WACCASASSA/WEKIVA RIVER KAYAK AND CANOE TOUR
Group size: 1 – 24 people
Trip time: 3.5 hours
Skill level: Beginner – Expert
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).
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!
Schedule a private tour. Use contact form, email us at [email protected] or call (386-454-0611)
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.
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 is now happily selling us water from our own aquifer.
The first leg of our trip will be up the Waccasassa. Starting out in the lower basin, we find ourselves in a swampy, river forest of cypress, red maples, and bay with lots of aquatic and understory plants in the water and along the river bank. As we make our way into the upper reaches of the Waccasassa, we enter a higher and drier forest of hickory, oak, elm, Florida buckeye trees and pine. Here, the high, closed canopy and occasional flooding makes for minimal undergrowth and good visibility for wildlife viewing.
This trip offers plenty of good photo opportunities with lots of flowers and a few giant, old cypress trees, whose large cavities and “defects” made them “unworthy” of the loggers ax.
After lunch we paddle back downstream to the mouth of the Wekiva. From there, anyone who is tired or has time limitations can head back to the boat ramp about 15 minutes away. The rest of us will head up the Wekiva and explore to our hearts content.
The variety of habitats, all very scenic, keeps this trip from ever becoming monotonous. Just when you’ve had a chance to fully appreciate your surroundings, they change. Every season has something to offer in the Waccasassa area. This time o
f year, the Swallow-tailed kites are still around and lots of flowering plants are beginning to attract the butterflies which, in the fall, are thick.
This is an up-and-back paddle, going against a light current in the first half of the trip. So, it can be tiring for people in weak physical condition. In the upper river, we sometimes encounter a few low branches that require ducking and some shallowly submerged branches which require scooching over. Remember, every duck and scooch is another barrier between us and the world of motor boats. The hardest paddling on this trip is upstream in the Wekiva, though the current here is minimal. Nothing like the Silver.