Paddling Advice--Florida

I am traveling to Dade City, Central Florida, next week. A paddler in IN, am wanting to experience some Fl. paddling. My gear will be here as I am flying down to will need to rent equipment. Wanting advice from someone who is either living down there or has traveled and paddled there and had a great experience to point me in a direction. Local paddling Club or Outfitter recommendation would be grand!

Thanks for any help!

As a semi-retired canoe tour guide

– Last Updated: Feb-18-06 3:27 AM EST –

May I suggest the Chassahowitzka River off US 19. Lots of springs, lots of wildlife with at least six creeks (with springs) to explore. The river itself is seven miles long and the last couple of miles runs through the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge, which in itself contains 250 species of birds, 50 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 25 species of mammals. Sound interesting?
To get there just head west on US 98/SR 50 until you get to the outskirts of Brooksville and take US 98 north through the town. You should be heading roughly NNW on US 98 when you leave the north side of town. Drive to US 19 and cross it onto Miss Maggie Drive. Follow the brown and yellow signs directing you to the campgrounds and boat ramp. They have canoe rentals there. The last time I was there with a group they charged either $24 or $28 per canoe for a full day (8:00AM - 5:00PM). Don't be surprised if you see manatee, dolphin, otter, eagle,or even a whooping crane. If you want a guide email me. If not I can still send you some info on other rivers in the area.

Paddling in Florida

Get in touch with the group Florida Trail online-they hike but also paddle.

Also Steve Cox in Vero Beach, has been running kayak operation for 20 years and could gve you good leads if you didnt want to rent from him.