We are moving to the Tallahasee area from Central Arkansas. We spend alot of our time on the Spring and the Buffalo here in AR. Are there any rivers in Georgia/NE Florida that compare to these. Are they safe for kids/dogs to swim. Gators?
I have spent a good bit of time in the area and I think you will like it. Take the short drive down to the St George Islans for the beach and paddling in the river up stream. Cape San Blas is unreal as well as St Vincent Island. Just be careful in that bay. It gets rough quick. If you haven’t been in the coastal waters please be careful. It sneaks up on you quick. Be prepared!
Take the drive East to the Suwannee River or explore the springs of Northern Florida. You will love them. Drive around the bend to Crystal River and explore there along with Homossassa. Manatees in the winter months are fun to see.
You are in for a fun time!
Florida and Georgia have a LOT
of rivers to run and not all are gator filled
Invest in a copy of a Canoeing and Kayaking Guide to Florida.
There is a book for Georgia too; Paddling Georgia by Molloy
Also check this out
I don’t consider gators an issue.
The worst gators are those which have been fed by people from their suburban Florida properties. The gators we’ve passed on Florida and south Georgia rivers are worthy of respect, but very unlikely to attack a canoe. Just stay a boat length away and don’t aggravate them. When you see them, they’re usually sunning. When you don’t see them, they’re hunting fish, turtles, small swimming mammals, snakes, etc.
Paddling in Florida
There is a nice group of folks that paddle in West Forida, the West Florida Canoe and Kayak Club. I know of at least one of our members that lives in the Mariana area (west of Tallahassee.)
As far as gators… Gators are not usually a problem. Leave them alone and they will leave you alone. For the most part they hide before you even know they are there. When paddling with your dog be very careful. Gators think of dogs as snack food. I don’t take “Tippy” with me unless I know the area is not known for gators.
Welcome to Florida
The only thing that I can add to the…
above is do not let your kids or pets swim in a black water river or murky river that is known to have gators in it.
A gator will grab a small swimming dog or kid as quick as it will grab a raccoon or small deer.
It is best to swim in the clear water rivers and springs
Also check with the locals
Canoeing and kayaking around them is not a problem
Don’t get between baby and mama gators, and you should be ok.
nothing to worry about, the wild gators will stay away from you, it’s the pond gator pets to stay away from because people feed them and they lose their fear of humans. The one thing to think about when paddling the rivers is the bush hooks in the trees along the banks, people put them out and do not remove them, so they just dangle there and the line and hooks there and will catch you if you are not on lookout.
This is really a nice area of florida to canoe / kayak
nice rivers and the gulf is not that far away. Welcome to the panhandle.
Also explore to your west, Black Water River and Yellow river are two beauties. Water levels vary a LOT, so keep an eye on the USGS sites.
Gators aren’t too much of an issue in the panhandle rivers. They are there, but not in great abundance like south Florida, or the lakes of central Florida. You may go a long time before you see one.
I wouldn’t let a kid swim at dusk or at night, as a matter of fact, I wouldn’t either. Alligator attacks are very rare, and there is a lot of folks in and near the water every warm day.
My dad’s dog did have a very close encounter with one in the pond behind his house, and needed lots of stiches to be repaired. Dad quit feeding the alligator after that. Some folks just don’t listen.
By the way, do you know the darn things like marshmellows? Whoda thunk it? Other than my dad, of course.
I've kayaked (and scuba dived) many of the area lakes and springs with no problems with the alligators. You just have to keep your distance and respect them. The earlier poster was right about staying away from a mother with babies. Farther south in the Everglades we saw alligators and crocks. The Everglades is the only place in the world where they co-exist. A 10 foot alligator kept circling the dock when we were trying to exit. The dock hand said she had babies nearby but hardly ever bothers anyone. Hardly ever???