Florida Trip Mid February

We (8-12 paddlers) are planning a mid February trip to Florida and seeking suggestions. We will be camping and hope to avoid the potential chaos of the symposium area. We do more car camping than primitive and I’d say our skill level is average. We all have sea kayaks and would like a mixture of salt and fresh water north of Tampa. Planning 10 days inc. 2 for travel.



I liked
Manatee St. Park on the Suwannee River. Good campground, manatees in the spring and you can paddle upstream one day and downstream the next.

I would also suggest trying out the paddle on the Homosassa river up to the springs where the manatees hang out. There is a public marina and launch a couple of miles down from the springs so you can have a nice paddle up there. I am told it is a lot less crowded than the Crystal River area. When we were on the Homosassa we only saw about 4 boats all day. We had the manatees all to ourselves for about 1 hr. Marina is a little hard to find, but got directions at the Homasassa Springs visitor center.

Do not know about camping near Homasassa. Rainbow Springs SP looks to be fairly close on the map. Have heard good reports on paddling Rainbow Springs, but not sure if you do it out of the state park or somewhere else.


Silver river
is beautiful river to paddle, Ocklawaha also. There is camping at Silver River S.P. Chassahowitzka is another great place to paddle. If you camp at Rainbow River SP you can put in at the campground but since their remodel you have to carry your boat from the upper part of the campground.They have closed off the lower section to camping. I would make camping reservations ASAP. Our campgrounds are full all winter. If you haven’t made reservations by the time all the snowbirds start getting here you might not have a camp site. Enjoy and Happy Paddling

I second the Silver River
Miles of pristine waterway, idle speed boat traffic and critters.

Fort De Soto
I know you said north of Tampa, but you should consider Fort De Soto Park located just south of Tampa. Spent a couple of days kayaking at the Park a couple of years ago and loved it.

Here’s the web address:


My suggestions
for the Tampa area northward:

  1. Caladesi and Honeymoon Islands (Dunedin area, due west of Tampa).
  2. Anclote Keys (WNW of Tarpon Springs, N of Dunedin).
  3. The Upper Hillsborough River-Fletcher Ave. and river north. (NE of Tampa).
  4. Hunter’s Creek (Aripeka, N of Tarpon Springs).
  5. Weeki-Wachee River (N of Aripeka).
  6. Chassahowitzka River (12 Miles N of Weeki-Wachee).

    All the above are along the Gulf Coast, West to North-NorthWest of Tampa, except for the Upper Hillsborough River.