Fresh water springs are a popular spring and summer activity in Florida. But did you know there is also salt springs you can visit? There is a 350 foot deep salt spring at Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park that you definitely need to check out!
Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park – The Basics
The park first became a state park in 1992 and is currently just under 4,000 acres. The park spans a total of 4-miles of protected land along the coast.
- Address:8737 U.S. Highway 19 North Port Richey, FL 34668 (main entrance)
- Driving distance to select Florida cities:
- Tampa: 50 minutes
- St. Pete:1 hour
- Orlando: 2 hours
- Gainesville: 2 hours
- Miami: 4.5 hours
- Hours: 8 AM to sunset
- Entrance fee: $4 per vehicle
- Activities: Birding, biking, camping, fishing, hiking, and paddling
- Pet friendly: Yes, pets must remain on a 6-foot hand leash
TIP: Bring cash and exact change for the entrance fee. There is no rangers station and envelopes and a drop box are available when you drive into the park even at the main entrance.
How many entrances to Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park are there?
There are three entrances to Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park so make sure you double check your GPS address depending which entrance you want to visit. See more information below.
- Address: 8737 U.S. 19 Port Richey, FL
- Amenities: Hiking to various springs, kayak/canoe launch (Salty Dog Kayak Rentals is also located here), picnic area, and restrooms
Scenic Drive Trail Head Entrance
- Address: 1033 Scenic Drive Port Richey, FL
- Amenities: Hiking trail and picnic tables
Black Rail Trail Head Entrance
- Address: 6641 State Road 52
- Amenities: Hiking trail
What is a Salt Spring?
A salt spring is also known as a brine spring. It is a spring that is made of salt water as opposed to fresh water. Another popular salt water spring in Florida is Salt Springs Recreation Area which is located in the Ocala National Forest.
The famous salt spring at Werner-Boyce State Park is 350-feet below the water surface. The water is not crystal clear like freshwater springs, but it is still an incredible sight to see.
Hiking at Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park
There are trails to hike at each entrance of the park depending on the type of hike you are looking for. It is important to note after heavy rain it is likely there can be standing water or muddy areas on the trail.
Main Entrance Trails
There are two main trails at the main entrance that are interconnected. The total trails are listed as approximately 1-mile, but there are additional side trails that you can add to hike a further distance.
These trails lead to multiple springs, informational kiosks, displays and more. The two main trails are The Red Spring Trail and Cypress Oak Pass. Both of these trails are accessible at the same trailhead. These trails will take you to the Salt Spring as well as a few other springs including Cauldron, Toilet Bowl, and Reflection Spring.
TIP: Don’t be fooled by the short distance, with the connecting trails it’s easy to get turned around. I usually always start a GPS tracking app such as Strava, but I forgot to do this when I visited and I got turned around for a minute.
Scenic Drive Trailhead
There is one trail at this entrance as well as an informational kiosk. The Springs Trail is a short 0.5-mile trail which can be accessed at this entrance.
Black Rail Trail Head
There is one trail at this entrance as well. The Black Raid Trail is also relatively short at approximately 1-mile with views of the salt marsh at the end.
Paddling at Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park
Kayaking or canoeing is a popular activity at the park. If you have your own kayak, canoe, or paddleboard you are able to launch at the park. However, if you don’t have your own vessel there is a great option to rent from Salty Dog Kayak Rentals. Kayak rentals are available from 9 AM to 4 PM Thursday through Sunday.
I recommend making reservations so you can ensure your preferred type of kayak is available. They have rates varying from 2 to 8 hours so you are able to spend as much or as little time on the water as you desire. Kayak and canoe rentals are pet friendly too! Rates are listed below and were current at the time of this post, be sure to verify the rates on the website here.
- Single Kayak Rates
- 2 hours: $21.99
- 4 hours: $31.99
- 8 hours: $41.99
- Tandem Kayak Rates: Add $10 to the single kayak rates
- Canoe Rates: Add $20 to the single kayak rates (seats up to three paddlers)
How long is needed to paddle?
Unless you are a more experienced paddler, I would recommend starting with the 2-hour rentals. The main kayak route has two directions you can start in. The first is towards the Salt Spring, there are sections of this that are narrower and depending on the tide it can also be quite shallow. You can expect to kayak through a mangrove tunnel to reach the spring and then you will turn around to head back to the launch area.
Once you’ve passed the launch area you can follow the route through inlets out to the Gulf of Mexico. There is a large open area of water you can paddle around and once you’ve reached the Gulf you can turn back around to head to the launch. Two hours is more than enough time to complete this paddle and even spend some time relaxing on the water.
When we visited, they recommended we head to the Gulf first and then the salt springs due to the low tide, so be sure to ask and take a picture of the paddling route before heading out.
If you are planning to rent for the 4- or 8-hour duration I recommend inquiring about paddling to Durney Key. You can even spend some time on the beach before paddling back to the park. Life jackets are required to be worn at all times for safety.
Final Thoughts on Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park
Kayaking and hiking were the two highlights of my visit to Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park, but other popular activities include birding, fishing, camping, and picnicking. Regardless of the activity to chose you are sure to enjoy your experience outdoors exploring one of the many diverse Florida State Parks.
Looking for other State Parks to visit?
If you want to visit more Florida State Parks to visit near Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park check out these posts below.
- Honeymoon Island State Park
- Ellie Schiller Homosassa Wildlife State Park
- Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins Historic State Park
The information above was accurate at the time of publishing to the best of the author’s knowledge. Information will be verified and updated periodically. If you are planning to visit Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park I recommend verifying the most current information with the Florida State Park website.