(386) 454-0611 riverguide2000@yahoo.com

Suwannee River Spring Hop #1

SUWANNEE RIVER SPRING HOP #1:  Charles Spring – Hwy 51    Group size: 1 – 24 paddlers Trip time: 3 – 4 hours Skill level: Great for beginners and experts alike   The meeting place for this trip is on the Suwannee, about 1.5 hours NW of Gainesville.     Description   On this trip, we’ll explore a 9 mile stretch of the Middle Suwannee, starting at one of my favorite spots on the river, Charles Spring and ending about 3.5 hours later at the boat ramp alongside the Hwy 51 Bridge. Along our route, we’ll stop off at Allen Mill Pond spring run and Lafayette Blue Springs. (to avoid confusion, it’s customary to include the county name when referring to any of the State’s many “Blue Springs”).   Most of the middle Suwannee is characterized by a wide, slow flow of tannin-stained water, whose rich, carmel color contrasts beautifully with white sand beaches. In places, the soft, smooth complexion on these dunes is interrupted by outcroppings of rough-hewn limerock. Above the river bank and stretching unseen for miles in all directions, a mixed forests of pine and oak dominate the setting. It’s a higher, drier terrain than we experience on “swampier” rivers such as Ocklawaha and Withlacoochee.   Of course, the main attraction to this part of the river are the springs. On warm days like we’ve been enjoying lately, the clear, 72 degree water of Charles and Blue Springs are hard to resist. But, you won’t have to wait for the springs if you want to swim. Current water levels are low enough to make plenty of good, shallow areas to pull over and wade in.     History   Our launch site...

Santa Fe River – River Rise

Santa Fe River Canoe and Kayak Trip Group size: 1 – 24 paddlers Trip time: 2 – 5 hours (depending which trip we do) Skill level: Great for beginners and experts alike. * NOTE – this page is for guided tours only. For information and pricing about unguided paddling on Santa Fe River, please go to the “Santa Fe River Unguided/Shuttle River Trips”  page. Cost Most guided tours are $50 per person. (includes boat, paddle, vest, shuttling and your guide) Using your Own Boat – $40. (many paddlers with their own boats like to join us to learn more about the history, archaeology and natural history of these rivers). Dates Join a scheduled tour (see tour calendar ), or suggest one.  Find a free date on the calendar and suggest the trip of your choice. If there are no conflicts, we’ll post it! OR Schedule a private tour. Use contact form, email us at riverguide2000@yahoo.com or call (386-454-0611) Location Check the River Locator Map or Click the link below for a local map and then use zoom and panning arrows to explore the area. (Note: the marker is NOT our meeting place, but a nearby landmark. Local Map Description There are two distinct sections of Santa Fe River. The upper river is a small creek, a brown, watery trail ambling aimlessly through the shaded hardwood forests and intermittent swamps of northern Alachua County. It starts at Santa Fe swamp, just north of Lake Santa Fe near Melrose and extends about 30 miles west to present day O’leno State Park near High Springs. In some places, this little stream can be easily crossed with a running leap. And yet, it...
Santa Fe River Unguided/Shuttle

Santa Fe River Unguided/Shuttle

Every day of the week (except Tuesdays), we offer unguided kayak and canoe trips on Santa Fe River. We also outfit kayak and canoe trips on Ichetucknee River on most week days, between Labor Day and through the fall, winter and spring until Memorial Day Weekend. These unguided trips include boat rental, paddle, vest, and shuttling. All you have to do is show up and we’ll sign you up and put you on the river. Our rental fleet includes a full line of single kayaks, tandem (2-person) kayaks and 2-person canoes. Most of our kayaks are sit-inside models (the most popular typed for inland rivers), but we also have sit-inside kayaks (singles and tandems). And if you prefer to take your river standing, we have SUP’s (aka – stand-up paddleboards) No reservations necessary.  Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, if you get a wild hair to go paddling, just turn your car around and head our way. You don’t need a reservation. However, we strongly suggest that you call before you come. Some days our boats might be all rented out or we might be slammed with a large group, so we don’t want you to make the drive for nothing. So please, do yourself (and us) a favor and call us at (386) 454-0611 and let us know you’re coming and what time you expect to arrive. It will also help if you can tell us how many boats (and what kind) you’ll need. For more information about kayak and canoe rentals, shuttling and unguided paddling on Santa Fe River (including prices and paddle times) please go to the “Unguided river...

Withlacoochee River (North)

 Withlacoochee River (North) Spring Hop (Kayak and Canoe Tour) Group size: 1 – 24 people Trip time: 4 – 4.5 hours Skill level: Intermediate – Expert The meeting place for this trip is about 1.5 hours northwest of Gainesville on the Suwannee River. Cost: This one is $50 per person ($39 for “wanna go” members). With your own boat it’s $40 per person ($29 for members). Description On this 9 mile, downstream paddle, We go from Madison County Blue Spring State Park down to the confluence of the Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers. We’ll take out at Suwannee River State Park. This is usually a 4 – 4.5 hour trip (including lunch and swim stops). Like nearby sections of the Suwannee, this part of the Withlacoochee carves a relatively deep (by Florida standards) channel through the Florida highlands region. 30 – 40 foot bluffs are typical and some are even higher. Passing through the Cody Escarpment, the zone where the Central Highlands make their gradual descent to the Gulf Coastal Plains, the river carves it’s way ever closer to the underlying Floridan aquifer. Finally, it cuts deep enough to tap the aquifer and a spring gushes to the surface. Blue Spring is born. From this point on down, more vents in the limestone create more springs – at least half a dozen of them by the time Withlacoochee joins Suwannee. Some of these are small, easy to miss vents in the river bed, while others are nothing short of azure oases to the passing paddler.   . Difficulty This is an easy, downstream paddle. The hot weather should be your main consideration. It’s a fairly wide channel that could be sunny and...

Steinhatchee River

Steinhatchee River kayak & canoe Tour Group size: 1 – 24 people Trip time: 3.5  – 4 hours Skill level: Beginner – Expert. (This is an easy paddle on slow, tannin-stained waters. The open waters of the last mile can get choppy in wind, but that section is relatively close to our take-out site Cost: $50 per person ($39 for “wanna go” members). With your own boat it’s $40 ($29 for members).   Description This is a 5 mile trip which usually takes us about 3 hours to paddle. We will be going down stream (WITH the current) for the whole trip. Steinhatchee River doesn’t get much press. And for the local residents who make their living harvesting the incredible bounty of these waters, that’s just fine. On those rare occasions when this remote little river is mentioned in Florida’s “big city” newspapers, it’s usually in reference to seafood or those who catch it. No surprise there. With lush, inshore grass beds, teaming with fat, blue-eyed scallops and juvenile fish, along with excellent offshore fishing sites, Steinhatchee is becoming a Mecca for commercial and sports fishermen alike.   Upstream from most of the boat activity, inland from the small, sister communities of Jena and Steinhatchee at the river’s mouth, there is another, lesser known Steinhatchee. Like several of the other Gulf area rivers we explore (such as Waccasassa and Wekiva), Steinhatchee is a mongrel with mixed parentage. Her most distal headwaters begin in a couple of huge wetlands, Mallory Swamp and San Pedro Bay. After meandering through the swamps for nearly twenty miles, a network of braided channels slowly take form and...