Pick up an inner tube ($5) at the roadside bar about a half-mile before the entrance to the park and float the shallow 1 mile stream formed by Rock Spring. (400 E Kelly Park Rd, Apopka). $5 a vehicle open 8am -8pm Mar – Oct and then 8am – 6pm Nov – Feb, the water closes 1 hour before the park closes.
The trip takes about 25 minutes at a leisurely float. There are exits from the river along the way, and an excellently maintained network of boardwalks (with flooring designed to protect the barefooted) lets you carry your tube back to the beginning for another go. You can also go down without a tube but, for most adults at least, the stream is too shallow for swimming during most of its course. At the middle of the tubing course, the stream blossoms into a series of lagoons and pools that form the centerpiece of the park. This is the place to come for a cooling, if somewhat crowded, swim. Or join the sunbathers thronging the shores and islands.
At the weekends and during the summer the park fills with locals creating a party atmosphere, but during the winter your only company might be the otter swimming along beside you, the turtles lounging on the rocks and the deer grazing along the creek’s edge. Kelly Park is about a 40 minute drive northwest of Orlando, a quarter mile east of County Road 434 on Kelly Road