(386) 454-0611 riverguide2000@yahoo.com

Chassahowitzka River

Chassahowitzka River Canoe and Kayak trip Group size: 1 – 24 people Trip time: 3.5 hours Skill level: Beginner – Expert 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 The Chas (a common nickname) is the quiet, unpretentious little sister of the popular GOMER (Gulf of Mexico Region) spring rivers. With Crystal and Homosassa rivers vying for attention to the north and the siren’s song of rhine-stoned mermaids luring tourists to Weeki Wachee to the south, the Chas has gone relatively unnoticed. That, in itself, would usually be enough to make this a must-do trip for the “wanna go” crew. But there’s more! This river’s isolation is no fluke. It runs through the heart of a beautiful, 40 square mile wetlands formally known as Chassahowitzka Swamp. And, if that’s not enough (now I’m sounding like a used car salesman), there are also springs! Granted they’re not big, showy fountains...

Crystal River

Crystal River Canoe and Kayak trips Group size: 1 – 24 people Trip length: 3 – 4 hours Skill level: Beginner – expert (great for kids!) 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 On this trip, we explore Kings Bay, the headwaters of Crystal river. This is the winter home of over 300 manatees, making it one of the most important refuges for these amazing, endangered mammals. In addition to the manatees, there’s a world of exploring opportunities in this beautiful bay. Over thirty crystal clear, artesian springs are scattered about the bay, while on shore, Indian village sites and mounds lie hidden among the tangle of sub-tropical vegetation. The most notable of these lies a short two miles downstream of the area we paddle. Here, overlooking the river from a low bluff, sits an amazing complex of temple mounds. Today, this site is known as the...

Gum Slough

Gum Slough Kayak (& Canoe) Tour (X-stream spring adventure) * Group size: 1 – 24 Trip length: 6 – 7 hours Skill level: Beginner (physical ability, endurance and determination are needed) 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 Gum Slough is a network of clear, shallow streams which thread their way through a softly-shaded, semitropical hardwood river forest. Red maple, hickory and ash dominate these river forests, making this a great destination in autumn. Above the slough, the canopy opens and gives way to a beautiful, linear marshland. This is the actual “slough, and it’s here that we find Seven Sisters springs. Gum Slough can only be accessed from it’s lower end, where it flows into the Withlacoochee River (south). From the public boat ramp at Turner’s Fish Camp, a short, 20 minute paddle on scenic stretch of the Withlacoochee brings us to the unremarkable mouth of the slough. Heading...

Homosassa River

Homosassa River Kayak (& Canoe) Tour Group size: 1 – 24 Trip time: 3-3.5 hours Skill level: Beginner – pro. The open channel can become a bit challenging when the wind kicks up. Otherwise, it’s a breeze ) 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 The route of this trip depends on the time of year. Winter excursions on the Homosassa are all about manatees, and since they always head for the head-springs, so do we. This makes for a round trip paddle, upstream and back. It’s a nice stretch of river, but very developed–especially on the north bank. But, where the Lady (Mother Nature) maintains her ancestral claim, a lush, semi-tropical forest crowds the shoreline. The main head-spring is within Homosassa State Park and out of bounds for us. But we do get close and usually see plenty of manatees. Our summer excursions on the Homosassa take...

Hontoon Island

Hontoon Island Kayak (& Canoe) Tour Group size: 1 – 24 Trip time: 4.5 – 5 hours Skill level: Intermediate, narrow winding creek can be a challenge for novices 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 This is the only trip where we visit two State Parks in one day. On this trip we explore the many faces of Hontoon Island, an interesting, 1650 acre island of pine flatwoods and hardwood hammock nestled within a broad ring of wetlands – mostly cypress swamps. We’ll begin by coasting the islands west face, where it fronts a quiet backwater called Hontoon Dead River (the St. Johns basin is loaded with “dead” rivers, a handle alluding to the fact that, unlike some side channels, these do not reconnect to the main channel. Apparently, the namers weren’t paddlers. To us, there’s nothing more vibrantly alive than these “dead” rivers! 🙂 Easing southward,...

Ichetucknee River

Ichetucknee River Kayak and Canoe tours We offer several options for paddling the Ichetucknee River. We have a Short trip (2 hours), a Longer trip (4-5 hours) and also unguided/rental canoe or kayak trips with a shuttle. Short trip: (Head spring to Hwy 27 bridge) Group size: 1 – 24 people Trip time: 2 hours Skill level: beginner – expert Long trip: (Head spring to Hwy 129 on the Santa Fe river) Group size: 1 – 24 people Trip time: 4 – 5 hours Skill level: Great for beginners and experts alike 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 Ichetucknee is perhaps one of the most famous rivers in north Florida. When you see it you’ll understand why. The entire six mile river is composed of crystal clear water which boils to the surface through nine named springs (in addition to a number of smaller unnamed ones). On it’s...

Ichetucknee River Unguided/Shuttle

From Labor Day weekend to Memorial Day weekend (Fall, winter and spring) we offer rentals and shuttling for unguided paddle trips on Ichetucknee. This option is not available every day, so please call in advance to let us know what day(s) you plan on going and we’ll discuss the possibilities. These prices are for unguided paddle trips only. For information on guided tour please go to “Ichetucknee River” page.                                                                     Kayak               Tandem                   Canoe Head Spring – Hwy 27 (2 hrs) ……..…..   $ 25   …………     $ 35   ……..………   $ 35 * This is offered in the Winter only. Hwy 129 on Santa Fe R (5 hrs)   ………   $ 35   …………     $ 45   ……..………   $ 45 * Reservations Required. Call (386) 454-0611, use our contact form or e-mail: riverguide2000@yahoo.com to check availability and to discuss your options.   Serenity...

Juniper Run

Juniper Run Kayak (& Canoe) tours Group size: 1 – 24 people Trip time: 4 – 4.5 hours Skill level: Intermediate, narrow winding creek can be a challenge for novices 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 The first mile of this gentle spring run is one of the most magical places in Florida. A thin sheet of crystal clear spring water skims your boat over the white sand bottom (from an ancient sand dune), as you pass through a fantastic sub-tropical forest of palms, hardwoods and lush under story of shrubs, vines, ferns and herbaceous plants. This is Fern Hammock. After a while, the surrounding forest changes, almost imperceptibly, to a higher and drier forest of oaks, hickory and pine. Then, by the time you’ve become used to your new surroundings, the flood plain widens again and the river carries you through an alternating series of...

Olustee Creek

Olustee Creek Canoe and Kayak Trip Group size: 1 – 24 people Trip time:  4 hours Skill level: This is an easy, out-and-back paddle on quiet waters, suitable for all skill levels. Cost: $$50 per person. With your own boat it’s $35. Dates: Check the calendar for dates. If the date you want to paddle is open on the calendar, let us know (at least 2 weeks in advance) and we’ll schedule it. E-mail us at riverguide2000@yahoo.com or call (386) 454-0611 Description Explore the upper reaches of the Santa Fe River watershed to the confluence of Olustee Creek, one of the rivers main feeders. It’s a small, winding, high-banked creek which will not appeal to those interested in wetland communities and/or easy paddle trips. We usually don’t go far up Olustee, especially in low water, but for those who don’t mind having to pull their boat over a few fallen logs, there’s the possibility of seeing wood ducks, deer, beaver, otter, and even a few capybara?! Wildlife Compared to some of our trips, wildlife is relatively scarce here. There’s a fair population of deer in this area, but high banks discourage them from spending much time at the riverside. There are some ‘gators – especially one sizable fellow whose lair is in the area near the confluence of Olustee Creek and the Santa Fe. Many people have gotten wet – falling out of their boat or otherwise – when they surprised him sunning on his favorite, high sand bank. There is, however, one animal of special interest in this region. Capybaras have escaped into the wild reaches of the upper Santa Fe and lower...

Rainbow River

Rainbow River Kayak (& Canoe) Tour Group size: 1 – 24 people Trip time: 3.5 hours Skill level: Beginner – Expert 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 The primary source of this beautiful 5.7 mile river (formerly known as Blue Run) is Rainbow Spring (formerly Blue Spring). As it makes it’s way southward toward it’s confluence with the Withlacoochee River, the river picks up additional water from a number of smaller springs – most notably Garfish Hole about a mile below the head spring. This 24 ft. deep spring has, in recent years, picked up the nickname, K.P. Hole (for the Knights of Pythias who used to have annual gatherings here). Nearby, a beautiful, dense, bottomland forest extending toward the north east follows the small trickle of a run from Indian spring. Situated in the sandy, rolling highlands of the Brooksville Ridge, Rainbow spring run...

Rock Springs Run

Rock Springs Run Canoe and Kayak Trip Group size: 1 – 24 paddlers Trip time: 4.5 – 5 hours Skill level: Intermediate. The relatively long paddle will be exhausting for some. The winding stream makes this a steering challenge for first-timers. Cost: $50 per person ($39 for “wanna go” members). With your own boat it’s $40 ($29 for members). 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 From the moment it springs to life, gushing from the throat of a horizontal, above water-line cavern at the base of a 20 ft. limestone bluff, to it’s confluence with Wekiva River 7 miles later, it’s apparent that Rock Springs Run is like no other. But, if I had to make a comparison, I’d say it most closely resembles Juniper. Like Juniper Run, this stream’s cool, clear flow meanders through a lush, semi-tropical forest of cabbage palm, cypress, maple and other...

Salt Springs

Salt Springs Kayak (& Canoe) Tour Group size: 1 – 24 paddlers Trip time: 3 – 4 hours Skill level: Great for beginners and experts alike. 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 This is a relatively wide run with lots of marsh vegetation lining the banks. This, combined with its proximity to the wide-open St. Johns river, can make this a challenging paddle on windy days (if it’s too windy, we won’t go out). The unusually high mineral content of this water is attributed to the incredible depths of the spring. Originating below an ancient sea floor, the water picks up dissolved particles in this mineral rich layer of sediment on its rush toward the surface. The result is a unique mix of flora and fauna along the run. A couple of ancient Indian mounds make nice rest stops along the way. Wildlife The high mineral...
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...

Santa Fe River: spring-hopping

Santa Fe River: Spring-hopping Kayak (& Canoe) Tour Group size: 1 – 24 paddlers Trip time: 3 – 4 hours Skill level: Great for beginners (and enjoyed by experienced paddlers too) 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 Running through the heart of Florida’s famous “spring region,” the Santa Fe river is a true gem of wild Florida. The upper half of this 75-mile river is a small, winding creek that often dries in low water periods. It’s an interesting area, but one which requires a guide to get to the good parts. But half way down, just above the quaint little town of High Springs, the river changes dramatically. At O’leno State Park the river disappears into an underground cavern. When it reemerges from the depths, three miles away, it is a dramatically different river. Having joined with an underground river of crystal clear spring water,...

Silver River

Silver River Guided Kayak & Canoe Tour   Group size: 1 – 24 people Trip time: 2.5 – 3 hours Skill level: Beginner – Expert Cost:  $50 per person. With your own boat it’s $35. NOTE – There are additional park/launch fees of $6 – $10 (varies depending on how many people are in your vehicle. The more people per vehicle, the less your fees).   Description   This river is about 1 hour south of Gainesville, 1.5 hours from Orlando and 1.5 hours from Tampa. As we set off on this 2.5 hour, downstream-only paddle, we first enter onto the river’s large head-spring, the well-named Mammoth Spring. Heading downstream, the first mile of the river carries us past a series of other substantial springs that feed more clear, artesian water from small spring coves along either side.   The channel here is 30 – 40 ft wide and flanked by an unbroken panorama of cypress, ash, gum, red maple and an assortment of other trees and plants. These are an important part of the great Ocklawaha river basin, which this river joins after its 5.5 mile run (just beyond our take-out site).   There are always many water birds, especially near the head spring. Turtles, gators and and other reptiles always keep things interesting, as do my personal favorites, the river otters. The quiet paddler with a searching eye will usually spot one of these stealthy hunters on about 3/4 of our trips.   The most popular animals on Silver River are the Rhesus monkeys  (actually macaques – see below). Even though exotic species are never welcome in natural habitats, its hard not to enjoy watching these interesting, amusing Asian/African primates. It’s not their...

Suwannee River

Suwannee River Kayak & Canoe Tour (Upper River)   Time:  About 3.5 – 4 hours, including a lunch stop. Meeting site:  Suwannee River, about 1.5 hours NW of Gainesville.  Cost:  $50 per person ($39 for “wanna go” members). With your own boat it’s $40 ($29 for members). * NOTE – There is also an additional $2 park entry fee to Suwannee River State Park     Description   On this trip we’ll be paddling the upper Suwannee River from the confluence of Alapaha River to Suwannee River S.P. We begin this trip with a short, ten minute stroll through some very interesting historical sites, representing a few of the more important periods of the Suwannee’s history. Then we hop in the van for a 10 minute shuttle up to the launch site to start our 7.5 mile paddle down the Suwannee.   The plant communities along this part of the Suwannee reflect the higher, drier terrain through which much of the river winds. The combination of high, sandy banks and dark, tannin-stained water, makes aquatic vegetation relatively scarce. But on shore there’s no shortage of greenery. Lanky, coastal plain willows, river birch, and Ogechee tupelos along with a number of sedge and grass species cling to the higher, firmer sand banks.   On top of the bluffs, an unbroken forest of oaks and pines rule the high ground. It’s a fairly remote area and animals such as deer, bobcats, hogs, turkey and an occasional bear come to the waters edge for a drink although sightings are relatively scarce.   Also residing in this stretch of the river are a...

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...

Suwannee River Spring Hop #2

   SUWANNEE SPRING HOP #2:  Hwy 51 – Mearson Spring      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   There are few places, in Florida or elsewhere, where you can find as many beautiful and unique springs as are found along the middle Suwannee River. On this trip, we’ll visit Telford, Bathtub, Convict, Running, Royal and Mearson springs.   This is a relatively wide section of the Suwannee, averaging 300 – 400 feet across, that flows lazily in long, sweeping curves. Stained dark brown with tannins, much of it having come from the swampy headwaters of the Okefenokee swamp, contrast sharply with sandy white beaches and sloping bluffs. Perched above the river bank and stretching unseen for miles in all directions, mixed forests of pine and oak dominate the setting. It’s a higher, drier terrain than we experience on our “swampier” rivers, with nice, expansive vistas – plenty of Kodak moments.   The width of this section can make it sunny and hot or breezy at times. It’s a fairly long stretch too (about 11 miles) and usually takes us about 4.5 – 5 hours, including swim and lunch stops at the springs.     Wildlife   At this time of year, Middle Suwannee is the stomping grounds (or rather, splashing grounds) of the amazing Gulf sturgeon. Unlike some wildlife encounters, spotting sturgeons takes no skill at all. Just keep your eye trained to the open water...

Weeki Wachee River

 Weeki Wachee Kayak and Canoe Tour   Group size: 1 – 24 people Trip time: 3.5 – 4 hours Skill level: Intermediate – Expert This river is about 2 hours south of Gainesville, 1 hour north of St. Pete and 1.5 hours west of Orlando.     Description   This is one of the most beautiful spring runs in Florida, easily ranking with Ichetucknee and Silver. It’s also one of the most diverse. Between the head spring and its entry into the Gulf of Mexico, this gentle stream passes through high banked scrub, Hydric forest, low swamp and a few small freshwater marshes. Most of our Weeki Wachee tours end a couple of miles before the salt marshes and open Gulf. Even so, most of the water we paddle is influenced by the tides. While it never reverses flow like Waccasassa, it’s flow rate fluctuates dramatically. One advantage to starting at the headspring, is that it allows us to see the open, freshwater marsh community that dominates the first mile of the river. This is where we see the most wildlife, such as egrets, herons and cormorants.  A very unique element of this first stretch is the presence of pelicans. They, along with their woodstork buddies, have a strong affinity for this area. Behind the marsh vegetation, on both sides, the river bank rises sharply, reaching 25 to 30 feet in some places. These sandy white bluffs are relict dunes and, as with the ancient dunes we encounter on other trips, these are topped by open, dry scrub habitat. Those familiar with this increasingly rare habitat will recognize the lanky, widely spaced sand pines that...

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...