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
You’ll discover a natural world without traffic and crowds when you’re kayaking Deer Prairie Creek in North Port. This tributary of the Myakka River is quiet, off-the-beaten track and not widely known outside its neighboring area.
The Dora Canal could be the prettiest one mile you’ll paddle in Florida. The waterway connects Lake Dora and Lake Eustis in Tavares, just west of Mount Dora.
Florida winters were meant for this: Discovering wild and scenic places by kayak. To help you plan fun Florida kayak trips, I’ve selected three of my favorite kayak destinations in Southwest Florida. These aren’t well-known but deserve to be.
Hidden among the tidal marshes, Tomoka State Park offers a shady campground, miles of paddle trails, biking and hiking, and a productive fishery.
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.
Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park — the biggest state park in Florida — is a vast, wild place near Everglades City. Year after year, we drove right past, but there are three great reasons to spend time here. We’re glad we did.
New cabins bring the “comfort camping” experience to this big, varied state park where you can kayak on a wild river, bicycle, hike for miles and explore an interesting area.
The clear waters flowing out of Alexander Springs are the start of a great paddling trail inside Ocala National Forest. It’s an easy stream to paddle with lots of wildlife, especially birds and fish.