Paddling in Florida??

We are planning a trip to Florida for Sept. We will have to rent kayaks while we are down there. What is the greatest Florida kayak adventure you went on? I was thinking Crystal River area, but we are open to suggestions!! We don’t really know what area we will be going to, but I will probably base it on the response I get here. We have never sea kayaked, but would be willing to try it. I would love to see some wildlife!! I would love to have input about different types of paddling available in Florida.

We did Everglade City to Flamingo a few years back, following the designated canoe trail. It’s a long trip, ~ 100 miles in 9 days. Saw alot of wildlife; bald eagles, manitees, dolphins, alot of wading birds, and of course…plenty of gators!

Everglades 9 days
I guess I should have stated that we would be there for 4-5 days. It sounds like a great trip though, I might have to try it someday!

Turner River
I have also done a long trip in the Everglades and would highly recomend it, but if you are looking for a day trip you can’t beat the Turner River. You can rent boats in Everglades City and the outfitter will drop you off and pick you up. Plenty of wildlife and a good mix of swamp and coastline for scenery.

Day trips close to Crystal River
Look up Rainbow Springs. Start below the springs and paddle up and drift back down. Several places in immediate area to rent kayaks of all kinds. Water is cool and crystal clear to the bottom. Good wildlife and pleasant people. Many do rental large intertubes downstream, rentals for that too. A perfect Florida day in beautiful water. Also try Weeki Wachee, there is rental at the springs, a park there look on internet. You are with the manatees in perfectly clear water and lots of wildlife but with others on the water so you don’t feel isolated. you can also try several rivers in the area or Yankee town has rentals. Many many places in the area you mentioned, just do a little googling for what you want. Crystal River itself is lots of fun. The coast line is shallow but clear and easy paddling, lots of rentals everywhere. You can hardly go wrong in that area of Florida.

SW Florida
If you are looking for day trips, Everglages City is a wonderful starting point. There are many areas for day tripping and overnight trips.

  1. Halfway Creek starts at US 41 wonders through grass, saltwater marsh and bays, tight mangrove tunnels and then out to the bay.

  2. Turner River starts at US 41 wonders down a tight stream into mangove tunnels, saltwater marshes and into the same bay that Halway Creek ends.

  3. Around Chokoluskee Island trip. A short 2 hour trip that can start at Everglades National Park at Everglages City cross a shallow bay and then go around the Island. Stop at Smallwoods for a $5.00 trip through SW Florida History. The return bay is the same bay that the Turner and HWC end.

  4. Paddle West out to the Gulf of Mexico and spend an overnite on a beautiful sugar sand beach.

    I would recommend IVEY House as a base, it is a nice bed and breakfast with wonder staff. They have an outfitter on site, see the following web site.

    Then there is Goodland, FL Just West of Everglades City South of US41. I do not know about rentals in the area, but Ivey House has all the equipment you will need and they ferry to all points. Contact them. In September it is HOT and MUGGY. Bring Bug repellent. I use a bug suit as I do not like chemicals on my skin. The mosquitoes and “no-see-ums” are at their worst at dawn and dust and in the mangrove tunnels most of the time.

    Use Google Earth and search Everglades City, FL

Okala Area
I do not paddle this area but, the Silver Springs River area is considered a great place. The river is clear with many springs. The water is typically 72 degrees all year around. There are wild monkeys that are left from the Tarzan films of the 50s. There is a state park in the area with very nice cabins.

Google Florida State Parks. This site will give you some very good information. Check water levels as there has been a lot of rain and many rivers are very high and not fun to paddle.

Canoe Outpost
Check out

They have a number of shops in Florida.

Sweetwater Kayaks in St. Petersburg, Fl (Tampa)is also a good source to rent equipment. They can also recommend trips and guides if you want. Ask for Russell or Jean, but all the co-owners are great. They are a BCU kayak training facility.

Google Central Florida Paddlers too.

There are a number of great rivers in the panhandle. The big problem this time of year is the water is too high.

florida paddling
silver river is great, Juniper springs is also right down the road with a great 7 mile run, also you are close to the only an hour or so form the only raipds in the area, I’m aprrox 15 min from silver river give me a shout