The park is beautiful, and the paddling opportunities are numerous, but the campground is just fair. The spring is a great place to swim when you seek to escape the summer heat, but you can’t swim here in winter because its overrun by manatees seeking safe haven.
Kayak & Canoe
The Withlacoochee River meanders through an unspoiled forest in rural Florida but still within an hour of Orlando and Tampa.
FLAGLER BEACH — This quaint little beachside community is a refreshing change from the high-rise condos and hotels that populate much of Florida’s coast.
A canoe or kayak trail at Everglades National Park is a perfect way to surround yourself with the sights, sounds and creatures of the Everglades. On our recent trip, a 15-foot crocodile smiled as we paddled by.
Weeki Wachee Springs is famous for its Old Florida mermaid show, but it also makes an outstanding kayaking trip. If you’re lucky, you will paddle with manatees. Afterward, if you’re in the mood for nostalgia, see the show that made Weeki Wachee a place even Elvis had to visit.
It’s time to plan this season’s canoe and kayak outings, and a free set of excellent paddling trail maps from the Great Calusa Blueway is certain to give you inspiration.
Within an hour’s drive of the urban tangle of South Florida, one of Florida’s two nationally designated “wild and scenic” rivers meanders through a spectacularly lovely cypress swamp. You can experience the river in a two- or three-hour loop or paddle the full 8-mile scenic trail.
Don’t rush through the Keys to Key West. Stop and savor the recreational opportunities with a stay at Old Wooden Bridge Cabins, an off-the-beaten-path spot that is a perfect base for kayaking, seeing Key deer or visiting Bahia Honda State park.
All those “lazy river” water attractions at hotels and parks are just trying to recreate the exhilarating experience of tubing the Ichetucknee River in north central Florida. Try the real thing, where you’ll float past pristine cypress forests and look into water so clear you can see a pebble on the river’s bottom through six or seven feet of water.
Biscayne Bay is a boater’s paradise, and that includes those with kayaks and canoes. These quiet paddlers can explore bird rookeries. A Barry University professor has captured close-up photos of many birds during her paddles.