St Augustine and Blue Springs vacation ideas?

We’ll be traveling to visit a friend in St Augustine in early November. I’ve booked us a couple of nights in Anastasia state park and a couple nights later near Blue Springs. I’m hoping there will be nifty places to kayak and just enjoy nature.

Does anyone here have experience with these areas of Florida? What places would you recommend we make sure to visit? We’re beginner paddlers, with touring kayaks, both in excellent health. I don’t want to get over our heads, but I also don’t want to limit us excessively due to not knowing the area.

You cannot go wrong with any of the springs in north central/north east FL. I really like Salt Springs into the St Johns River/Lake George about 45 minutes south of St Aug. I’m assuming you mean the Blue Springs (there are several in FL) near Deland/Deltona? You will really enjoy it. Alexander Springs is really good too (only paddle where I have seen a bear about 10 feet away). Those are easy paddles for beginners. Juniper Springs too.

The Ocklawaha into Silver Springs is a good paddle, but a bit confusing the first time so suggest you go with someone who knows the route.

Lots of great sea kayaking in surf around St Aug & Matanzas. Brush up on your skills for next trip.

St John’s river and Blue Springs St Park are great but you can’t paddle up Blue Springs if there are manatees, typically before Thanksgiving to March. Always wanted to paddle Mosquito Lagoon at Canaveral but never did. Intercoastal has too many big boats, St John’s not so bad.

Pelicer Creek near St. Augustine is very pretty, and if you mean Blue Spring in Orange City, there is lots of good paddling in that area. Launch from the boat ramp at the end of French Ave—instead of turning left to enter the state park, go straight and the road dead ends at the river. No launch fee.


Thanks for the tips everyone! I did indeed mean blue springs near orange city. I hope we can paddle into the springs in early November.
Are there many boats on the rivers?

Hi Ceci,
you won’t be able to paddle into the spring run, it will be shut down to protect all the manatees that congregate in the warm spring waters in the Winter. That said, you can view the crowds of manatees from the long boardwalk. Launch from Blue Springs into the St. Johns river and paddle around Hontoon Island. (9.3 mile loop or you can make a shorter trip). You may see manatees, gators, eagles and more. Stop at the Hontoon Island state park and visit. There’s a hiking trail back to a huge Indian mound (one of the few large mounds in the area that wasn’t hauled away for road fill). It’s one of my favorite local paddles and a beautiful area. Boat traffic drops off sharply on the St. Johns river when it gets cooler, so you will probably have little traffic that time of year.

Mosquito lagoon is also great. Drive south from New Smyrna Beach to Canaveral National Seashore and launch from the Eldora parking lot and you may be treated to a day with dolphins and manatees.

Lots of opportunities, enjoy!

Greg Stamer

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Try to get up Snake Creek. I did it once and tried again two years ago but it was badly overgrown then. It was a gem. Cut a little off distance going around Hontoon Island.
Had a blast with the manatees. While the springs were roped off to protect the manatees they were frolicking in the river with paddlers!

The creek to the springs will be closed to swimmers and kayaks once the manatees start showing up. Depends on water temperature. The manatees scatter out to the river every day to graze so you can still see them. Rules will probably be posted somewhere; definitely don’t paddle over them.

Many springs to choose from! One of my favorites for a weekday is Rock springs run in Apopka. Gets crowded on some weekends, but it’s beautiful. I agree, Salt Springs and Silver River are gorgeous as well.

Bring your scuba or snorkeling equipment and fishing gear. Stop by Crystal River the swim with the Manatees. There are several places to achieve this encounter. Have you ever sung “way down upon the Swannie River” well don’t pass the opportunity to paddle and make the memory. Close by the Ichenatucke River.