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, Paddle Trails
Peanut Island, reached only by boat in Riviera Beach, has clear turquoise water full of visible sea life. It’s great for a picnic at the beach — even camping. It’s an exceptional county park.
There are few parks in Florida with as much to offer as Pinellas County’s Fort DeSoto Park. And no park in the state, not even Everglades National Park, attracts as many visitors.
Emerson Point Preserve is an exceptional county park, off the beaten path on the southern end of Tampa Bay. There is excellent hiking and kayaking, and the real gem is the Portavant temple mound.
Donald MacDonald Park is one of those cozy little campgrounds you want to keep to yourself. Lush vegetation and access to a natural river with abundant wildlife.
If you have one day or its your first visit to the Everglades, this guide will help you see wildlife and experience the essence of Everglades National Park. We offer tips, too, for more in-depth Everglades experiences.
I’ve paddled a lot of trails in the Everglades, but so far, the Turner River is my favorite. It goes from pristine cypress swamp, through mangrove tunnels to sawgrass marsh, and it teems with birds, gators and fish. It’s everything the Everglades offers in one trip.
Just 45 minute from Tampa/St. Pete, the beautiful river, state park and region is a natural haven that can keep you busy exploring for days. There’s an outfitter to make trip-planning easy, plus it offers cabins and camping.
The Santa Fe River near Gainesville is a treasure for its many clear bubbling springs and its unspoiled beauty. It’s one of Florida’s most beautiful places to kayak, canoe, snorkel and swim. It’s way north, but worth making part of a trip.
A scenic kayak outing on Turkey Creek takes you to Palm Bay’s Turkey Creek Sanctuary, where you can explore 3.5 miles of trails. Along the way, see dolphins, manatees and other wildlife.
The Calusa Blueway is a 190-mile long paddling trail through the Gulf Coast waters around Fort Myers. It’s not designed to be through-paddled, but it IS designed to be Florida’s best kayak trail. You can get free maps of the various paddling trails sent to you.