One of the best ways to enjoy the outdoors during Florida’s long hot summers is to start planning where you’ll go this winter.

For ideas about paddling trips, you can find inspiration in Paddle Florida’s trips, which were announced recently.

Paddle Florida is a non-profit that supports kayaking and canoeing in Florida by organizing reasonably priced multi-day paddling and camping trips on Florida’s greatest rivers and waterways.

The beauty of these trips is that Paddle Florida staff researches the best locations, arranges all the logistics from camping and meals to musical entertainment around the campfire.  The group even shuttles your camping gear between campsites each day, allowing you to travel light and always arrive to a dry tent and sleeping bag.  Groups are limited to 100 or, in the case of the Suwanee, 200 people.  These trips are a great option for solo paddlers.

Participants bring their own boats and tents or arrange to rent them (for an extra charge) from affiliated outfitters.

Trips for the 2019-2020 season:

  • October 18 – 23, 2019: Suwannee River Wilderness Trail. Price:  $499 adults (with less expensive options for fewer days and services.) Some details from Paddle Florida: The trip follows the scenic Suwannee River Wilderness Trail and begins at Madison Blue Spring State Park.  It ends in the town of Branford, after passing many springs ideal for snorkeling and swimming.
  • Nov. 1-3, 2019: Flagler Coastal Wildlife Experience. Price: $199 adults. This trip explores coastal waters in a region with 125 miles of canopied, connected trails. Based at the River to Sea Preserve in Palm Coast.
  • Dec. 5-8, 2019: Wekiva/St. John’s River Ramble. Price $299 adults.  You start at Wekiva Springs State Park and paddle 30.5 miles over three days. Includes beautiful Rock Springs Run and Blue Springs.
  • Jan. 15-22, 2020: Florida Keys Challenge. Price: $799 adults. Depending on paddler’s choices, this trips covers between 29 and 63 miles of the clear shallow waters of the Florida Keys, with highlights including Bahia Honda State Park, Long Key State Park and Curry Hammock State Park.
  • March 13-19, 2020: Choctawhatchee Challenge. Price $549 adults. The Choctawhatchee Challenge is a journey into Wild Florida where wildlife far outnumber humans. The route starts about five miles north of the Florida border to launch in Geneva, Alabama and paddlers end 73 miles later at Cowford Landing near Ebro, Florida.
  • April 3-5, 2020: Suwannee River Paddling Festival. Price: $199 adults.  Paddlers camp atop the bluff overlooking two rivers at Suwannee River State Park near Live Oak.  The weekend will offer supported 8-12 mile paddling options on both the Suwannee and Withlacoochee Rivers, a concert featuring Paddle Florida’s favorite musicians, and educational presentations from regional waterway experts.
  • April 11-16, 2020: Earth Day Celebration: Flori-Bama Expedition on the Perdido River . Price: $499 adults. The Perdido River meanders past extensive woodlands of pine, cypress, and juniper cedar with many sandbars along the way serving as ideal rest spots.
  • April 18-22, 2020: Earth Day Celebration: Springtime On The Ocklockonee River.  Price: $399 adults. Paddle 45 miles, past tupelo trees, through the Apalachicola National Forest, across Ochlockonee Bay.

People who’ve taken these trips before talk about the camaraderie, the convenience and the memorable wilderness experiences.