Best Kayaking Trips in Florida

Everglades National Park, Florida

Florida is a kayaking paradise with crystal-clear waters, abundant wildlife, and diverse ecosystems. From the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean and from the Everglades to the springs of north Florida, there are endless opportunities for kayaking adventures. Some of the best kayaking trips in Florida include paddling through mangrove tunnels, exploring hidden coves, and encountering manatees and dolphins. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced kayaker, Florida has something for everyone. In this guide, we’ll explore some of the top kayaking destinations in Florida and what makes them so unique.

 

Top 10 best kayaking trips in Florida:

  • Everglades National Park
  • Rainbow Springs State Park
  • Weeki Wachee Springs State Park
  • Silver Springs State Park
  • Juniper Springs Recreation Area
  • Ichetucknee Springs State Park
  • Loxahatchee River
  • Gulf Islands National Seashore
  • Oleta River State Park
  • St. Johns River

 

1. Everglades National Park

Pond in Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park is a vast and unique wilderness area in southern Florida. The park covers over 1.5 million acres and is home to various plant and animal life. The landscape of the Everglades is characterized by marshes, swamps, and mangrove forests, with the occasional hardwood hammock and pine rockland.

One of the most unique features of the Everglades is the slow-moving river of grass that flows through the park. This river is fed by rainfall and runoff from the surrounding areas, and it creates a complex ecosystem home to a wide variety of species, including alligators, panthers, and manatees.

Visitors to Everglades National Park can explore the park’s many trails and waterways by foot, bike, canoe, or kayak. Several scenic drives and overlooks throughout the park offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

In addition to its natural beauty, the Everglades also has a rich cultural history. The park is home to several Native American tribes and was also an important site for early European explorers and settlers.

Overall, Everglades National Park is a unique and fascinating destination that offers visitors a chance to experience southern Florida’s natural beauty and rich history.

 

2. Rainbow Springs State Park

Rainbow Springs State Park

Rainbow Springs State Park is a beautiful and tranquil park in Dunnellon, Florida. The park’s main attraction is the Rainbow River, a crystal-clear spring-fed river perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking. The river is surrounded by lush vegetation and wildlife, making it a popular spot for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

In addition to the river, Rainbow Springs State Park also features several hiking trails that wind through the park’s forests and meadows. These trails offer visitors a chance to see a variety of plant and animal life, including wildflowers, butterflies, and birds.

The park also has a rich history, dating back to the early 1800s when it was home to a thriving community of settlers and farmers. Visitors can explore the remains of the park’s historic structures, including an old grist mill and a hydroelectric power plant.

Overall, Rainbow Springs State Park is a beautiful and peaceful destination that offers visitors a chance to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of Florida. Whether swimming in the river, hiking through the forest, or enjoying a picnic in the park, Rainbow Springs is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Florida.

 

3. Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is a unique and charming Spring Hill, Florida, park. The park is home to the famous Weeki Wachee Springs, a natural spring home to a group of mermaids who perform underwater shows for visitors.

In addition to the mermaid shows, Weeki Wachee Springs State Park also offers a variety of other activities, including kayaking, paddleboarding, and swimming. The park’s crystal clear waters are perfect for snorkeling and exploring the underwater world of Florida’s springs.

Visitors can also hike along the park’s nature trails, which wind through the surrounding forest and offer a chance to see various wildlife, including otters, turtles, and birds.

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park also has a rich history, dating back to the 1940s when the mermaid shows began. Visitors can explore the park’s historic structures, including an old theater and a museum that showcases the park’s history and culture.

Overall, Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is a fun and unique destination that allows visitors to experience the beauty and magic of Florida’s natural springs. Whether watching the mermaids perform, kayaking down the river, or enjoying a picnic in the park, Weeki Wachee Springs is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Florida.

 

4. Silver Springs State Park

Silver Springs State Park

Silver Springs State Park is a beautiful, historic park in Ocala, Florida. The park is home to the famous Silver Springs, a natural spring popular tourist attraction since the 19th century.

Silver Springs State Park visitors can take a glass-bottom boat tour of the springs, which offers a unique and fascinating view of the underwater world. The park also offers kayaking and canoeing opportunities on the Silver River, surrounded by lush vegetation and wildlife.

In addition to the springs and river, Silver Springs State Park also features several hiking trails that wind through the park’s forests and meadows. These trails offer visitors a chance to see a variety of plant and animal life, including wildflowers, butterflies, and birds.

The park also has a rich history, dating back to the early 1800s when it was a popular destination for settlers and travelers. Visitors can explore the park’s historic structures, including an old grist mill and a pioneer village that showcases what life was like in Florida during the 1800s.

Overall, Silver Springs State Park is a beautiful and historic destination that offers visitors a chance to experience Florida’s natural beauty and rich history. Whether taking a boat tour of the springs, hiking through the forest, or enjoying a picnic in the park, Silver Springs is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Florida.

 

5. Juniper Springs Recreation Area

Juniper Springs Recreation Area

Juniper Springs Recreation Area is a beautiful and tranquil park in the heart of the Ocala National Forest in Florida. The park is centered around the Juniper Springs Run, a crystal-clear waterway perfect for kayaking and canoeing.

Visitors to Juniper Springs Recreation Area can rent a kayak or canoe and paddle down the Juniper Springs Run, which winds through lush forest and offers a chance to see various wildlife, including otters, turtles, and birds. The park also features several hiking trails that wind through the surrounding forest and offer a chance to see a variety of plant and animal life.

One of the highlights of Juniper Springs Recreation Area is the Juniper Springs Campground, which offers a variety of campsites and cabins for visitors to stay in. The campground is beautiful and peaceful, surrounded by forest and close to the Juniper Springs Run.

Overall, Juniper Springs Recreation Area is a beautiful and peaceful destination that offers visitors a chance to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of Florida. Whether you’re kayaking down the river, hiking through the forest, or simply enjoying a picnic in the park, Juniper Springs is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Florida.

 

6. Ichetucknee Springs State Park

Ichetucknee Springs State Park

Ichetucknee Springs State Park is a stunning and unique Fort White, Florida, park. The park is centered around the Ichetucknee River, a crystal-clear waterway perfect for kayaking, tubing, and swimming.

Visitors to Ichetucknee Springs State Park can rent a tube or kayak and float down the river, which winds through lush vegetation and offers a chance to see various wildlife, including turtles, fish, and birds. The park also features several hiking trails that wind through the surrounding forest and offer a chance to see a variety of plant and animal life.

One of the highlights of Ichetucknee Springs State Park is the Blue Hole, a deep, clear pool perfect for swimming and snorkeling. The park also features several picnic areas and a playground for children.

Overall, Ichetucknee Springs State Park is a beautiful and peaceful destination that offers visitors a chance to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of Florida. Whether floating down the river, swimming in the Blue Hole, or enjoying a picnic in the park, Ichetucknee Springs is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Florida.

 

7. Loxahatchee River

Loxahatchee River

The Loxahatchee River is a scenic and tranquil river that winds through the heart of Jupiter, Florida. The river is surrounded by lush vegetation and wildlife, making it a popular spot for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Visitors to the Loxahatchee River can explore the river by canoe, kayak, or paddleboard. The river offers a variety of landscapes, including cypress trees, mangroves, and open waterways. Along the way, visitors can see a variety of wildlife, including manatees, otters, and a variety of birds.

In addition to exploring the river, visitors can also hike or bike along the river’s many trails. These trails wind through the surrounding forests and offer a chance to see a variety of plant and animal life.

One of the highlights of the Loxahatchee River is the Loxahatchee River Battlefield Park, which is located along the river and offers a chance to learn about the area’s history. The park features a museum and several historic structures, including an old Seminole War fort.

Overall, the Loxahatchee River is a beautiful and peaceful destination that offers visitors a chance to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of Florida. Whether you’re paddling down the river, hiking through the forest, or simply enjoying a picnic along the riverbank, the Loxahatchee River is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Florida.

 

8. Gulf Islands National Seashore

Gulf Islands National Seashore

Gulf Islands National Seashore is a beautiful and scenic park along the Gulf of Mexico in Florida and Mississippi. The park features a variety of stunning beaches and islands, each with its unique landscape and character.

Visitors to the Gulf Islands National Seashore can swim, sunbathe, and relax on the park’s many beaches, known for their white sand and crystal clear waters. The park also offers a variety of water activities, including kayaking, snorkeling, and fishing.

In addition to its beaches, Gulf Islands National Seashore also features several historic structures and sites, including Fort Pickens, which was built in the 1800s to protect the area from foreign invaders. Visitors can explore the fort and learn about its history through exhibits and guided tours.

The park also offers several hiking trails that wind through the surrounding forests and offer a chance to see a variety of plant and animal life, including sea turtles, dolphins, and birds.

Overall, Gulf Islands National Seashore is a beautiful and peaceful destination that offers visitors a chance to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the Gulf of Mexico. Whether swimming in the ocean, exploring historic sites, or enjoying a picnic on the beach, Gulf Islands National Seashore is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Florida or Mississippi.

 

9. Oleta River State Park

Oleta River State Park

Oleta River State Park is a beautiful and unique North Miami, Florida park. The park is centered around the Oleta River, a calm, peaceful waterway perfect for kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding.

Oleta River State Park visitors can rent a kayak or canoe and explore the river, which winds through various landscapes, including mangrove forests and open waterways. The park also offers several trails for hiking and biking, which wind through the surrounding woods and offer a chance to see a variety of plant and animal life.

One of the highlights of Oleta River State Park is the beach, located on the park’s barrier island and offers a chance to swim, sunbathe, and relax. The park also features several picnic areas and a playground for children.

In addition to its natural beauty, Oleta River State Park also has a rich history. The park was once home to the Tequesta Native American tribe, and visitors can explore the park’s historic structures, including an old Spanish monastery that was moved to the park in the 1920s.

Overall, Oleta River State Park is a beautiful and peaceful destination that offers visitors a chance to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of Florida. Whether you’re kayaking down the river, hiking through the forest, or simply enjoying a picnic on the beach, Oleta River State Park is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to North Miami.

 

10. St. Johns River

St. Johns River

The St. Johns River is a long and winding river that flows through the heart of Florida, from its headwaters near Vero Beach to its mouth in Jacksonville. The river is the longest in Florida, covering over 300 miles, and it is a significant water source for the state.

The St. Johns River is a popular boating, fishing, and water sports destination. The river is home to various fish, including largemouth bass, catfish, and crappie, making it a popular angler spot. Visitors can also explore the river by boat, kayak, or canoe and enjoy the scenic views of the surrounding forests and wetlands.

In addition to its recreational opportunities, the St. Johns River also has a rich history. The river was an important transportation route for Native Americans and early settlers, and visitors can explore several historic sites along the river, including the Fort Gates Ferry and the Palatka-to-St. Augustine Railroad.

The St. Johns River is also home to several parks and nature preserves, including Blue Spring State Park and Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge. These parks offer a chance to see various wildlife, including manatees, alligators, and birds.

Overall, the St. Johns River is a beautiful and historic destination that offers visitors a chance to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of Florida. Whether fishing, boating, or exploring the river’s historic sites and nature preserves, the St. Johns River is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Florida.

 

 Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Florida depends on what you want to do and see. If you’re interested in outdoor activities like hiking, swimming, and kayaking, the best time to visit is during the fall and winter months, from October to March. The weather is more relaxed and drier during this time, making it more comfortable for outdoor activities.

If you’re interested in visiting the beaches and enjoying water activities like swimming and surfing, the best time to visit is during the summer months, from June to August. The weather is hot and humid during this time, but the water is warm and perfect for swimming.

If you’re interested in theme parks and other tourist attractions, the best time to visit is during the shoulder seasons, from April to May and September to October. The weather is mild during these months, and the crowds are smaller than during the peak summer season.

Florida is a great destination year-round, but the best time to visit depends on your interests and what you want to do and see.

 

 About Kayaking Trips in Florida With Kids

Here are some tips and ideas for kayaking trips in Florida with kids:

  • Choose the right location: When planning a kayaking trip with kids, choosing a safe and suitable place for their age and skill level is essential. Look for calm waters, shallow areas, and easy-to-navigate routes.
  • Rent or buy kayaks: If you don’t have them, you can rent them from various outfitters and rental companies in Florida. Alternatively, you can buy your kayaks if you plan to go kayaking regularly.
  • Pack the essentials: Bring sunscreen, hats, water bottles, snacks, and a first-aid kit. Also, wear appropriate clothing and footwear that can get wet.
  • Consider guided tours: If you’re new to kayaking or want to explore a new area, consider booking a guided tour with a local outfitter. They can provide equipment, safety gear, and expert guidance on the water.
  • Choose family-friendly destinations: Some popular family-friendly kayaking destinations in Florida include the Weeki Wachee River, Rainbow River, Crystal River, and the Florida Keys.

The river is everywhere

 

 Wildlife While Kayaking Trips in Florida

Kayaking in Florida offers a unique opportunity to see various wildlife up close. Here are some of the wildlife species that you may encounter while kayaking in Florida:

  • Manatees: Florida has a large population of manatees, gentle and slow-moving creatures often seen in the state’s waterways.
  • Dolphins: Dolphins are common in Florida’s coastal waters and can often be seen swimming alongside kayaks.
  • Alligators: While alligators can be dangerous, they are also a common sight in Florida’s waterways, especially in freshwater areas like rivers and lakes.
  • Turtles: Florida is home to various turtle species, including the iconic loggerhead sea turtle, which can often be seen swimming in the state’s coastal waters.
  • Birds: Florida is a bird-watchers paradise, with various species that can be seen while kayaking, including herons, egrets, ospreys, and bald eagles.
  • Fish: Florida’s waterways are home to various fish species, including bass, catfish, and tarpon, which can often be seen swimming below kayaks.

Kayaking in Florida offers a unique opportunity to see various wildlife up close and personal. Still, it is essential to respect the animals and their habitats and take appropriate safety precautions when encountering potentially dangerous wildlife like alligators.

 

 Pros of Kayaking Trips in Florida:

  • Beautiful Scenery: Florida is known for its stunning natural beauty, including crystal clear springs, rivers, and beaches that are perfect for kayaking.
  • Abundant Wildlife: Florida is home to various wildlife, including manatees, dolphins, alligators, and birds, which can be seen up close while kayaking.
  • Year-Round Activity: Kayaking can be enjoyed year-round in Florida, thanks to the state’s warm climate and abundant waterways.
  • Accessible: Kayaking is a relatively easy and accessible activity for people of all ages and skill levels.
  • Good Exercise: Kayaking is a great way to exercise and stay active while enjoying the outdoors.

 Cos of Kayaking Trips in Florida:

  • Weather: Florida’s weather can be unpredictable, with sudden thunderstorms and high winds making kayaking dangerous.
  • Crowds: Popular kayaking destinations in Florida can get crowded, especially during peak season, detracting from the experience.
  • Wildlife Hazards: While seeing wildlife up close can be a pro, it can also be a con if you encounter dangerous animals like alligators or venomous snakes.
  • Equipment and Rentals: Kayaking requires specialized equipment, which can be expensive to purchase or rent.
  • Physical Demands: Kayaking can be physically demanding, especially for those not used to the activity, and can lead to sore muscles and fatigue.

 

 

Final Thoughts

Florida is a beautiful and diverse state with many natural and cultural attractions. From crystal clear springs and rivers to stunning beaches and parks, there is something for everyone in Florida. Whether you’re interested in outdoor activities like hiking, swimming, and kayaking, or you prefer to explore the state’s rich history and culture, there is no shortage of things to see and do in Florida. So pack your bags and get ready to experience the beauty and magic of the Sunshine State!

Related Post

Best Places to Kayak in Texas

Best Places to Kayak in Georgia

Best Places to Kayak in South Carolina

Best Places to Kayak in Florida

Best places to Kayak in Colorado

Best Places to Kayak in Arkansas

Welcome to our comprehensive guide,

where we have tasked our Review Team with a singular objective: to identify and review the top-rated and most sought-after products on the market today. We take great pride in the quality and reliability of our reviews, which are carefully crafted with your satisfaction in mind.

Our team of experts always takes into account key factors such as durability, price, quality, and overall value when conducting their assessments, so you can rest assured that you are getting the most accurate and relevant information possible.

Where to Buy

Amazon

Learn How to get a complete set of Kayaking Checklists for all events and occasions

Kayaking is a prominent outdoor activity enjoyed by many individuals around the world.

Get a Set of Kayaking Checklists for preparing for all trips and events

Having the right gear and equipment can make a significant difference in the success and enjoyment of the kayaking experience.

Is a Life Vest Required by Law when Kayaking?

Is a Life Vest Required by Law when Kayaking?

Life Vest, Law Required: Kayaking Safety Essentials Explained Kayaking is an enjoyable recreational activity, but safety should always be a top priority. One of the most important safety measures to follow when kayaking is wearing a life vest. However, kayaking...

Waterproof Fitness Trackers for Kayaking: Top Picks and Buying Tips

Waterproof Fitness Trackers for Kayaking: Top Picks and Buying Tips

Kayaking is not only a fun and adventurous water activity but also an excellent form of exercise. Many individuals who enjoy kayaking might be interested in monitoring their fitness progress as they paddle through the water. One way to accomplish this is by using a...