This is your first step in planning adventures for the coming cooler weather. We’ve paddled dozens of Florida waterways and here’s our pick for the best places to kayak by region plus a few “unsung” favorites we recommend you discover.
Kayak & Canoe
It takes some chilly water to cool you off during a Florida summer day, but these spring-fed Florida rivers have that and more. These four springs are among the most beautiful spots in Florida and are ideal locations for tubing. They’re so popular, however, you need to do your homework before going.
The 1,140-acre park in eastern Hilllsborough County has a multi-use trail for hiking and cycling, and launch point for the Alafia River Paddle Trail.
The beach town of Marco Island is all manicured and modern, but here are four adventures into the wild and authentic Florida that are within a quick drive. You can wade across a lagoon to a wild beach or have lunch in a funky fishing town or stroll on a boardwalk into a beautiful old growth cypress swamp.
This Miami state park, 10 minutes from sprawling Aventura Mall, is a remarkable island of green where you can kayak, mountain bike, picnic and enjoy a sandy beach. There are even rustic cabins to rent.
All those “lazy river” water attractions at hotels and parks? They’re just trying to recreate the exhilarating experience of tubing the clear, wild Ichetucknee River in north central Florida. Try the real thing. Summer tubing season starts the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.
The nation’s first wildlife refuge was created by President Teddy Roosevelt to stop plume-hunters from wiping out several species of birds. The birds are back, and spring is a great time to visit. (You’ll need a kayak for a closeup look.)
Kayaking the Chaz on the central Gulf Coast takes you over turquoise springs, down twisty creeks, and you might just see a manatee, otter or bald eagle. This is one of Florida’s premier kayaking rivers.
A kayak paddle in the nearby waterways is a way to reduce traffic hassles and still experience some of the Fort Lauderdale Air Show May 6-7. Here’s how to do it.