North Florida

A friend and I are planning a five day road trip and are interested in checking out North Florida. Maybe with boats but if I leave it home, I’ll regret it.

What are some interesting places to visit?

A literally wide set of options
North Florida is wide. From Jacksonville to Pensacola is about 360 miles, so where are you going to be?

Anywhere on the coast obviously has the ocean. If you are inland, central north Florida around High Springs, the rivers and springs around Tallahassee, and the far western rivers near Pensacola are more interesting to me as a canoeist than anything inland around Jacksonville, where I used to live.

There are many guidebooks and internet sites showing Florida paddling spots. So does the DeLorme Florida Gazetteer, which I consider a sine qua non.

Most first magnitude springs are interesting to paddle. You can Google them.

If you are in central north Florida, I like the Suwanee and its tributary the (northern) Withlacoochee, which conveniently confluence right at Suwanee State Park. You’ll need shuttles.

Not too far away are the Santa Fe River, which has different paddling sections with many short tributary springs and suckholes, including the longer Ichetucknee River, which you can paddle up and down. Good riverside camping at Ginnie Springs in that area. You can pay for Santa Fe shuttles with an outfitter. Or you can paddle upstream on the Santa Fe and back from Ginnie Springs if the water levels aren’t too high.

Those last two paragraphs could consume five days of paddling. I don’t know what the water levels are in the rivers, but the first magnitude spring rivers always have water.

if you don’t want the hassle of bringing
boats you can rent them- silver river, cedar springs/ cedar creek state park and stephen foster state park near the ga/florida state line (okefenokee swamp) all rent boats. You might consider bringing your own pfd and paddle for a better quality experience.

4 to go

– Last Updated: Oct-26-16 12:17 PM EST –


Blackwater River with SP and livery

Santa Fe to Suwannee via Santa livery..route here is up into the river rise in the SP crossing Desoto's path then down into the Suwanee passing Alachua springs before picup past the Interstate bridge.

Tubing or ? Ichtucknee SP

The Suwannee is less than the above.

The Okie is tops during bird migration n fall weather. Reservations ?

You need to narrow it down
a little…

Just getting from the Okefenokee to the Wacissa is a whole days drive.

Five days isnt a lot of time

get started. Narrowing down and selecting… Florida has a LOT of paddling

I have always brought my own boat…Seems to give me more pleasure than being at the mercy of some liveries cement weighted boat.

We’ll be spending five days on the Apalachicola River basin and another six by Cedar Key and five just north of Orlando…

pick one
The Okie or the Blackwater …both winners.

If there is only 5 days for the trip then try floating the Itchtucknee.

You’re not serious
Have you floated it??

It’s seven miles. Round trip

Lovely. Not my favorite as the spr8ngs are mostly off limits to paddlers

Barbed wire and chicken wire fences


– Last Updated: Oct-26-16 3:52 PM EST –

bring money the night life is outstanding


I’ve paddled it three times
Don’t need no googly.

If you plan on going down to Ocala area
Let me know. If you need a boat I have a solo canoe you can borrow. :wink:

Ken, after the last trip I’ve decided
my Pungo is the boat for small Florida rivers and runs.

If you go west…
the Blackwater and Yellow rivers are some fine paddling. St. Joe’s Peninsula State Park is very nice. I’m not sure I remember when the Okefenokee was annexed by Florida, I hope we’re still welcome in GA. It’s a beautiful state too.


Lets go again in February
Ken and Jim, why don’t we do another multiday February paddle trip. Last time was fantastic. I am going again no matter what! Sunny days and cool nights!

the annexation happened
when the florida cottonmouths moved in to the swamp.

Should you decide on the Suwanee
American Canoe Adventures at Suwanee Music Park does shuttles either day or overnight trip…

I did a fun three day trip ending at the Music Park starting from Rt 6 a few years ago

Without knowing how far you want to come down, I’d recommend some of the Florida State parks. I went to Silver Spring State Park in Ocala awhile ago and there’s some great paddling there.

There are others in North/Central FL that have beautiful, pristine natural springs. People always think of the ocean when they think of Florida but there’s a lot of inland water that’s great as well.

Northwest Florida
If you are going to be in Northwest Florida, check out the link below. It might help you narrow down your search.

I would be up for a February trip.