PLEASE HELP! Where to kayak/camp in FL

I’m just curious as to where I could take a weekend trip in Florida.

I’ve been wanting to go kayaking on a 2-3 day trip for a while now, but every state park I call tells me that there’s no where to camp on that river or even in that area.

Campgrounds are ok, and I’ve found a FEW, but I’m more into camping in the wilderness, along the river, in a spot that I find myself. Not a campground.

If anyone has any ideas, PLEASE get back to me asap as I’d really like to go this coming weekend.

Thanks in advance!

Also, I’m in the Central Florida area, so the closer the better.

Well, there the Econlockhatchee River,
the Ocklawaha River, the Peace River, Arbuckle Creek. The Wekiva River and Rock Springs Run offer primitive camping along the river and you can reserve your campsite.

Where do you usually paddle, or are you new to Florida?

And another
check out the Chassahowitzka river.

There are several camping places on the side of the river in the woods

Just be prepaired to be awakened early in the morning by some buba in a air boat heading out to do some fishing or disturbing the wildlife.



Or try the …
Withalcoochie river, the southern one.

I just can’t quite get used to a state that has two rivers with the same name. Or about six “Blue Springs”. Whatever.

Lots of legal camping areas.

And bubba rarely gets the airboat out before noon, but from noon until dark, they own the place.

E-mail me if you want more info, or check out Southwest Florida Water District website.

I know it doesn’t look like southwest Florida, but that’s where you’ll find the info.


good ideas, thanks
Well, I called the Chasshowiska river people and they said there was absolutely no camping along that river, that the only camp ground was the one at Miss Maggie Drive.

I’m thinking Anclote key, weather permitting of course.

I’d also like to know a few others, though.

I live 30 minutes from the Southern Withlacoochee river and havent really been on it yet, but I’ve passed by it more than once.

How would I go about finding a camping site there?

You should have never called them
there are at least three good places that I know of and more that I have heard of.

None of it is privately owned land and to my knowledge even though it is a wildlife refuge, it is never patrolled.

If you want some good overnighters try the 10,000 Islands, (Picnic Key, Tiger Key, etc, etc) out of the Everglades NP in Everglades city, if you don’t mind traveling that far.



That county campground

– Last Updated: Jun-05-09 7:03 AM EST –

is the only campground on the Chaz, but you said you wanted to find a campsite along the river. Jack is right, there are several good ones, and you should never have asked. Just go look, and do it, if it isn't posted. Better to ask forgiveness than permission, you know?

Did you see this thread?

Amen !
We even watched a group of boy scouts heading to that first place down river on the right one year, and in talking to one of the leaders, he said they do the trip annually.

I know of numerous places on rivers all up and down the states in the eastern seaboard where if you ask prior to going, your answer will be no, but yet everyone camps along the beautiful sand bars and high ground flat spots in the woods.



I did some stealth camping last winter following advice from that thread. Also, you can always do some paddle camping/fishing around the spoil islands of the Indian River.

Saltwater Paddle Trail
I know that your original post mentioned rivers, but you also mentioned that maybe Anclote Key if the weather was good. FL has created the Saltwater Circumnavigation Paddle Trail (google it for link) which uses both primitive campsites, state park campgrounds (along the coast), and motels for places to stay. You could probably figure out a segment to do that has only primitive sites. The Big Bend Saltwater Paddle Trail portion consists of only primitive sites, but you need to reserve your sites, which are free, for this portion.

I spent 20 years canoeing in Florida. The Withlacooche river has plenty of primitive camping. From old alligator camps and so on.

The Withacoochee canoe trail offers 83 miles, maps can be found on line. No trespassing means it here! I wouldn’t even think about it. The hillbillies are just that and they will protect what’s theirs. The wildlife is incredible and the Alligators are huge. I’ve seen them as big as my canoe,which is 16 feet but I’ve never had a problem.

Airboats can be a problem but they can be heard from miles away. After a few encounters with them I learned to just pull into the woods and wait. During high water it’s easy to paddle through the woods.

Snakes are everywhere and cutting through the woods you may end up with one riding along.

Over all it’s a beautiful river but I hear the development along the river in some areas is spoiling it. My last trip was in 2000 and we put in in Dunnellon. There use to be a canoe outfitter there. I believe it was called the “Canoe Outpost”.

thanks for all the ideas guys.

Looks like it’ll be raining the entire weekend so I’m not gonna get all that much camping done afterall.

You’re probably
not going to get much camping done until around October ;^)

You’re new to Florida, aren’t you? Afternoon thunderstorms are pretty much the norm during the summer here in central Florida, when the west coast sea breeze meets the east coast sea breeze, and they can be quite violent with high winds, lightning and hail. I got caught out on the Ocklawaha in an afternoon storm last June—I’ll never forget it, and I’ll do my best not to be in that situation again.

Rain …
Rain stop you from paddling? It’s June that means hot, humid and nasty. If you wait for it to stop raining it will be winter. Some of my best trips have occured during the rain because people aren’t there. I’ve noticed something over the years, maybe it’s just me but the closer I get to going the more excuses I think of not to. Solo trips can be the worse. But once I’ve pushed through these doubts and just went I have never regretted it. Hell if were to wait for perfect weather I wouldn’t have done half the trips I’ve done.For me being wet and cold and even lost makes me feel alive …Peace

I believe there is …
camping at, what is it, Silver Lake? Or some such.

Then, there’s Hog’s Island, Pott’s Prarie, and more on downstream. All legal and accessible from the river.

Dig into it, there is plenty of info out there.


What? Jack?
You’re recommending total Anarchy?!?! We must follow the rules! We’re looking at the potential for a total breakdown of society as we know it! You know, you probably don’t even wear a PFD or use front and rear tie downs when carrying your boats! Oh, the horror of it all!


Missed you at the Hooch last year
Will we see you this year?



Just as well
I agree with Sissy, in FL the best camping is from Oct - end of April. The summer has intolerable heat, dangerous storms and intense bugs. Not too pleasant, IMHO.

sounds great!
Yeah Im gonna give the With a try, see what happens.

Im gonna put in at the Outlet river between lake panasoffkee and the withlacoochee river.

If anyone’s ever interested in paddling together in this area, just gimme a shout!

Skeeters are worse
right now than I’ve seen them in years, because of all the rain, I guess. But the early mornings are still great for paddling or biking.

Beachcamper, do you still have the Hemlock Kestrel?