Hidden among the tidal marshes, Tomoka State Park offers a shady campground, miles of paddle trails, biking and hiking, and a productive fishery.
Kayak & Canoe
This state park has superior cabins and is a great base for kayaking the Suwannee and hiking. It’s also home to an oddly dated museum on Stephen Foster. (We considered it a funky Florida find.)
Cabbage Key is reachable only by boat. It’s popular as a lunch-cruise destination. But stay overnight in the inn or cabins to discover its true charms. On our visit, we also found it’s a great base for exploring by kayak.
This Punta Gorda creek should be better known. Its tree canopy and unspoiled Old Florida feel offer kayakers natural beauty and wildlife, all in an easy, accessible day paddle.
Telegraph Creek, a tributary of the Caloosahatchee River near Fort Myers, is all the things I love about kayaking destinations – out-of-the-way, uncrowded, scenic, full of wildlife. You may even see llamas, as the river winds past a farm that raises exotic animals! Good news: The best launch site just reopened to the public.
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.
Robbie’s Marina is a don’t-miss stop as you drive through the Florida Keys. Dozens of tarpon, some more than 6 feet long, gather at the dock and lunge for fish from visitors. The restaurant there, the Hungry Tarpon, is highly recommended , too.
Hontoon Island is a terrific refuge for camping or a stay in a rustic cabin and as a base for a kayaking or canoe trip. The paddle around the island is 10 miles filled with birds and wildlife, past ancient cypress and oak trees. This Central Florida state park is near several other great parks, too.