Florida Trip - Looking for Suggestions

My husband and I are thinking of doing a trip to Florida in mid-March and we’re looking for a river we could do in about five days, with camping along the way.

I’m wondering if anybody has any suggestions for someplace in the northern area of Florida, from the border with Georgia up to, say, Orlando.

Any help is appreciated!

Wife & I have enjoyed canoe camping the Upper Suwannee river on 3 occasions. Think it’s ~ 85 miles from Fargo, GA to Suwannee River SP & the “river camps” w/ hot showers & screened tent platforns(still free this past April) were very nice

There’s lots of info online

white water?
thanks, glen. have you run into any rapids on the upper suwanee? my husband has skills but i don’t and really don’t want to tip around alligators.

only one rapid
on the Suwannee. It’s Big Shoals & reportedly the largest rapid in FL. Depending on water level it can range from just a boney shoal, up to Class 2+, or be completly washed out when only sign it’s there are a few balls of swirling foam. Regardless, there’s a portage (approx 150 yds+/-)around it complete w/ a scenic campsite on river left

A websearch will yield lotsa info & trip reports down Suwannee

Florida Paddling
You may also want to look around the Carrabelle area some nice quit rivers or ocean as well the 3 mile paddle to dog island is a great salt water trip. I will be in this area all of March, I am from eastern Ontario. E-Mail if you like.


North Florida…

– Last Updated: Sep-08-09 8:57 PM EST –

Has a lot to offer for multi-day float trips.
I've done the Blackwater River near Crestview, and the Chipola over by Mariannna. Beutiful green forest, red water, blue skies, and white sand. Lovely.
Great Stuff. Of course, start getting an education of water levels, and seek advice from paddle clubs around Talahassee.
I hear the Yellow river is better than the Blackwater, and the Apallachicola is very nice. I hope to run one of these in the near future.
I live in near Orlando, and offer the Ocklawaha as a river worth spending two or three days on. Perhaps the Withlacoochie, but the water levels vary greatly, and it's probably going to be a lot shorter run in the spring than it is now.
Lots of day trips on spring runs, rivers, and coastal waters.
E=mail me if you need more detail.
Edit: Recommend Canoeing and Kayaking guide to the Streams of Florida Vol. 1 by Elizabeth Carter and John Pearce. Shop on Amazon for used.
Also, don't sweat the 'gators. They eat fish, snakes, and turtles mostly. Treat them with the respect that you'd give any other large carinvore, and you'll be fine. Come to think of it, on the panhandle rivers, I don't remember seeing any aligators. Saw some tracks, though.

river trips
Thanks for all the responses so far.

We’re not really thinking the Panhandle - more the Suwannee area, maybe the Manatee or the Homosassa.

The Suwannee is attractive as it seems so well set up for doing multi-day trips. Are their other rivers that are so easy (with camping spots, etc)?

I will check out the Ocklawaha, t, and thanks for the advice re. gators. We’ve decided not to bring our dog so that’s one snack removed from the equation :slight_smile:

FL is a paddling paradise
There are an infinite (well, almost) # of great paddling destinations in FL. Wife & I have been visiting for some Winters now, paddled 80+ different freshwater rivers, streams, & lakes & have barely scratched the surface of what’s available. When you include saltwater you’d need 2 lifetimes to explore it all

A number of great destinations have been mentioned & more are described in places to paddle section here.

However, if you want a river, rather than a coastal destination, & want to spend 5 days (assuming 15-20m/day) your choices are more limited. Suwannee is extremely well suited to such a trip. Much of the shoreline on upper river is public land, suitable for at large camping. (you’ll wish you could stop @ every sandbar) Development is fairly limited. Shuttles easy to arrange

If you asked for 5 daytrips, I recommend differently but for your criteria, IMO Suwannee is best bet, by far. Enjoy !

Amen to that…
if you are coming to Central Florida, we’d love to show you some wonderful day trips.

Multi day trips get a bit harder as you move south. The land is flatter, rivers are more likely bordered by swamp or marsh. The gulf is not far away, and many rivers have short runs to the salt water, or to a major river like the St. John’s. The Withlacoochie is dependant on rainfall more than some others.

If you look into the Ocklawaha, add a day to paddle up the Silver River, and back down. Amazing place for wildlife, if you get out early.

Best of luck,


the suwannee it is!
Thanks, everybody! We have decided to do our trip on the Suwannee. Now the planning begins :slight_smile: Watch for further messages.

Check out trip report for useful info:
I just posted for someone else about the Suwannee - great choice! I have a trip report and photos on my website as well as a trip report on this paddling.net in places to paddle - Florida.

My website - see trip report especially at the bottom for people to call for info, brochures, shuttle. Not much to plan except shuttle, put in, take out and how far you want to paddle each day. Usually lots of places to camp at northern end but fewer at lower half which means longer paddle days to get to a campsite. I hear there are more River Camps now and I highly recommend them - we loved the one we stayed at.


You’ll have a great trip. Let us know how it goes. We may be doing the Suwannee again next year and could use updated info.


suwannee trip
I used to do the Suwannee two or three times a year

from the sill in Ga. to the Gulf. Beautiful river

sand is so clean and white it squeaks when you walk on it.

I used to leave my vehicle at the canoe outpost in the Suwanne River Music Park.

They ran the shuttle for me and left the vehicle at the take out the day of my arrival.

Here is a site that might assist you. He did a movie and a book on his suwannee trips and has pictures of Big Shoals on the site. You also have little shoals down river but nothing to worry about there as it is just a really short run. Big shoals can be dangerous at times and you should portage around it. At other times you must portage because they are dry.


Here’s another suggestion
Take a 3 day 2 night trip in the Okefenokee Swamp first. http://www.fws.gov/okefenokee/Trips.html I recommend the trail number 7. You start out from Suwannee Canal entrance and the first night is at Round Top platform, (great 360 view campsite) then Floyd’s Island (stay in an old hunting cabin)then return to Suwannee Canal. No shuttle needed for this trip.

Then go to Fargo, Ga for the remainding days of your trip.


Thanks for the additional info, folks. We are rethinking the Suwanee now - attracted by the monkeys on the Silver River and the run along the Ocklawaha. Wondering what those campsites are like… Free?

And, Kayak Ken, those suggestions for the Okeefenokee sound great, too.


Too much time to think about it (we’re going in March) but I guess daydreaming through a rough Ontario winter is half the fun.

Dont overthink it
The camping areas in the Okeefenokee are limited. Reserve early.

Think like you are going to Algonquin in July.

Suwanee is nice but I ran it at higher water(59 feet) and there were no beaches on the bends…had to go in the woods. Beware fire ants.

You might like this website


The Silver River is a

– Last Updated: Sep-17-09 7:41 PM EST –

beauiful trip. I live only 4 miles from it & paddle there often as well as the Ocklawaha, which I paddled today. I will send a link for a canoe outpost on the Ocklawaha River. There is lots of info on their site plus a map. The campsites along the Ocklawaha are FREE with the exception of the campground at Gores Landing which is $5.00 a night. In the spring the campsites are usually full on the weekends. I would suggest a trip during the week so you don't have to deal with all the power boats on the Silver. The Silver is idle speed only, but there is something about all the motor noise that away from the serenity of it. There is a lot of wild life on the Silver & you can get fairly close without spooking the birds, turtles, monkeys & gators. If I can get you any specific info just let me know. KK http://www.outpostresort.com/

Santa Fe River
Florida is indeed a paddling paradise. Everything everyone has discussed is great.

The Santa Fe is a River in north central Florida, a tributary of the Suwanee. It goes UNDERGROUND for several miles. At another place it has a “suck hole”. It has many small and large springs as tributaries, which you can explore, including the very attractive Ichetucknee Springs River.

Never saw a motorboat on the Ichetucknee, like on the Silver, but there are tubers in the summer.

You could spend several days on the Santa Fe starting from River Rise (where the water comes out from underground), up and down the Ichetucknee, and then down into the Suwannee, which becomes very big and wide in its lower half.

Here’s a link to an outfitter:


An outfitter and great source
of information in High Springs, Florida: