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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...