozen over and the wind howls during the dead of winter. You can, however, escape the cold and plan a trip to the Sunshine State to satisfy your desire for heat and fun outdoors — Rock Springs in Apopka, Florida, is just the place to do this.

Rock Springs is part of Kelly Park, which consists of hiking trails, hot springs, and a plethora of wildlife. If you hop on a kayak and paddle about 8.5 miles down the river, you'll find yourself at Rock Springs Run Reserve, which has an additional 17 miles of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails. Rock Springs in Kelly Park offers swimming in the pristine waters, whereas Rock Springs Run Reserve does not.

Beautiful water and beautiful sights

Rock Springs is simply gorgeous. The crystal blue water is warm and inviting — it's the perfect place to take a dip, as well as get in a boat and paddle. Get Up and Go Kayaking offers 2.5-hour tours along the Wekiva River in clear-bottom kayaks. You can search for wildlife, including otters and turtles, observe fish swimming directly under your boat, and learn about everything you're seeing from certified tour guides. Rates are $59 for children 17 or younger and $86 for adults 18 or older.

The water at Rock Springs is a comfortable 72 degrees Fahrenheit all year round, meaning your winter visit still yields warm water. One perk about visiting in the winter is the lack of crowds. Spring is the busiest and summer is also bustling, but winter sees calmer days and fewer people, making it a great place for an escape.

If you want to spend some time on land, you can check out the 2.3-mile Yellow Trail, which allows you to witness beautiful trees, flowers, and other lovely plants, as well as wildlife such as turtles and hawks.

Camping and admissions

If you want to extend your time at Kelly Park/Rock Springs, do so by camping overnight. Note that the swimming areas and nature trails are closed at 7 p.m. in the summer and 5 p.m. in the winter, so you'll have to plan your day accordingly. There are 26 camping spots, all of which include electricity hookups to accommodate trailers and RVs. You can make your reservations ahead of time here.

For those looking to come just for a day, admission is $3 per vehicle containing up to two people and $5 per vehicle for those that have between three and eight people. The park is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the summer and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the winter.

Whether you're hoping to camp, kayak, hike, swim, or simply sit back and bask in the sunlight, Rock Springs is the perfect place to do one or all of the above. Take a break from the cold and venture to Florida for your next warm-weather adventure.