Florida offers an abundance of canoeing and kayaking opportunities that the entire family can enjoy, and no area has more than South Florida. According to our very reliable sources, Florida has more than a thousand miles of coastline and 1,700 rivers to explore. With the year-round tropical climate, South Florida offers an abundance of watery adventure for those who enjoy canoeing and kayaking. And, of course, should you venture further north, you’ll find even more!
For now, lets focus on South Florida, where canoeing and kayaking can be enjoyed nearly every day of the year. Nearly, simply means, when planning your canoe/kayak adventure, you need to be aware of local conditions. Localized heavy rains, thunderstorms, rough surf, and even droughts can mean you’ll have to put your trip on hold, temporarily, until the weather is more favorable.
When you set out on your kayaking or canoeing trip, there are several things you’ll want to bring along. This list will be essential for novices, but also serve as reminder for experience kayakers and canoers. You will want to wear: a swimsuit, a brimmed hat and long-sleeved shirt for sun protection, shoes (aqua, sport, etc.), sunglasses with a strap, sunscreen, and lip balm. Remember to always dress for the water temperature, as even in South Florida, hypothermia can occur in water temperatures under 50°.
In addition to your kayak or canoe, you’ll need bring along sunscreen to reapply throughout the day, insect repellant, water for drinking, snacks or lunch, a dry bag to stow your personal gear (maps or GPS), cellphone, credit card, a bit of cash, etc.), a watch, and a camera (waterproof or disposable) for photo ops. For safety’s sake, you should have a life jacket, a compass, a signal whistle, a headlamp or light with batteries, and a first-aid kit. Depending on the length of your planned trip, you may want to include a tent for emergency shelter, flares, matches (or a lighter or fire starter), a radio (just in case) and a towline.
Where to Find Your Adventure
Ready to go? South Florida has boundless locales for you to explore via canoeing and kayaking, here are a few to get you started:
Everglades National Park –
The Everglades offer exceptional opportunities to explore wild flora and fauna, many species found only in area. Some of the favorite area among kayakers and canoers are:
- Bear Lake Canoe Trail – paddle through dense mangrove tunnels and spot unique wildlife.
- Nine Mile Pond – keep your eyes peeled for alligator sightings.
- Noble Hammock – a nearly two-mile loop offering small ponds and mangrove tunnels to explore.
- Hell’s Bay – journey though mangrove laden creeks and ponds to see alligators, birds, and other native wildlife.
- Broad Creek – overgrown with mangroves, Broad Creek is the perfect place to find egrets, herons, and more.
Fisheating Creek –
Fisheating Creek and the Fisheating Creek Wildlife Management Area offer serene canoeing and kayaking with plenty of sites to stop for picnics or swimming while paddling among cypress, palms, and oaks.
Loxahatchee River –
In Palm Beach County, the Wild and Scenic River designated Loxahatchee River is simply beautiful with native wildlife and lush plant life on the shady, twisting river.
Indian Key Historic State Park –
Accessible only by boat, Indian Key Historic State Park is great option for canoers and kayakers who can explore the 19th century ghost town’s ruins and even enjoy snorkeling along the island’s coastline.
Big Pine Key –
As home to the endangered Key Deer, and other native wildlife, plant life, and sea life, Big Pine Key is a popular spot for canoers and kayakers alike to explore.