Whether you are looking for a remote, wilderness experience, such as the Wilderness Waterway, or a peaceful journey, such as the tropical Juniper Springs run, Florida offers a wealth of opportunities for canoeists to enjoy. You can paddle for a few hours or spend a week depending on your interests and the canoe run you choose. As with most outdoor activities in the state, do not forget to pack the bug spray and follow safe boating practices.
Juniper Spring Canoe Run
Located within the Ocala National Forest, the Juniper Springs Canoe Run offers a seven-mile run through the heart of the tropical and lush Juniper Prairie Wilderness area. Canoeists can access the run from within the Juniper Spring Recreational Area, and they can bring their own canoe or rent one.
Many feel this run is the most beautiful Florida has to offer. The first 2.5 miles take canoeists through a narrow waterway that is only about a foot deep. Low hanging palms and trees give the area a feeling of a tropical paradise. The stream opens to a wider area that is home to alligators, turtles, otters and various bird species.
The run takes approximately 4 to 5 hours to complete and is family friendly due to slow-moving currents and no dangerous obstacles. A park shuttle will pick you up and bring you back to the park when you are done.
Juniper Springs Recreational Area
26701 E. Hwy. 40
Silver Springs, fl 34488
Tomoka River State Park
The 13-mile Tomoka River canoe run offers the canoeist an opportunity to enjoy the dark tannin waters of a river as well as the changing waters of a salt marsh. Visitors, who can bring their own or rent, put in and take out their canoes at the park.
This is an easy canoe run for the entire family; there are no obstacles and the current usually is not swift. Depending on how far you decide to paddle, the run can take up to six hours to complete. Wildlife of all types abounds.
Tomoka River State Park
2099 N. Beach St.
Ormond Beach, Fl 32174
The Wilderness Waterway, located in the Florida Everglades, is one of the most famous and wild canoe runs in the state. It is recommended only for experienced paddlers because of tidal changes, high winds, swift currents and difficult navigation. The run traverses mazes of mangrove swamps and bays. Even experienced paddlers take a map because it is easy to get lost in the remote, untouched landscape.
The run is 99 miles long, beginning in the Everglades National Park and ending at the Gulf Coast. There are two take out points: Everglades City and Chokoloskee. Those wanting to experience only a portion of the run will have to put in and return to the same access point. The entire route takes approximately nine days to complete. There are numbered guide markers along the route, and campsites are available. Permits are required for overnight camping and are obtainable at the Flamingo Campground, located at the beginning of the national forest.
Everglades National Park
400001 State Rd. 9336
Homestead, Fl 33034