Kayaking in Central Florida Under $50 for Two

What better way to enjoy the beauty of Florida than renting a kayak and hitting the water? If you don't own your own kayaks, it can get a bit expensive to rent kayaks for each trip. My girlfriends and I put together this list to share our kayaking secrets for five kayaking rentals in Central Florida around $50. If you are obsessed with paddling like me, check out these reasonable kayaking in Orlando rental options.

Kayaking in Orlando with rentals

  • King's Landing (Rock Springs)
  • The Paddling Center (Shingle Creek)
  • Blue Spring State Park (Orange City)
  • De Leon Springs State Park (DeLand area)
  • Wekiwa Springs State Park (Orlando – Wekiva River)
  • Wekiva Island (Wekiva River)
  • Rainbow River (Ocala area)
  • Calema Rentals on the Banana River (Cocoa Beach area)

Updated Fenruary 2024 by Dani Meyering

By the way if you love spending time in Florida's nature check out these things to do at Wekiva Island or our favorite outdoor adventures in Orlando.

King's Landing (Rock Springs)

King's Landing in Apopka is a kayaker's paradise! Picture a crystal-clear, stunning waterway that weaves past large oaks draped in Spanish moss. For $69 for an entire afternoon of fun ($49 for a single kayak), you’ll definitely need to put this on your list. You can also save a few bucks renting a canoe instead of a kayak.

When my girlfriends and I paddled this trail, we saw some INCREDIBLE birds. Be sure to bring your binoculars. There is no shuttle service with this option, so be prepared to paddle back to the launch site – it's a fun adventure.

King's Landing Rentals

Double Kayak $69 – Each double kayak can seat 2 people, max weight 450 lbs.
Single Kayak $49 – Each single kayak can seat 1 person, max weight 300 lbs.

If you really love the water and want to spend 4.5-5 hours exploring the area, embark on the full 8.5-mile paddling trip with shuttle service from the end point. The cost is $79 for a tandem kayak.

Both options above are a self-guided tour, so pack your sense of exploration.

an orange kayay on the Guided Tour Emerald Cut Kayaking Kings Landing
Guided Tour Emerald Cut Kayaking Kings Landing – image by Dani Meyering

VIDEO – See what it's like to enjoy a guided tour kayaking at King's Landing near Orlando:

The Paddling Center (Shingle Creek)

4266 W Vine St, Kissimmee, FL 34741

Stay with me here, I know that kayaking next to the touristy highway 192 might not sound like everyone’s cup of tea, but once you're on the water you'll hardly know you're anywhere near a busy roadway. Park under the shaded oaks and make your way to The Paddling Center‘s rental office to get situated.

For $45, you can rent a tandem kayak for two hours ($30 for a single) or a stand up paddle board for $30.

This is one of the closest kayaking options for the entire Orlando area.

Although two hours doesn’t seem like enough time, trust me it will be. The paddling trails are a lot shorter, but the views and scenery are phenomenal. You’ll wind under bridges and slowly paddle under giant oaks and through Cypress swamps, all part of Shingle Creek, the headwaters of The Everglades. You should be able to explore in both directions from the launch area within the allotted two hours.

FYI: There are alligators in this area, some of them large. The staff members at The Paddling Center usually have a pretty good idea of where you may spot them from day to day.

Kayaking Shingle Creek at The Paddling Center in Kissimmee
Shingle Creek | Image credit: Stephanie Patterson

Blue Spring State Park

2100 W French Ave, Orange City, FL 32763

Manatees, manatees, manatees! Blue Spring State Park is one of the best local spots to see these gentle giants. You can rent a tandem kayak for up to four hours from St. Johns River Cruises. Paddle along the trails using the map provided at the ranger station, and then stick around for a walk along the boardwalk trails and gift shops.

There are so many great picnic spots so be sure to bring along a picnic lunch to refuel after your paddle. There is also a small general store with snacks and a small menu of casual eats. It's the perfect spot to spend the day together.

My husband and I rented a tandem kayak and paddled along the trails and ran into plenty of manatees and turtles. It was breathtaking to see all of these beautiful sea cows grazing below our kayaks in the calm waters. You may also want to consider the cabin camping here.

FYI: the spring and spring run are closed to all water activities including kayak rentals during manatee season from mid-November to March.
Admission to the state park is $6 per vehicle.

De Leon Springs State Park (DeLand area)

601 Ponce de Leon Blvd. De Leon Springs, FL 32130

Plan the perfect trip to De Leon Springs State Park by combining a kayak rental with a delicious breakfast. Either dine at the famous Old Sugar Mill Pancake House or visit the lunch window. After fueling up it's time to hit the water. You can rent kayaks inside De Leon Springs State Park, as well as other watercraft.

Old Sugar Mill Pancake House Exterior with Tube Rental De Leon Springs State Park
Old Sugar Mill Pancake House Exterior – image by Dani Meyering

Hug the shore of Spring Garden Lake, or paddle four miles along Spring Garden Creek to explore Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Reserve.

Innertube float – $3 per person, per hour
Canoes – $22 first hour, $22 each additional hour
Single Kayak – $18 first hour, $8 each additional hour
Tandem Kayak – $22 first hour, $22 each additional hour

Pro-tip: Save $1 – If you plan to grab some food at De Leon Springs, visit the concession stand BEFORE securing your float or other rentals. With your receipt, you'll get $1 off rentals.

Hours: Daily 8am-sunset (Note: The Old Sugar Mill is closed on Christmas and Thanksgiving)
Automatic 18% gratuity applied at The Old Sugar Mill Restaurant (you can join the waitlist online!)

Wekiva Island (Wekiva River)

1014 Miami Springs Drive, Longwood, FL 32779

This is the place to be in summer and fall! From Wekiva Island (located outside of the state park), you can rent kayaks and canoes, ranging from $35 – $50 depending on time of day. Make your way down the Wekiva River at your leisure, perhaps spotting some otters, gators, and other critters. Then circle back to chill out at Wekiva Island, a local favorite. Spend the day at Wekiva Island to enjoy local eats, views and some of the BEST central Florida brews. There is a $2 entrance fee to the park on weekends and holidays.

And despite the popularity of this place there is plenty of natural habitat to enjoy.

Be sure to check out the state park's kayak rental options as well. There are single double, and even triple kayaks for rent here!
On the northern side of the Wekiva River, you can rent kayaks and canoes right from Wekiwa Springs State Park. This is the best option to go kayaking at your own pace. While it is a popular place for kayaking in Orlando, the river is fairly easy to follow.

7 Things to Do at Wekiva Island

Wekiwa Springs State Park (Orlando – Wekiva River)

1800 Wekiwa Circle Apopka FL 32712

The most popular natural springs in Orlando is Wekiwa Springs State Park. This place is SLAMMED in the spring and summer. So try to visit in February or March if possible. You can rent kayaks inside Wekiwa Springs State Park in order to paddle along the Wekiva River. Just be sure to park on the far side of the parking lot, near the picnic pavilions, rather than near the swimming area.

  • Canoe $35.00 plus tax for first two hours
  • Single Kayak $35.00 plus tax for first two hours
  • Double Kayak $40.00 plus tax for first two hours
  • Triple Kayak $40.00 plus tax for first two hours
  • Standup Paddleboards $40.00/ first two hours, $45.00/ 4 hrs

Rentals stop at 6:30PM from June through September, and at 3:30PM from October through May. All rentals must be back by closing time.

Rainbow River

11463 N Williams St Dunnellon, FL, 34432
Just over an hour from Orlando

Pick up your kayak for just $35 for a half day rental and hit the water! Rent a kayak from Rainbow River Kayak shack for just $50 for a half day rental ($35 for a single). You'll be transported to the entry point at KP Hole (a popular spot for tubing, too!), where the team will bring your kayak to the water and help you get settled. The team will be happy to give you a map of all of the canals, so you can work your way through all the breathtaking paddling Rainbow Springs has to offer.

This experience is such a treat. Expect to spend 2-3 hours on the water before exiting at Blue Run of Dunnellon Park where a shuttle will pick you up to go back to your car. This kayaking trip is one of my all-time favorites! There is a $6 entrance fee to the park.

You can also rent a tandem kayak directly from KP Hole ($35, seasonal; call ahead to confirm) and Rainbow Springs State Park ($50 and up, shorter paddle). This destination is just over an hour from Orlando, and worth the drive.

Tubing at KP Hole in Dunnellon on the Rainbow River
Rainbow River | Image credit: Stephanie Patterson

Calema Rentals

Inside Kelly Park East – 2550 N. Banana River Drive, Merrit Island
Near Cocoa Beach area, closest beach to Orlando (1 hour)

Venture out to the coast and experience kayaking on the Banana River. You'll catch views of seabirds and cruise ships. Located inside Kelly Park East, this park on the water in Merrit Island is near Port Canaveral. There is a small playground and small boardwalk out to the water.

Calema offers kayak, standup paddleboards, windsurfing, and sailing rentals. You must make reservations in advance, there are no walk-up rentals.

For KAYAKS & SUP rentals – no prior experience is required.
For WINDSURFING & SAILING – renters must have previous instruction and be able to demonstrate basic skills. If a renter has less than, in the sole discretion of Calema staff, the ability to safely sail, the rental will be stopped without refund.

Calema Windsurfing and Kayak Rentals Cocoa Beach Area - Dani Meyering
Calema Windsurfing and Kayak Rentals Cocoa Beach Area – Dani Meyering

More kayaking ideas…

Feature image credit: Chelsie Alvin