I’m taking a group of kayakers to Port St. Joe in March. I see the islands and the nature area, but are there any other must-paddle places in the area? How about rivers or streams within 50 miles?
St Joe paddling
There is sure a lot of places to paddle. Take the Suwanee River. You can paddle there and have stops along the way for swimming and snorkeling with the kids. This would offer a change other than ridding in a ditch. In the springs areas is where to snorkel. Keep a god eye out for critters above and below the water line. Manatee may be in the area and this encounter will last a lifetime for you and the kids. If you are scuba cert. this is a great outing. I can send gps coordinates on all this. I have accompanied college kids in that area. There are other rivers close by also. Chrystal River is a place there are lots of manatee observations. Try for the group of paddlers in the area that are an organized club or pick up a guide that is a paddler then the lost and found will not happen. (hopefully) A guide would also supply permits/lic’s.
1. Paddle St. Joseph penninsula - Great beach on the Gulf side. Shallow clear water on the Port Joe side with good chance of seeing rays swimming under you. Can do overnight camping by paddling out to the end of the penninsula (get permit at St Joseph State Park). Nice campground at St Joseph State Park.
2. St Vincent/Little St George Islands - Launch at the public launch at Indian Pass. There is a private campground right across from launch. No camping on St. Vincent, but you can camp on Little St. George. Kind of long to circumnavigate St. Vincent and still have any time to land and explore.
3. Ochlockonee SP - About 40 miles east on Highway 98/319 from Port St Joe. Access to both Ochlockonee and Sopchoppy Rivers. Nice campground. Multiple connecting branches of the rivers make for several different routes to be paddled from within the park. Both rivers have “canoe trails” with designated campsites. Great protected paddling if the wind gets high.
4. Appalachicola River - Never paddled this, but “Georgia Kayaker” just finished up a trip down the whole lenght of the river. There may be a trip report in the archives.
Hope this helps.
I wouldn’t count on swimming in March
Why - - - ??
Just curious - Not like the water would be too cold???
I'll be curious to read the report.
I see people swimming in March…
Dead giveaway they are from the frozen north…
Two years ago, we did our spring trip to Cedar Key. It was 17 degrees when we left Cincinnati and 74 when we pulled into CK. We jumped out of our vehicles, ran out onto the beach and did our sun dances, and sprinted for the water. The looks on the natives’ faces had “crazy yankess” written all over them. This trip is to the panhandle, so I’d guess it’ll be a couple degrees cooler. Still plan to hit the water.
snorkel the springs
if you go in the springs the water will be the same temps regardless of the time of the year
Your winter water temps
are significantly warmer than our summer water temps.
I remember going swimming at Itchitucknee Springs in February and people were looking at me like I was nuts.
I remember hearing “That water is 72 degrees! How can you stand it?”
That was the warmest water I had been swimming in in years. I don’t think I would enjoy it any warmer.
Not S. FL
He or she said Prt St Joe in th panhandle.
Thanks for the input
Ichetucknee River - absolute best!
The crystal clear Ichetucknee River, North of Gainesville, Florida, is one of the most pristine rivers in the country - and my favorite river to paddle. I tell my friends it’s one to the ten places to visit before you die. It’s only a couple hours paddling before the gentle current feeds you onto the Santa Fe River, but the natural beauty of the scenery and wildlife is beyond description. If you can, plan to go early on a weekday, because weekends generally are crowded with tube-floaters. The State Park rangers limit the number of people on the river per day for ecological reasons and, besides tubes, only canoes and kayaks are allowed.
St. Joe area
paddletally.org is a good group of paddlers in the greater Tallahassee area. Their website has several trip reports that might interest you. Copy/paste this link for paddle trails in the Apalachicola River WMA.