Free guide to Florida's Hidden Coast

We have spent the past seven winters exploring “The Hidden Coast”,the Gulf of Mexico coast of north-west Florida, between Cedar Key and the Aucilla River. It is a superb sea kayaking area, but we have never met another sea kayaker on the coast in seven winters. We have just completed the production of the first guide book to sea kayak day paddles on this coast. The book, a free download, is our gift to the paddling community. It celebrates 50 years since Nick built his first skin-on-frame kayak and set off, aged eleven, solo, into the tidal estuaries of southern England. As such, we do not wish to profit financially from this venture. The book, and its waypoints, are free downloads from the Internet. Some features of the guide are:

1.Readers have the right to photocopy or print the book on their printers for personal, non-commercial use. Another way to produce a printed bound copy is to download the book (a 2.28 Mb PDF file) to a flash drive or CD, and take it to a local copy-shop or printer to produce the book in your choice of size and paper. We choose letter size (eight and a half by eleven inches high), color card covers with comb binding and clear plastic dust covers. There are 50 pages. Our personal copy is on waterproof paper.

2. Any printed copy of the book is designed to be spiral or comb bound so as to open flat to facilitate photocopying and subsequent laminating of individual charts and trip descriptions.

3.Opening the book reveals a chart to the left, and the related trip description to the right, for ease of reading and copying or printing. To view the book on your computer monitor in this format using Adobe Reader, select View > Page Layout > and check “Facing”. A zoom level of 75% suits our laptop screen.

4. The charts are bare black and white outlines, for ease of copying and reading at sea.

5. The waypoints are available as a file download (GPX format) from the Internet direct via a cable to a GPS set, avoiding the potential errors and labor of manual entry.

6. Details of how to download the book and the 98 waypoints are at

7. Following the download link will also provide information for those who do not wish to download the book, but would prefer to receive a bound copy by mail, at no profit to us. We have no financial interest in this or any other aspect of the book.

We hope you like the book.

Nick and Sandra Crowhurst.

How very cool! Thanks. I look forward to downloading it when I get home from work.


Congratulations Nick
I have already seen the book and it is wonderful.

To any of you paddlers who either paddle the Florida “hidden coast” area or would like to, I highly recommend either downloading a copy or picking one up.

I also want to thank you for offering it to the paddling world free of charge.

For those of you who don’t know Nick, he and his lovely wife Sandra are a delight to paddle with.

Thanks again Nick,



I downloaded and printed your book, looks like a

great read. I was kayaking in Cedar Key last spring and really liked the place.

Thanks Nick…
I heard it was coming and it may come in handy.

Thanks a bunch…

Rick, Key Largo…

Great Job
I have downloaded your book and it looks great. Thanks a lot! We have wanted to paddle this area but couldn’t find a good map or directions. This should help.

For the last 6 or 7 winters we have paddled from Crystal River south to the Chaz. It looks like the same kind of paddling. For the area we have paddled there is a great map ‘Boating and Angling Guide to Citrus County’ which is free at some of the paddle shops and the NWR Crystal River. We also have experienced having it almost all to ourselves.

Thanks again!

I just downloaded your guide, and I wanted to say thanks. My wife and I live in Tallahassee, FL and paddle the coastal regions of the panhandle. We’ve made a few trips over to the area your book describes, but not many. I can assure we will certainly venture over there more often! Once again, thanks from a panhandle paddler.


Thanks !
I hope your good deed does in fact go unpunished .


Thank You!!!
Offering your book to the paddling community for free is a truly noble deed! I’m ordering two copies; one for a friend who lives in Gainesville, FL and one for me. If you’d like some company while paddling in FL, let me know, I live in Miami.

Thank you,

Pedro Almeida

Nick and Sandra
What a wonderful and generous endeavor. If everyone did the same–with half as much detail and proficiency as you both have–for theri local paddling spots, the world would be a richer place.

Consider a website with guidelines for how you do it–how you chart and describe your paddling spots–and help others do the same for their paddling spots, with your guidance–and you could start a free user-contributed library (heck, you can charge for ad space) that would chart paddling destinations. Key is that data entry must be consistent (not like PLaces2Paddle, which is a free-for-all, mostly), so that’s where you need to ask questions (sort of like Turbotax) that will allow the proper info.

Look, you give a great gift to the paddling world and here I go asking you to create a paddling version of Google.

Anyhow, your website is mighty fine, so you have some skills that most of us do not. Like the download, and I will use it when and if I travel to the Hidden Coast. You both rock!

I’ve just downloaded the guide. Having put together a few far less comprehensive, “quick & dirty”, non-GPS guides for local paddling spots for friends, I am truly appreciative of your marvelous gift to the paddling community.

I would encourage you to contact the Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail folks to see if they’re interested in incorporating your work as part of the effort to get paddlers on the water all 'round the state with your focus on the Big Bend and environs. However, after having retired from more than a quarter century of work in government, I fully understand potential red tape roadblocks and lurking bureaucratic SNAFUS that might hinder integrating your fine work with that of the State. But I’d say give it at least an initial go -giving the good folks there the opportunity of first refusal, if nothing else.

OK -now c’mon down to SE Florida, and do the same for us mostly urban paddlers! Perhaps the coast isn’t NEARLY as hidden, nor pristine, but it can be interesting & challenging (I’ll say…!) at times, and paddling here would surely benefit from your sure & knowledgeable hands were you to put such a book together for us, too!

Again, many thanks on behalf of all of us for putting together a fine guide that can help us -when we finally discover and UN-cover -the Hidden Coast -to have a far better time there when we


-Frank in Miami

Look forward to downloading it
…from the library’s WiFi.

Thank you for sharing your stash!

Your response
We are very grateful for your encouraging responses to the book. We always feel very vulnerable when posting on the Internet. We produced the book on two used hand-me-down broken laptops in our travel trailer in a field. One laptop would run the graphic software but not the charts, and the other would run the charts but not the graphics. We moved between the two machines using a flash drive. This was not ideal! We certainly welcome the ideas you have put forward. We are thinking about a standard format for describing trips, (perhaps XML based, for those techies out there), so that we can exchange information, regardless of hardware, software and operating systems. We’ll take some advice on that.

Extending the range of the book 10 or 20 miles further north and south for a second edition will not be difficult from the publishing aspect. However, we use Google Earth, plus other people’s local knowledge, to locate interesting destinations for non-shuttle day trips, and the extended areas didn’t seem to offer suitable destinations for quality trips. We would welcome information to the contrary.

We hope to meet some of you on the water one day.

Thanks again. From Nick and Sandra.