Florida, Big Bend Destinations?

I am just starting to plan a five or six week camping/paddling trip starting in early April to the NW Gulf coast and Big Bend area of Florida, and am looking for some suggestions from any one that has paddled there.

We like paddling to and camping on off shore Islands, and paddling in marshes, rivers, and spring runs, as well as the ocean, (in other words, any place).

Please don’t tell me to look at a certain web site, or get a certain paddling guide.

I am looking for your own suggestions.

Thanks in advance,


N Florida paddling
For good information on the rivers and spring flows, I’d recommend getting a copy of “A Canoeing and Kayaking Guide to the Streams of Florida Volume 1” by Carter and Pearce. A couple rivers to the east of the big bend area that I’ve enjoyed paddling on are the Santa Fe River near High Springs and the Suwannee River near White Springs. The Suwannee has opportunities for an extended canoe camping trip. For an excellent Florida spring flow paddle, do Wascissa Springs and downstream at Wacissa. For a great cypress swamp paddle launch at Hickory landing in the Apalachicola Nat Forest and head upstream on Owl Creek and 2 miles up into meandering Little Owl Creek.

Great Places
We have done many areas from Port St Joe around to St Pete. St George and St Vincent are both places we enjoyed. For an easier time we enjoyed Crystal River. Homossasa is great for longer trips and Chasahowitka (spelled wrong I am sure) offers some great exploring. Rainbow River is fun for a easy day paddle. Ocala National Forest has two rivers I loved. St Pete has a wide variety of places to paddle.

If you want more detail on any of these places just let me know. It really depends on what you are looking for.

Florida Panhandle Paddling
No trip to that area would be complete without spending time in Apalachicola Bay. Camp on St. George Is. at the state campground. Bring your binoculars as you will see a lot of wild life. The best months to paddle that area are from mid-October until mid-April. It can be downright cold during this period, but there are no appreciable bug problems and no electrical storms or other wild things.

If memory serves there was an excellent article about this area in Sea Kayaker magazine a few months ago.



How about the Blackwater River?
Has anyone paddled there that could comment on it?



Saint Joseph pensinsula state park
is a wonderful place to explore with seven miles of undeveloped beach and great bayside paddling! The beach was rated number one beach in the US several years and huge sand dunes make this a must to visit. They also have some cabins on the bayside that are very nice if you can get a night. You can reach them through Fla state parks.

Blackwater river
is wonderful with lots of sandbars with a gentel flow, as is the coldwater although that time of the year it can get up to flood stage with heavy spring rains. Try contacting adventures unlimited just outside of Milton. Ive paddled alot of the fla area and if I can help you at all let me know and I will sugest several areas around their that are alot of fun. Its a great place to visit and the prices are low. It alot like what all of fla use to be before it got so built up. AKgladesman

I agree with you
We paddled there last year and loved it.