In Florida, particularly South Florida, canoeing and kayaking mean on the water spring fun for families. The state, endowed with more than 1,700 rivers and 1,000 mile of shoreline offers a variety of inviting adventure for families who love to be on the water. South Florida is the ideal venue, with its year round tropical climate, but should you venture north, you’ll find even more diverse landscapes to explore with a plethora of wildlife to enjoy.
From wherever you chose to launch your canoe or kayak, it is always important to check weather conditions before you go. In Florida, there is always the chance for inclement weather from thunderstorms to rough surf to localized heavy rains and even drought conditions. If weather forces you to postpone your trip, keep in mind, conditions are continually changing, so you’ll probably be able to reschedule sooner rather than later.
Prepping for Your Trip
Before you head out on your canoeing or kayaking adventure, it’s important to be prepared. Whether you are a seasoned kayaker or a novice canoer, this checklist will guide on what you’ll need to bring along to keep you safe and comfortable while you enjoy your trip.
- Canoe or Kayak (a must unless you are renting at your destination)
- A brimmed hat (sun protection)
- A long sleeved shirt (sun and insect protection)
- A swimsuit
- Shoes (sport, aqua, etc.)
- Sunglasses (preferably with a strap to keep them secure)
- Lip Balm
- Insect repellant
- Water to drink
- Snacks or Lunch (depending on the length of your trip)
- A dry bag for your personal gear like your phone, cash, credit card, maps, GPS, watch.
- A waterproof or disposable camera
- Life jacket
- Signal whistle
- Headlamp or flashlight (with batteries)
- First-aid kit
Always dress according to water temperature, which can drop to under 50°, even in South Florida. Remember to apply sunscreen and insect repellant regularly. And depending on your trip and in case of emergency, you might want to bring a tent, flares, matches (Firestarter or lighter), radio, and a tow line.
Ready to Go?
The boundless water of Florida await with optimal locations to get together with friends or family and paddle away in your canoe or kayak. Here are a few ideas, favorites among canoers and kayakers alike, to get you started planning your fun water adventure.
At Big Pine Key you’ll find native flora and fauna, including sea life, to explore, plus you may even catch a glimpse of the beautiful, but endangered Key Deer.
In Everglades National Park you can explore wild Florida filled with plants and animals, many found only in the Everglades. You can walk along deserted beaches, gather unique shells, sleep on a remote island beach, as the waves lull you to dreamland. Kayakers and canoers name Bear Lake Canoe Trail (wildlife and mangrove tunnels), Broad Creek (egrets, herons, and other water fowl amid the mangroves), Hell’s Bay (alligators, birds, and more among mangrove covered creeks), Nine Mile Pond (alligators in abundance), and Noble Hammock (ponds and mangrove tunnels), among the favorite spots to explore.
Fisheating Creek in the Fisheating Creek Wildlife Management Area, is a great area for beginners where serene waters meander through oaks, cypress, and palm trees offering up picturesque picnic spots and swimming holes, perfect for an afternoon of fun.
Indian Key Historic State Park, which is only accessible via the water, is ideal for kayakers and canoers who want to make a day of it, whether snorkeling the coastline or exploring the island’s ghost town build in the 1800s.
Wild and beautiful, the Loxahatchee River promises a shady winding river filled surrounded by lush flora.
Spring is the perfect time to explore South Florida with your family and friends on your kayaks or canoes. Enjoy!