(386) 454-0611 riverguide2000@yahoo.com

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...

Lower Suwannee River NWR Paddle Trail

Lower Suwannee River NWR Paddle Trail  “Chapman’s Lost World of the Ivory-Bill” Group size: 1 – 24 paddlers Trip time: 3 – 4 hours Skill level: Great for beginners and experts alike The meeting site is in the Town of Suwannee, about 1.5 hours W of Gainesville.      Description This tour follows a network of beautiful back creeks and side channels along the lower Suwannee River. Our entire trip is within the bounds of the 53,000 acre Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge. Here, low tidal creeks and coastal swamps are home to a fantastic array of bird, reptile, amphibian and insect species. While the main channel of this last leg of the Suwannee is relatively wide (averaging 600 – 800 feet across), the backwaters we follow on this trip rarely span more than 100 feet and are partially shaded near the edges by overhanging bald cypress, water elm, tupelo, ash, maple and oaks. The shrub layer is dominated by swamp dogwoods, Walter viburnum, buttonbush and climbing asters.This tour is part of our “Wild Florida Chronicles” series, in which we follow the routes of some famous explorations. On this segment of the series, we follow the Chapman/Brewster expedition of 1890. While this team of famous naturalists only spent a couple of weeks exploring this area, their combined knowledge, along with with detailed notes and journal entries, left us a great snap-shot of life along the lower Suwannee in the late 19th century. Most of the species they described are still here, including great blue, tri-colored. little blue herons, great and snowy egrets, prothonotary and parula warblers, swallow-tailed kites (in...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Cumberland Island

Cumberland Island Kayak tours Group size: 1 – 24 people Trip length: 6 – 8 hours Skill level: Moderate (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 Above all else, its the wonderful sense of mystery that captures your senses as you first stroll onto the brilliant, sugar- sand beaches of Cumberland Island. It hangs thick in the air, overpowering all else like the heavy fragrance of an orange tree in full bloom. Defining the extreme south eastern corner of Georgia, this seventeen mile barrier island is a nature lovers dream. Perhaps the most amazing thing about this beautiful island is that it remains in a primarily natural state. This, in spite of the fact that people have had their eye on settling here from the earliest days of exploration and settlement. Starting with the earliest days of colonization, when three different Christian missions were...

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...

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...

Wakulla River

Wakulla River Kayak and Canoe Tour   Group size: 1 – 24 people Trip time: 3 – 3.5 hours Skill level: Beginner (in good physical condition) – 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.     Description   We’re usually on the water about 3.5 – 4 hours. With a flow rate that varies from 300,000 to nearly a billion gallons per day, Wakulla ranks as one of the largest (and perhaps most variable) springs in the world (rivaling Silver Springs, where the maximum flow has never been as great as Wakulla’s maximum, but the daily average is greater). With its rich, colorful history, especially at the old fort ruins where our trip ends, Wakulla ranks as one of the all-stars of Florida’s spring rivers.   Come here during warm months from April through November and you might spot some manatees. In the past, they all moved southeastward in the fall to spend winter in...

Waccasassa River

WACCASASSA/WEKIVA RIVER KAYAK AND 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. Trip description   On this trip we’ll be exploring a couple of the finest waterways on the Gulf coast, the Waccasassa and Wekiva Rivers. At first glance, there’s nothing to tell the casual paddler that Waccasassa River is born of the beautiful Levy Blue spring near Bronson. The tannin stained water speaks more of the Devil’s Hammock swamp, through which it passes, than the artesian fountain at its head. Blue Spring is a popular watering hole that draws scores of locals on warm summer weekends. The Wekiva, too, is spring-fed. Like it’s sister river, the refreshing waters at it’s source can be enjoyed for a price, but not for recreation – for consumption. A Japanese, bottled-water company bought the spring about 20 years ago and...

Tomoka River

 TOMOKA RIVER KAYAK (& CANOE) TOUR Group size: 1 – 24 people Trip time: 3.5 hours Skill level: Beginner – Expert The meeting place is about 2 hours from Gainesville. This is a round-trip paddle, ending at the same spot from which we launch. We’re usually on the water for about 3.5 – 4 hours.     Trip description   On this trip we will be exploring the salt marshes on the lower part of the Tomoka river, near Ormond Beach on the east coast.   This tributary of the Halifax River (actually a lagoon) is typical for and Atlantic coastal river in that it’s fairly short – only about 10 miles. The section we’ll be paddling on this days trip is the open salt marshes in the last few miles, where the river joins the Halifax.   About 8 miles upstream from the area we will be paddling, the Tomoka river starts as a small, swampy backwater. From there, it experiences an impressive transformation. Leaving the swamp, it eases it’s way quietly through a densely shaded stand of cypress. After a couple of miles, it begins to open up. Passing under hwy 40, the river continues to widen while the ever increasing wash of sunlight spawns a change in the riverside vegetation. Thick groves of palm trees make a very interesting setting, forming thick mats of fallen fronds and leaf boots where reptiles and other interesting inhabitants live the good life.   By the time the stream enters the coastal lagoon known as Halifax River, it is a wide, tidal estuary dominated by saw grass marsh. Egrets, herons and cormorants are everywhere. Osprey are common too,...

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...

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...

St. Johns River: Bartram’s Battle Lagoon

St. Johns River: Bartram’s Battle Lagoon Kayak (& Canoe) Tour Group size: 1 – 24 paddlers Trip time:  Short: (Battle Lagoon & Bartrams camp site),  3 hours.                    Long: (above plus 1/2 Alexander Spring Run, 6 – 6.5 hours Skill level: Suitable for intermediate and expert paddlers. Your main concern here is strength and endurance. Six hours of paddling can be tiring for some, even though we’ll stop a couple of times along the way. 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 trip is part of our “Wild Florida Chronicles” series, in which we visit some natural areas described by early naturalists and explorers. Some of these places have changed considerably, while others would probably be recognized by chroniclers from a couple of hundred years ago. We do two versions of this tour. The shorter tour lasts about 2.5 – 3 hours...

St. Augustine

St. Augustine Kayak (& Canoe) Tour Group size: 1 – 24 paddlers Trip time: 3 – 4  hrs.   OR  5 – 6 hrs. for longer tour Skill level: Intermediate. The open waters on this trip can be kicked up into a considerable chop by the frequent winds. 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 the wilder side of the St. Augustine area and check out a couple of historic sites that the tourist trolleys and horse buggies can never go. For 3.5 – 4 hours (including a couple of stops), we explore two of the primary rivers used throughout St. Augustine’s 450 year written history, and for thousands of years before. But, as always, seeking out these historic sites is just another great excuse to get out on the water and enjoy a day of exploring the wild side of North Florida. The primary habitats we...

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...

Paynes Prairie History Hike

Paynes Prairie History Hike Group size: 1 – 24 people Trip time: 2 – 3 hours Skill level: Great for anyone capable of a 3 – 4 mile hike. (Shorter hikes and wheelchair accessible routes also available. Cost: $20 per person Dates: Check the calendar for dates. If the date you want to hike 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 Paynes Prairie is a large, 20 square mile basin formed by dissolution and collapse of underground limestone. This is the same process that forms the many sinkholes in this part of Florida. It’s also the process that forms most of our local lakes, but what makes the Prairie different is that there’s a hole in the bottom. At the northern edge of the Prairie basin, a hole in the limestone bottom known as Alachua Sink, drains water into the underground aquifer system. It’s a relatively small hole however, perhaps the size of a small car, so it takes a long time to drain the basin when it floods. This constant dampness – rarely dry and only occasionally flooded – has created a fantastic marshland. This hike starts with a brief, 10 minute discussion of the Prairie’s early history (12,000 years of history in 15 minutes – I’ll talk fast!). We then set of into the Prairie. When we reach the observation deck in the center of the Prairie, we’ll see what animals we can spot. There, surrounded by the sights, sounds and scents of the Prairie, I’ll spend another 10 –...

Orange Lake

Orange Lake Canoe and Kayak Trip Group size: 1 – 24 people Trip time:  3 – 3.5 hours Skill level: This is an easy 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 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. This Lake is a few miles southeast of Micanopy and about 15 miles south of Gainesville. To see this river’s general location, go to the River Locator Map Description This 3 hour paddle takes place in the southwestern corner of Orange Lake, near the town of McIntosh. This is opposite the area we see on our Cross Creek trips, and while these two areas are separated by...

Ocklawaha River Gore’s Landing – Eureka

We offer 3 guided canoe and kayak trips on the Ocklawaha River: Ocklawaha River: Gore’s Landing – Eureka (see description below) Ocklawaha River:  Silver  River – Gore’s Landing Florida’s Pompeii – The Reservoir (Rodman Dam) Ocklawaha River: Gore’s Landing – Eureka Canoe and Kayak trip Group size: 1 – 24 people. Trip length : 4 – 4.5 hrs. Skill level: Great for beginners and experts alike. Difficulty: This is easy flowing water with few (if any) obstacles. And it’s all downstream. Novices will not have a problem. The main consideration is your endurance. For some, 3 – 4 hours of paddling can be tiring. But, it’s all downstream and, as many of you know, we encourage paddlers to take their time to enjoy the surroundings. 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 Ocklawaha which Florida’s noted author, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, knew and loved. And it’s...

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...

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,...

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...

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...
Deep Creek

Deep Creek

Deep Creek Kayak (& Canoe) Tour Group size: 1 – 24 people Trip time: 4 – 4.5 hours Skill level: Beginner – Expert. (This is an easy paddle on slow, tannin-stained waters. The open waters of the lakes can get choppy in wind, but we are never very far from the protected channel of the creek.) 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   This river is about 1 hour east of Gainesville near Hastings (between Palatka and St. Augustine).  A quiet moment on Deep Creek   Description On this will be a round-trip (out-and-back) paddle, we’ll explore one of the more scenic and undeveloped side streams in the lower St. Johns River basin. Our total route is about 8 miles, so we’ll be on the water 4 – 4.5 hours.   There is little current on this stream, which makes it suitable for all skill levels. Being...

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...

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...

Ocklawaha River – Silver River – Gores Landing

We offer 3 guided canoe and kayak trips on the Ocklawaha River: Ocklawaha River: Silver River – Gores Landing (see description below) Ocklawaha River:  Gore’s Landing – Eureka Ocklawaha River: Florida’s Pompeii – The Reservoir (Rodman Dam) Ocklawaha River: Silver Riv – Gores Landing Kayak (& Canoe) tours Group size: 1 – 24 people. Trip length : 4 – 4.5 hrs. 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 trip begins with a brief, fifteen minute float down the Silver river to it’s confluence with the Ocklawaha. Here, as the Silver’s cold, clear water blends with the warm, tannin stained waters of the Ocklawaha, the significance of the huge spring run to the Ocklawaha system is apparent. The change is so abrupt that you can hang your hands off each side of your boat and feel water that’s too warm for a...