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26 Best Places

To Kayak In Florida, USA

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Published May 9, 2022

Do you love kayaking and are looking for some beautiful places to kayak in Florida? You are not alone in this regard; thousands of kayak lovers are always searching for unique places where they can enjoy kayaking while also exploring the area.

So, I’m going to write about some best places to kayak in Florida where you can enjoy yourself or with your partner while riding your favorite kayak.

26 Best Places To Kayak In Florida: Summary

26 Best Places to Kayak in Florida in 2022:

Florida is known for its pristine Rivers, Islands, Beaches, and Parks. If you want to experience all of them, then you are going to love these places. There are 26 mesmerizing places in Florida that you should definitely go for kayaking.

The best places to kayak in Florida are:

  1. Crystal River
  2. Suwannee River
  3. Blackwater River
  4. Luis River in Stuart
  5. Four Rivers of the Green Swamp
  6. Loxahatchee River in Jupiter
  7. Turner River
  8. Rainbow Spring State Park
  9. Winter Park Chain of Lakes
  10. Weeki Wachee Springs State Park
  11. Little Talbot Island State Park
  12. Pine Island
  13. Merrit Island National Wildlife Refuge
  14. Bahia Honda Island
  15. Peanut Island of Riviera Beach
  16. Hontoon Island Deland
  17. Tampa Bay
  18. Rock Springs
  19. Tampa Bay’s Tarpon Springs
  20. Fort Pierce
  21. The Beaches of Destin
  22. Jupiter
  23. Coastal Dune Lakes, South Walton
  24. Kind’s Landing
  25. Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail
  26. Indian Key, Florida Keys

Best Rivers to Kayak in Florida

If you love to paddle around in the silent rivers, you can enjoy watching the mesmerizing beautiful scenes of nature and the pleasing voice of river water. I’m going to tell you some best rivers in Florida where you should definitely go kayaking.

As you may know, Florida is full of great rivers to kayak. Whether you are looking for a peaceful, secluded place to puddle or a chance to get up close with Florida’s beautiful wildlife, there is something for everyone in the below-mentioned rivers.

Crystal River

Crystal River, Florida-min

The Crystal River is a great place to kayak because of the warm weather and beautiful view of the wildlife. It’s also nice because it has a lot of depth, so you can see a lot of different things while paddling.

The water is warm and crystal-clear, so you can see the manatees swimming below you. The river’s freshwater springs are a perfect temperature for them.

It’s not unusual to see manatees swimming around you or their babies playing in the water when you kayak here. You can even go snorkeling with them if you want a closer look.

The Crystal River has both salt water and fresh water springs, so there are plenty of options for people at different skill levels.

Suwannee River

Suwannee River, FL-min

Suwannee River is the spot if you want to kayak down a river with everything. Not only does it have crystal clear water for snorkeling, but there are white sandy beaches to relax on and freshwater springs for swimming.

In the northern part of the state, the Suwannee River is one of Florida’s most beautiful rivers, beginning in Georgia and flowing more than 240 miles through Georgia and Florida before emptying into the Gulf of Mexico. The river is narrow, but it winds its way through some gorgeous scenery.

Blackwater River

blackwater river, Florida-min

The Blackwater River is one of the best kayaking destinations in Florida. The river is crystal clear, and you can see all the way to the sandy bottom. It’s located near Panhandle, and you can take a scenic shuttle ride from Panhandle down to the drop-in point. The trip takes about a day, and it will take you through a beautiful forest preserve where you might spot some wildlife like deer or birds.

If you are looking for a chance to go off the beaten path, the Blackwater River is where it’s at. With so many twists and turns, tributaries, and offshoots, you could kayak through this waterway and never see the same landscape twice.

St. Lucie River in Stuart

St. Lucie River in Stuart is a great place to kayak in Florida. This river is great for kayaking, canoeing, and fishing. On the river, you can admire the beauty of native deer and other wildlife, plus there are lots of nature trails you can explore in the area.

This river is absolutely gorgeous, with mangrove-lined shores and an abundance of wildlife to see. The water is calm, so you don’t have to worry about it being too rough for your kayak, and if you really do need a break from paddling, there’s even a ferry you can take to get back to your car.

Four Rivers of the Green Swamp

Four Rivers of the Green Swamp in Florida-min

Located in central Florida, the Green Swamp is made up of Hillsborough River, Ocklawaha River, Withlacoochee River, and Peace River. They flow into the Gulf of Mexico and offer kayakers hundreds of miles of water to explore.

This area is a nature lover’s paradise, where you can see over 100 species of birds and mammals, including bald eagles, ospreys, white-tailed deer, and many types of fish. You can enjoy kayaking with your partner and enjoy the beautiful wildlife scenes of nature.

Loxahatchee River

Loxahatchee River in Jupiter fl-min

Just a short drive from Jupiter, the Loxahatchee River is a kayaker’s dream come true. It has been designated as a National Wild and Scenic River, so you know it’ll be well-preserved for its natural beauty. The river flows down from Lakes, so you can expect to see lush plant life and wildlife in the area.

It is one of the most breathtaking rivers in the nation. It’s perfect for nature lovers, with a multitude of species to see along its banks. The river runs through a cypress swamp and is about 7 miles long. It’s a great place for beginners since it has few wildlife scenes along the way.

Turner River

Turner River, Florida-min

The Turner River is a prime spot for kayaking in Florida. Not only is it easily accessible, but the waterway is peaceful and serene, ensuring that you can enjoy your time out on the water without being bombarded by the noise of motorized boating traffic.

A large part of Turner River runs through Everglades National Park, so if you’re planning on kayaking this river, keep in mind that there’s an entrance fee to enter the park.

Additionally, as with any national park, there are rules and regulations that you’ll need to follow to ensure the protection of all park resources. In Everglades National Park, this includes things like staying away from wildlife and not littering.

Best Parks to Kayak in Florida

Florida is also famous for its parks and its beautiful lakes. You can enjoy kayaking and relax from the city’s noises and exhausting life. Following are some beautiful parks where you can enjoy kayaking this summer.

Rainbow Springs State Park

Rainbow Spring State Park florida-min

State parks are considered some of the best places to kayak in Florida. And Rainbow Springs State Park is one of the best state parks in this regard. This park is located in Dunnellon, Florida. It gets its name from the water that flows through the springs, which looks like a liquid rainbow.

The coolest thing about this park? You can see ancient artifacts from the Paleo-Indians who once inhabited the area, some of them dating back as far as thousands of years. You will also find some pretty cool wildlife to look at if you keep your eyes open, like otters and alligators.

Winter Park Chain of Lakes

Winter Park Chain of Lakes florida-min

The Winter Park Chain of Lakes is made up of six lakes connected by the Winter Park Canal. The canal makes a great place to kayak, and there are also three lakes nearby that are easy to paddle around in your kayak. This is a quiet, relaxing place to kayak, and the water is full of fish and other marine life.

With a whopping 6 lakes in the chain, you won’t run out of waterways to explore while kayaking here. You can also check out the neighborhood, which is nestled along some of the trails.

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

weeki wachee springs state park in Florida-min

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is a must for kayaking lovers. You’ll pay about $13 to kayak or canoe on the spring-fed Weeki Wachee River, but that cost is well worth it. The park also offers kayak tours, and you can sign up for a 2-hour guided tour that will take you on a guided tour of the river’s springs so you can spot manatees.

If you decide to take one out for the day, there are plenty of places to dock your kayak or canoe. The park also offers cabins, campsites, and a waterpark if you decide to stay overnight.

If you are looking for something more adventurous than a leisurely afternoon on the river, this is the park.

Little Talbot Island State Park

Little Talbot Island State Park Florida-min

This park is the perfect place to kayak if you want to explore Florida’s coastal marshes and beaches. The park has a playground, campground, picnic areas, trails, showers, and even a fishing pier. Bring your kayak and check out the salt marsh and sandbars that Little Talbot Island has to offer.

Little Talbot Island State Park is home to spectacular beaches, a maritime forest, salt marshes, and dunes. The park offers several miles of trails through the sand dunes and a nature trail that goes through the maritime forest.

Indian Key Historic State Park

Indian Key, Florida Keys-min

Indian Key Historic State Park is another one of the best places to kayak in all of Florida. Located in the middle of the Atlantic, you get a unique land and water vantage point. You can even see dolphins, sharks, and whales from your kayak if you look closely.

But it’s more than just the wildlife that makes this spot so special. Its history as a bustling island community adds a whole other level to what’s already an unforgettable experience.

Best Island to Kayak in Florida

With its warm weather, sunny skies, and calm, clear waters, kayaking in Florida’s islands is a dream for outdoorsy types. But with so many amazing places to explore, it can be tough to know where to begin. So following are some beautiful islands where you can go and enjoy kayaking.

Pine Island

Pine Island Florida-min

Pine Island is one of the best places to kayak in Florida. It is also lots of places to go kayaking. The best thing about this island is that it has a lot of different activities that you can do while you are here.

This place will give you the experience to remember for your whole life. You can look closely at the mangrove, seagrasses, and marine life. It is one of the most beautiful places in Florida; you have beautiful beaches, white sand, and clear blue water, making it the perfect place for a relaxing vacation.

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is another great place to go kayaking in Florida. It provides an excellent environment for bird watching and kayaking. The wildlife refuge offers many habitats, including salt marshes, coastal dunes, scrub oaks, mangrove forests, and beaches.

When you arrive at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, you can rent kayaks from the concession stand or bring your own. Once you are inside the park, there are several trails to choose from, so make sure to plan ahead by checking out a map of all available trails before heading out on your adventure.

Bahia Honda Island

While Bahia Honda is beautiful from the land, it’s even more incredible from the water. You can observe all the island’s natural beauty with your own eyes by exploring it on a kayak. The waters around Bahia Honda are crystal clear and provide excellent snorkeling opportunities as well as some of the best views of the island itself.

The island is a state park on Big Pine Key, and it’s easily accessible by car or boat. You can rent kayaks from the park office or bring your own.

Peanut Island

Peanut Island of Riviera Beach is a great choice for your next kayaking adventure. Located just off the coast of Palm Beach and offering both fresh and saltwater kayaking, Peanut Island has something for everyone.

But this island’s history goes far beyond its waters, so read on to learn more about what makes Peanut Island such an awesome place to paddle.

Hontoon Island Deland

Another one of the best places to kayak in Florida is Hontoon Island. Hontoon Island is located on the St. Johns River, which runs from central Florida. The river has three distinct characteristics: grassy marshes, blackwater swamps, and hardwood hammocks. All three can be found on Hontoon Island, making it an ideal place to explore by kayak.

The island is also a haven for birdwatchers. Over 160 species of birds have been spotted here, including warblers and herons. In addition to birds, you will also see wild hogs, alligators, deer, and even river otters.

Shell Key Preserve

Shell Key Preserve is a gorgeous and remote Preserve accessible only by boat. Kayaking to this island is a great way to get away from it all and enjoy Florida’s nature. The channel to the island is deep enough for larger boats to pass through, so it is definitely possible to bring your own kayak on board if you are not comfortable with renting one.

There are also several companies that rent kayaks for the journey and include a guided tour of the area upon arrival at Shell Key. The preserve offers over 1800 acres of undeveloped land with vast stretches of white sand beaches surrounded by native vegetation full of wildlife like sea turtles, manatees, dolphins, and wading birds.

Other Best Places to Kayak in Florida

Besides rivers, parks, and islands, there are also a bunch of other places where you can go and enjoy kayaking in Florida. The following are my favorite ones.

Rock Springs

Rock Springs Florida-min

Rock Springs is one of the best places to kayak in Florida, located in Kelly Park. It has been rated one of the top 20 kayaking locations by National Geographic. The clear water, wildlife, and natural beauty make it a great place to spend a day paddling.

Not only can you ride through beautiful cypress trees and tall grasses, but you can also catch a glimpse of some native birds, like osprey and herons. There’s even a small lake where you can take a break and relax on the shore. Just be sure to get there by 9am on the weekends so that you have time to enjoy it before all the other paddlers arrive.

Tampa Bay: Tarpon Springs

Tampa Bay's Tarpon Springs in Florida-min

Tarpon Springs is a great place to kayak because there are many places to explore, and the weather is almost always balmy enough to be comfortable. For kayaking enthusiasts, Tarpon Springs has lots to offer. With calm waters, stunning views, and plenty of wildlife to take in as you paddle down the River, you will want to return.

If you are lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of some manatees. The saltwater marshes make for some beautiful views as you paddle along, and if you want to take a break from the water, there are plenty of places to have lunch or dinner near the river.

Fort Pierce

Fort Pierce FL-min

Fort Pierce, Florida, is a wonderful location to kayak in. Fort Pierce’s has you covered whether you’re looking for a relaxing afternoon cruise or an exciting adventure.

Paddling off the coast of Fort Pierce is a great way to get in some exercise, enjoy the fresh air, and, thanks to the Ocean, that even stays cool on those hot summer days.

Kayakers love this area for its diverse wildlife and seascapes. Beginners will be able to navigate easily, and there’s plenty to keep more advanced kayakers entertained and challenged as well.

Destin's Beeches

Destin Beach Florida-min

In northwest Florida, Destin’s Beeches is one of the top kayaking destinations. You can explore miles of coastline and find secluded beaches perfect for a picnic or even camping, so long as you come prepared. It’s not unlikely that you’ll see dolphins or turtles here!

One of the best parts about this particular kayaking destination is its many different routes. The northern route is great if you are looking for more of a challenge in terms of navigating the waves. There are also less-trafficked southern routes that are perfect for beginners or those who just want to take it easy and non-beach options such as creeks and bayous.

Jupiter

Jupiter, Florida-min

While Jupiter may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of Florida, it definitely should be. There are plenty of fantastic locations for kayaking in Jupiter, and you will find yourself overwhelmed with choices.

The best location for kayaking in Jupiter is Coral Cove Park, which has a number of natural inlets that are perfect for exploring by kayak. You can paddle through mangroves and marshes before heading out into open water on your way back home.

South Walton's Lakes

Coastal Dune Lakes, South Walton Florida-min

When you are looking for a little peace and quiet time while doing kayaking, South Walton’s Lakes is sure to please.

The lakes provide both an escape from the crowds and a chance to explore the unique local ecosystems. They are great for novices, families with small kids, or anyone who wants to take a break from the Gulf.

King's Landing

Kind's Landing Florida-min

King’s Landing is not for the faint of heart or the inexperienced kayaker. You will find some of the best rapids in Florida to get your adrenaline pumping while beating the heat. It’s also a great place to try out your new kayak before you start exploring more unfamiliar waters.

Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail

Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail Florida-min

One of the best places to kayak in Florida is the Great Calusa Blueway’s Paddling Trail. There are several spots along the trail that are perfect for novices, but there are also spots that will challenge even the most experienced kayaker. With over 190 miles of trails, you can spend an entire week on the water and still not cover all ground.

Conclusion

No matter what you are looking for in a kayaking destination, I’m sure that these 26 best places to kayak in Florida are perfect for you. Whether you are new to kayaking or an expert, there is something for everyone on this list. You can’t go wrong checking out any of these top Florida destinations on your next kayak getaway.

Jay Schwarz author of Kayak Guidance

About the Author - Jay Schwartz:

Hey there kayak lovers! I’m Jay Schwartz, the author here at Kayak Guidance! You know water sports – you know me! My life is all about it. Kayaking, Paddleboarding, Fishing, Snorkeling and so much more. I love to share my passion and knowledge with all of you. 

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