(386) 454-0611 riverguide2000@yahoo.com

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...

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...

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,...

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...

Prairie Creek

Prairie Creek Kayak and Canoe Tour  Group size: 1 – 24 people Trip time: 2.5 – 3 hours Skill level: Intermediate – Expert Cost: $50 per person ($39 for “wanna go” members). If you bring your own boat it’s $40 per person. ($29 for “wanna go” members)   Description  Located about 20 minutes east of Gainesville, Prairie Creek connects two of North Central Florida’s most popular havens for wildlife watching, Newnans Lake and Paynes Prairie. So, it’s no surprise that a paddle down this winding, dark-water, creek offers a variety of plants and animals. We usually see a number of water birds, and if you watch closely, you’ll probably spot a few turtles sunning on logs and branches debris on the riverbank. We begin this journey on Newnans Lake. The dense marsh thickets that sprouted during droughts a few years ago are still thriving, as is the abundant wildlife that loves such places. Around the edges of these marshes, American lotus plants are at the tail end of their bloom. While many are still displaying their showy yellow flowers, most are sporting the odd looking seed heads that are commonly seen in flower arrangements.   As your boat glides into the mouth of Prairie Creek, you’ll realize you’ve discovered one of Gainesville’s least-known natural treasures. For most of it’s run, Prairie Creek courses through a mature forest of mixed hardwoods and cypress which form a dense, closed canopy overhead. Most years, seasonal rains cause the creek to brim and spill over the low, sandy banks into the forest. This keeps the understory relatively free of vegetation and allows good viewing into the forest. As our journey carries us closer to...

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...

Newnans Lake

Newnans Lake Kayak (& Canoe) tours Group size: 1 – 24 people Trip length: 3 – 4 hours Skill level: Beginner Difficulty: The shallow water may require an occasional scooch or pry, but you shouldn’t have to get out of your boat. Once we’ve passed the initial shallow area, the rest of the trip has plenty of water. Winds can be brisk on the open lake, but the tall marsh vegetation should give good protection. 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 Located only a few miles northeast of Paynes Prairie, this lake shares much of the amazing cultural and natural history of the famous prairie. The archaeological record shows that this area was a favorite hunting ground for the first nomadic paleo-Indians and later, was the site of several important settlements as then Indian cultures became more complex and stationary. Running along the lake’s eastern shore,...

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,...
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...