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
If you’ve ever dreamed about exploring a deserted tropical island, here’s your chance: Take your kayak down to the Florida Keys and paddle out to Indian Key State Park. Here, you explore jungly ruins and snorkel along a rocky shoreline.
Paddle Florida is a non-profit that organizes a few paddling trips each year on Florida’s greatest waterways. Limited in size and carefully researched, these trips are great for solo paddlers or folks who appreciate a little support in undertaking a several day paddling and camping trip.
Florida’s longest non-motorized trail begins at Big Lagoon State Park in Pensacola to Key West and then up the east coast to the Georgia state line. Changes made to to the 322-page guide include overnight accommodations, including Mexico Beach where one motel is set to reopen in 2020 while another will not be rebuilt in the wake of Hurricane Michael.
There are hundreds of places to launch a kayak, a canoe or a paddle board in the Florida Keys. We pick an even dozen for your next kayak adventure.
This out-of-the-way rural area on the St. Johns River offers good hiking, kayaking and springs. With Welaka as a base, we explored a place little changed by the years.
Whoever named this kayak trail Hell’s Bay was giving you a hint: It won’t be easy. During National Parks Week at the end of April, I paddled this forbiddingly named trail. It’s mile after mile of mangroves with tight twists and turns that make going slow. If you’re heading for a backcountry camping site — a chickee on a platform in the middle of the Everglades wilderness — then this trail is worth the trouble. If not, well, I have some suggestions for you.
We know what the big draw is in Orlando, and it’s not nature. But it should be! Even if your main destination is a theme park, here are eight natural experiences and places that would make memorable additions to a visit to Central Florida