25 Best Places to Kayak in Florida

Written by Best Kayak Guide

Feb 11, 2022

February 11, 2022

Kayaking was first introduced during the 1950s, by some people who used lashings, or strips of wood with lots of knots in them, instead of modern-day paddles. 

This made it tiring to paddle on open water so they opted for rivers and lakes which were often more calm than the ocean waves. Kayaks would also be made with two seats so that more than one person could go at once.

Kayaking is popular in Florida because it provides a great way to experience the state’s wetlands. The mangrove swamps off the coast, various rivers and lakes inland offer many different types of kayaking opportunities for all skill levels. 

There are so many beautiful sites to see from the water that you will be able to create your own unique experience! 

While kayaking is a sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages, it’s especially popular with those who are looking for an adrenaline-filled day. From the mangrove swamps off the coast to various rivers and lakes inland, Florida has everything you could want in terms of water activities. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and enjoy!

Kayaking has become a popular water sport that is perfect for any adventure seeker. You can stay close to shore or venture out into the open water, it doesn’t matter. Your only limit is your imagination.

Best weather to go Kyaking is during the months of May, June, September and October. Also , the weekdays are recommended over weekends because they are less busy. If you’re looking for a great way to make the most of your kayaking experience, 

Table of Contents

Before you go kayaking in Florida, there are a few things you should know.

Here are a few tips to help you out: 

1. Make sure to bring plenty of sunscreen and insect repellent. The Florida sun can be brutal, and the mosquitoes can be relentless, so it’s important to protect yourself from both. 

2. Wear shoes that can get wet and are comfortable for walking. You’ll be doing a lot of both while you’re kayaking, so it’s important to be comfortable. 

3. Bring a hat and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun. Again, the Florida sun can be harsh, so it’s important to take precautions. 

Do you need a license to kayak in Florida?

Do you need a license to kayak in Florida?

Yes, for most areas you have to have a permit or pay a fee. For instance if you are kayaking at the Guana River State Park, there is a $3 per day fee.

Click here to more info.

(appropriate link to get the relevat details)

Is it safe to Kayak in Florida? 

Is it safe to Kayak in Florida? 

Yes, Florida is a great place to kayak because it offers so many different types of scenery. Singles can enjoy the mangrove swamps off the coast, various rivers and lakes inland offer many different type of kayaking opportunities for all skill levels. Florida also has everything you could want in terms of water activities so you should go out there and have some fun! 

However always be aware of your surroundings, be respectful to other people and nature, and take precautions against the sun, mosquitoes, etc . With those things in mind, kayaking in Florida is a great experience for everyone.

Do you require a life jacket while kayaking?

You must always wear a lifejacket in a canoe or kayak when alone in your vessel.

What should you do if you come across an alligator while kayaking?

What should you do if you come across an alligator while kayaking?

Don’t try to feed an alligator; if you see one, keep your distance. If an alligator is in your path, stay out of it. Most importanatly, alligators don’t like being cornered.

Here are 25 Best places to Kayak in Florida:

1.Winter Park Chain of Lakes, Orlando

The Winter Park Chain of Lakes comprises of six interconnected lakes: Lake Virginia, Lake Mizell, Lake Osceola, Lake Maitland, Lake Nina, and Lake Minnehaha. Winter Park chain of lakes includes a great selection of paddling opportunities.

This area features an excellent network of waterways that wind through neighborhoods and historic sites, creating a unique kayaking experience with the city as backdrop. The canals connect six large freshwater lakes that are home to fish and turtles, which in turn provide food for osprey and herons. 

From the mangrove swamps off the coast to various rivers and lakes inland, Florida has everything you could want in terms of water activities.

You can see many animals like birds, fishes, and alligators while kayaking in this area. Aquatic plants thrive along the banks provide relief from the sun and wind and make for an incredibly pleasant and relaxing experience. 

The best time to visit is during the months of May, June, September, and October when the weather is perfect for kayaking. Weekdays are also recommended over weekends because they are less busy.

Nevertheless, it is important to be cautious while paddling in Orlando. There have been sightings of alligators in the canals, so make sure to keep your eyes peeled while you’re on the water.

Fees and Accomadation:

There is no fee to paddle in Winter Park, but some areas do require a permit. Kayaks and canoes can be rented from several locations in the area and the accomodations for launching and landing are adequate.

Directions : 

The Orlando area is easily accessible from I-4. Take exit 87 and head west on Fairbanks Avenue. Turn left onto Orange Avenue, which will take you into the heart of downtown Winter Park. 

There are plenty of places to park, so finding a spot should not be a problem. The lakes are located just south of Park Avenue and east of Fairbanks Avenue.

2.Lake Dora, Tavares

Lake Dora is a man-made lake in Tavares, Florida. The canal links Lake Dora and Lake Eustis.It might be one of the most gorgeous miles you’ll ever travel. You can see alligators, herons, egrets and an amazing array of “old Florida” flora. You can spend an afternoon paddling or just relax on the shoreline watching the wildlife go by.

Lake Dora is a beautiful waterway that courses through Tavares, about 20 miles west of Orlando. It’s part of a canal system built in the early 1900s to supply water to growing communities.

The lake itself was dredged in 1917 and expanded in 1930 with excavation done for sand and clay needed for construction projects like homes and office buildings after World War I.

Navertherless, it is important to be cautious while paddling in Tavares. There have been sightings of alligators in the canals, so make sure to keep your eyes peeled while you’re on the water. The best time to go kayking in Lake Dora is during the months of May, June, September and October. Also, the weekdays are recommended over weekends because they are less busy.

Fees and Accomadation:

There is no charge to paddle in Tavares, but some areas do need a permit.. Kayaks and canoes can be rented from several locations in the area and the The facilities for launch and landing are sufficient.

Directions: 

Lake Dora is accessible through State Road 19. Once you’ve reached State Road 19, turn onto West Burleigh Boulevard. Follow it until it turns into North Donnelly Street after which you will see the gates of Lake Dora on your right-hand side.

3.Harris Chain of Lakes, Eustis

Harris Chain of Lakes, Eustis

The Seven Harris Chain Lakes are Big and Little Harris, Dora, Carlton, Beauclair, Eustis, and Griffin. Lake Yale is a part of the Chain but isn’t connected to the other lakes. 

The headwaters of the Chain are located in Lake Apopka near Orlando. Harris Chain is a wonderful place to canoe or kayak if you know where to go and what to avoid. These lakes are big with miles of open water. The main lakes can become very rough in bad weather and numerous power boat wakes make paddling a canoe or kayak stressful and potentially dangerous. 

Fortunately, there are many areas that can be enjoyed in a small paddle powered craft. One of the best areas for Harris Chain canoe and kayak exploring is Haines Creek, which is a six mile long canal that wind through neighborhoods and historic sites, creating a unique kayaking experience with the city as backdrop. The canals connect six large freshwater lakes that are home to fish and turtles, which in turn provide food for the alligators.

The best times to paddle the Harris Chain are during the winter months when the weather is cooler or during the summer when it’s less busy.However, although it’s essential to be careful when paddling in the Harris Chain, it is crucial to do so. 

There have been reports of alligators in the canals, so keep an eye out while you’re on the water.

Fees and Accomadtion: 

There is no charge to paddle in Lake County, but some areas do need a permit. Kayaks and canoes can be rented from several locations in the area and launch facilities are easily accessible.

Directions: 

The Harris Chain of Lakes is located in Lake County, which is about an hour northwest of Orlando. To get there, take I-4 west to exit 86 and head north on Highway 27. Once you reach Highway 19, turn left and continue until you reach the intersection with U.S. 441. Turn right onto 441 and follow it until you reach the stoplight at County Road 44A. Turn left onto 44A and follow it to the entrance of the Chain Lakes Recreation Area on the right-hand side.

4.Lake Yale, Eustis

Lake Yale, Eustis

Lake Yale offers a lot of great scenery to be seen while kayaking. The lake is relatively small so paddles don’t need to go too far out to get that perfect scene. This means that kayakers can enjoy the scenery up close, which makes for an unforgettable experience. The facilities are also excellent for launching and landing facilities are easily accessible.

However , as Lake Yale is a part of the Harris Chain of Lakes, you need to be aware that there are alligators in the area. Therefore, care should be taken at all times when paddling on this lake.

While kayaking you can see the sights of Mount Dora, which is a picturesque town on the lake’s eastern shore. On the opposite side of the lake, kayakers can see the unspoiled beauty of the Ocala National Forest. 

If you are feeling extra adventorous while kayaking, you can also visit Lake Eustis, a larger lake that is connected to Lake Yale. The waters of Lake Eustis are a little rougher but still nice for paddling.

The best time for kayaking in Lake Yale is during the months of May, June and October. However, it’s essential to check water levels before going out as they can vary dramatically depending on rainfall and weather conditions. However, Yale Lake can be paddled any time of year.

Fees and Accomadtion: 

There is no charge to paddle in Lake County, but some areas do need a permit. Kayaks and canoes can be rented from several locations in the area and launch facilities are easily accessible.

Directions: 

Lake Yale is located just off State Road 19 in Eustis making it very accessible for kayaking or canoeing. Turn onto West Burleigh Boulevard, follow it until it turns into North Donnelly Street after which you will see the gates of Lake Yale on your right-hand side.

5.Lake Griffin, Fruitland Park

https://youtube.com/watch?v=DOYFXv0nu-8

The park, which covers 577.63 acres, has the state’s second largest live oak tree, which is thought to be around 400 years old. A short walking trail that starts close to the park’s ranger station allows you to get an even closer look. 

A canal connects the park to Lake Griffin, where visitors can enjoy Kayaking, boating and canoeing. The species you can see while kayaking vary depending on the time of year, but you can generally expect to see a variety of birds, turtles and fish. Lake Griffin State Park is best for kayaking because it has many high trees to hide behind.

The best time to visit Lake Griffin is during summer when it’s less busy and during the winter months when the weather is cooler. It’s also essential to check water levels before going out as they can vary dramatically depending on rainfall and weather conditions. However , this lake can be paddled practically all year round.

Fees and Accommodation: 

Lake Griffin does not charge fees but there are some areas that do require a permit such as Flatwoods Area at the entrance to the park which costs $5 per day or $15 for an annual pass. This may variey depending on the time of year so it’s best to check before heading out.

There are excellent facilities for launching and landing kayaks, as well as a number of picnic areas if you want to take a break from paddling. 

Campgrounds are available at Lake Griffin State Park which is open throughout the year and can accommodate both RVs and tent campers. There are showers, restrooms, fire rings, picnic tables and grills for cooking available on site.

Directions: 

Lake Griffin State Park sits just off US Highway 441 where you will find the ranger station on the left-hand side of the parking lot. It’s also located near Leesburg, Mount Dora and Eustis making it an ideal place to stay if visiting this part of Florida. From Interstate 95 take Exit 191 onto Highway 27 North toward Clermont. Continue driving along State Road 50 for about 14 miles until you turn right.

6.Lake Weir, Marion County

Kayaking in Lake Weir is excellent for beginners and offers a variety of scenery. With no horsepower limit on the lake, pontoon boats are a common sight. Lake Weir, Marion Country is located on the western shore of Lake Weir. 

The county has a population of 18,829 and was established in 1887. There are many valuable resources to be found including its natural environment and historic sites like the Old Jail Tree at Lake Weir Park. 

The Lake is well known for kayaking, boating and water sports. It is open 24 hours a day to all kinds of vessels. There are several public boat ramps with ample parking for vehicles and boats trailers. 

You’ll find that this is a great place to paddle around because there is an of wildlife including alligators, deer, bald eagles and ospreys. Nevertheless , you can also find a lot of different species of fish including catfish, bass, bluegill and more.

A canal connects this park to Lake Griffin where visitors can enjoy Kayaking or boating as well as canoeing depending on their preference. It’s best time to visit this park is during the summer when it’s less busy and during the winter months.

Fees and Accommadation: 

There is a $5.00 per vehicle park entrance fee for Marion County residents and a $10.00 per vehicle fee for non-residents. There are primitive camping, full hookup camping and even cabins avaiable to stay in while visiting the park. The prices may vary depending on the season.

There are several launch ramps available for both motorized and non-motorized boats as well as canoes and kayaks. This lake is popular for kayaking and canoeing because it’s location makes it very accessible for paddling from launch facilities as well as campgrounds that accommodate both RVers and tent campers with showers, restrooms, fire rings, picnic tables and grills for cooking available on site.

Directions: 

From I-75 take exit 341 and head east on SR 484 for 6.5 miles. Turn left on CR 484 and continue for 1.5 miles, then turn right on NE 135th St. The park entrance is 0.25 miles ahead on the left.

7.The Ocklawaha River, Fort McCoy

The Ocklawaha River is a tributary of the St. Johns River, located in Marion County, Florida. The Ocklawaha flows for approximately 134 miles (215 km) from its source in Lake County to its mouth on the St. Johns River near Palatka. It was originally called the “Wacissa” by the Creek people who lived in the area. The river was renamed the “Ocklawaha” by American settlers.

Alligators, deer, bald eagles, and ospreys are among the many animals that you’ll encounter while out on the River. Nevertheless, you can also see a lot of different species of fish including catfish, bass bluegill and more.

If you’re not sure where to go kayaking Ocklawaha River may be the right choice for you. It’s close enough to Orlando but it’s hard to access if you’re driving from the coast which makes it less crowded with tourists. 

Ocklawaha River Park offers visitors several launch ramps for both motorized and non-motorized boats as well as canoes and kayaks so paddlers have plenty of choices when

Kayaking in Florida is a fantastic way to appreciate the state’s natural beauty. The Ocklawaha River, located in Fort McCoy, is one of the best places for kayaking because it offers a remote and narrow river that was once popular with those on their way to Silver Springs. The trip takes about three hours, during which few mosquitoes are present.

You’ll be able to spot hundreds of turtles, a dozen alligators, and a variety of birds, including our favorites that day: kingfishers with their enormous heads and rattle calls zipping about. The commercial world appeared to be miles away from the 8-mile stretch of river.

Best time to kayak in the river is early morning or evening. We would recommend kayaking down the river with someone who is experienced. If you’re looking for a kayaking experience that will take you far away from the everyday world, the Ocklawaha River is definitely worth checking out. 

Fees and Accommodation:

There are no fees to kayak on the Ocklawaha River. There are a few places where you can pull off and park your vehicle, but there are no designated camping areas.

Directions: 

The Ocklawaha River is located in Fort McCoy, which is approximately an hour and a half drive from Orlando. Take I-4 to exit 114 and head south on CR 42. Turn left on Fort McCoy Road and follow it until you reach the river.

8. Silver Springs State Park, Ocala

The 4,000-acre Silver Springs State Park incorporates not only the water features, but also the rest of the 5-mile long Silver River and surrounding sandhill forest. The magnificent main spring, surrounded by ancient buildings and peaceful gardens, is a reminder of the park’s past as a major tourist draw. 

People often travel to Silver Spring State Park to Paddle a kayak on the river, Hike or camp outside.

Since the 1870s, Silver Springs has been well-known; it is Florida’s most famous spring. And yet, its location in Ocala miles off of an expressway means that many Florida residents and visitors haven’t been here before now! But this is changing with construction on new access roads from I-75 to SR 484 making it easier to get to Silver Springs. 

You can find some of Florida’s best kayaking experiences at Silver Springs State Park in Ocala, located on the 5-mile long Silver River where you can spot hundreds of turtles and various species of fish including catfish and bluegill, as well as kingfishers .

The commercial world appeared to be miles away from the 5-mile stretch of river. Also, this park has a nature center and some really interesting gardens to explore. 

Best time for kayaking at this location is early morning or evening when there are fewer bugs out and it’s cooler than during the middle of day. We would recommend going kayaking with someone more experienced because if you’re looking for an intense kayaking experience, Silver Springs is the place to go!

Fees and Accommodation: 

There are no fees to launch your kayak or canoe on the river. You can drive up to a few places where you can park your vehicle but there are no designated camping areas.

Directions: 

Silver Springs State Park in Ocala is located about an hour’s drive from Orlando along I-75 at exit 352, then onto SR 484. The Ocklawaha River is just south of Silver Springs State Park. To get to Ocklawaha River State Park, take exit 351 on I-75 and head west for 6 miles. Turn left.

9. Rainbow Springs State Park, Dunnellon

When you visit Florida, it’s likely that at some point you’ll take a day-trip to see the beautiful springs. There are dozens of gorgeous waterfalls and crystal clear pools to enjoy throughout the Sunshine State. 

But as much as we love those other springs, there is something very special about Rainbow Springs in Dunnellon: It has two first-magnitude headspring basins. That means it produces up to 600,000 US gallons (2,300 m3) of fresh water per day! And that’s not all: The numerous vents result in the many-colored waters, which differs from other springs in Florida, which come from a single big bubbling spring. 

There are a variety of fish, animals, and plants that call the river home, many of which are found within its boundaries. Beginners, intermediates, and experts can all enjoy kayaking in Rainbow Spring State Park. 

Fees and Accommodation: 

There are no entrance fees for the park, and it’s open every day of the year from 8 a.m. to sundown. There are also no fees for kayaking, but you will need to bring your own equipment. 

If you’re looking to spend the night, there are a few camping areas with electrical hookups and primitive campsites available on a first-come, first-served basis. You can also rent cabins or cottages. 

Location:

Rainbow Springs State Park is located 3 miles (5 km) north of Dunnellon on U.S. 41. 

10.Juniper Springs Run

Juniper Springs Run

If you are looking for a place to kayak in Florida, Juniper Springs Run is an excellent option. Juniper Springs Run is located in the Ocala National Forest and features over three miles of river shoreline with lots of places to take out your boat. 

This section of the Santa Fe River has rapids that will challenge even experienced paddlers, but it also offers calm stretches perfect for beginners or those who want leisurely sightseeing trips through this beautiful waterway. The depth of the water is never greater than four feet, making it perfect for swimmers and even small children.

In the winter months when the water is lower, there are a number of sandbars you can land on to relax in the sunshine or take a brief hike through one of the nearby woods. You’ll find many beautiful examples of wildflowers and plants around here, as well as wildlife such as turtles and otters. 

This river is also home to a number of rare species including cypress trees that have naturally formed knees surrounding them from centuries of growing out of soft soil with no solid bedrock underneath. If you are looking for a great time on the water, Juniper Springs Run should be at the top of your list!

Fees and Accommodation:

There is no fee to launch your kayak at Juniper Springs Run, and there is also no camping or lodging available in the area. However, there are a number of excellent campgrounds and hotels located nearby in the Ocala National Forest if you wish to stay overnight. 

In addition to being an excellent place for kayaking, Juniper Springs Run offers restroom facilities and picnic tables near its parking lot so that you can spread out and enjoy a day in the great outdoors.

Directions: 

To get to Juniper Springs Run, take Route 40 out of Ocala and turn north onto Route 314. Take a left on 41 when you see the sign for Juniper Springs State Park. 

11.Salt Springs Recreation Area, Ocala National Forest 

The beautiful natural mineral spring that gives the region its name is one of Florida’s best-kept secrets. The Hidden Springs Preserve, located only minutes from Ocala National Forest’s Lake, offers a peaceful refuge for you and your family to enjoy together. 

It has been named after the crystal-clear springs. Swimming in the springs, kayaking, snorkeling, hiking and boating are just a few of the outdoor activities available to campers and day-use visitors. St. Johns and Ocklawaha Rivers separate Volusia and Putnam Counties, 35 miles east of Ocala, Florida. The national forest covers four counties and 383,000 acres in the south of Florida.

Kayakers can access the park from several different locations. The main entrance is located on SR 19, just north of the town of Salt Springs. Also , kayakers can put in at several locations along the Ocklawaha River, which runs through the park.

Also kayaking the Ocklawaha River is a great way to see alligators, herons, egrets and other wildlife. Be alert as you paddle and you may even see a bald eagle or osprey.There are no designated kayak trails, so be sure to ask park staff for the latest information on where it is safe to paddle.

Fees and Accomadation: 

There is a $5 per vehicle entrance fee. Primitive camping is available on a first-come, first-served basis for $14 per night. There are also several designated equestrian campsites.

Direction: 

Take I-75 to Ocala: Travel east on State Route 40 for about 12 miles, then turn north on County Road 314 and go 18 miles. Take State Highway 19 north for 0.5 mile to the recreation area entrance on the right, which is just north of Milepost 340 (150).

From I-95 east of Ormond Beach: Merge onto SR 40 west approximately 40 miles to Highway 19. Turn north on Highway 19 and travel 16 kilometers to Salt Springs. Continue 0.5 kilometers farther to the right at the entrance ramp.

12.Alexander Springs Recreation Area, Ocala National Forest

Kayaking in Florida can be quite the fun and exciting experience, no matter where you decide to do it! If you are looking for a great place to kayak in Florida, Alexander Springs Recreation Area is an excellent choice.

The water temperature is 72 degrees all the time and it has crystal clear water that makes it seem like you are in a different world altogether. You will be surrounded by beautiful trees, palm trees, and other exotic plants. 

This site also offers many other activities if you want to stay longer than just kayaking such as hiking trails or even biking trails! It is one of the most well-kept secret places in Florida so go try out this amazing spot today! 

Fees and Accomadation: 

There are no fees to enter the park. There is also camping available. You can camp for a night for free on the weekends, but have to pay on weekdays. There are also cabins you can rent out if you want something more permanent.

Directions: 

Alexander Springs Recreation Area is on County Road 445A, seven miles northeast of Alexander Springs and seventeen miles southwest of Altoona off SR 19 in east central Florida. Take I-75 to Ocala/FL turnpike to FL-326 (exit 384) west 11.5 miles; turn right onto SR 445; go 5.5 miles; park entrance will be on your left.

13.DeLeon Springs State Park, DeLeon Springs

De Leon Springs State Park has a rich and diverse history of human settlement and activity. The inhabitants of this area over the past 12,000 years include: Paleo-Indians, Archaic Indians, Weeden Island Culture people, Belle Glade culture farmers and fishermen, and early Floridians. 

The communities they established on the shores of the springs were some of Florida’s first trading posts with other tribes and Spanish explorers in Canada (Florida is like Canada except south) .

It was once known as Ponce de Leon Springs by locals. This name lead to speculation that it was where Ponce de Leon had gone looking for the fountain of youth. But NOPE! It wasn’t either because he died in 1521 (after moving to and exploring Florida for like 3 years).

The park today is a great place to swim, picnic, hike, go on a nature walk, or paddle in a kayak. 

Fees and Accomadation: 

There is a $5 per vehicle entrance fee. Primitive camping is available on a first-come, first-served basis for $14 per night. There are also several designated equestrian campsites. These rates may change so it is best to contact the park staff for the latest information on where it is safe to paddle.

Directions:

The city of De Leon Springs is located north of DeLand on US 17. Turn west off US 17 in DeLeon Springs and go 0.8 miles on Ponce de Leon Boulevard.. After you’ve crossed the railroad tracks, turn right and follow the paved road all the way to De Leon Springs State Park.

14.Blue Spring State Park, Orange City

Blue Spring State Park is a great place to kayak and canoe. The calm, clear waters make it a great place for beginners, and the park offers plenty of places to explore. You can paddle down the St. Johns River or explore the creeks that run through the park. 

There are also several nature trails to explore, and you can see all kinds of wildlife, including manatees, alligators, and otters. Also, you can visit the Blue Spring Run. If you are visiting during the winter, you may see manatees gathering in large numbers to stay warm!

Nevertheless, the park is open year-round and offers a variety of activities no matter what time of year you visit. 

Fees and Accomadation: 

There is a $6 per vehicle entrance fee. Primitive camping is available on a first-come, first-served basis for $14 per night. There are also designated equestrian campsites. These rates may change so it is best to contact the park staff for the latest information on where it is safe to paddle.

Directions: 

The city of Orange City is located north of DeLand on US 17. Turn west off US 17 in Orange City and go 1.8 miles on 4th Street/Blue Spring Drive. After you cross the railroad tracks, the entrance to Blue Spring State Park will be on your right.

15.Weeki Wachee Spring, Weeki Wachee

If you’re looking for a place to kayak in Florida, Weeki Wachee is one of the best spots. The calm, clear waters make it a great place for beginners.

There are also several nature trails to explore, and you can see all kinds of wildlife including manatees, alligators and otters. If you’re visiting during wintertime (which starts around November) 

The park offers a variety of activities no matter what time of year you visit, including snorkeling and scuba diving as well as canoeing, kayaking and tubing. In fact, during springtime you can go on a glass bottom boat tour to see all kinds of tropical fish and other sea life! 

And if that isn’t exciting enough for you, there are also mermaid shows that take place right on the property where you had your afternoon picnic. 

Fees and Accommadation: 

There is a $13 per vehicle entrance fee. Primitive camping is available on a first-come, first-served basis for $14 per night. These rates may change so it is best to contact the park staff for the latest information on where it is safe to paddle.

Directions: 

The city of Weeki Wachee is located north of Tampa on US 19. Turn west off US 19 in Weeki Wachee and go 2 miles on Highway 50/South Broad Street. The entrance to Weeki Wachee Springs State Park will be on your left.

16.Crystal River Preserve State Park, Crystal River

The Crystal River Preserve State Park is a great place to kayak. The park has crystal-clear water and a wide variety of wildlife, including manatees, dolphins, and alligators. There are also several nature trails that you can explore on foot or by bicycle. 

If you are planning on visiting out this park then maybe take some bread with you so that you can feed the fish.

Kayaking is allowed in the main river channel and in the designated creeks throughout the park. There are also several places where you can put in or take out your kayak, so it is easy to find a spot that is right for you. 

Best time to kayaking in this area is between November and March.

Fees and Accommadtion: 

There is a $5 per vehicle entrance fee. Primitive camping is available on a first-come, first-served basis for $14 per night. These rates may change so it is best to contact the park staff for the latest information on where it is safe to paddle.

Directions: 

The Crystal River Preserve State Park is located in Crystal River, which is north of Tampa on US 19. Turn west off US 19 in Crystal River and go 1 mile on Museum Point Road/County Road 488. The entrance to the park will be on your right.

17.Lake Santa Fe, Lake Santa Fe

Lake Santa Fe is a large freshwater lake in the state of Florida. The area surrounding Lake Santa Fe includes many natural attractions, including miles of bike trails and other recreational areas. 

Lake Santa Fe is one of the top kayaking destinations in Florida due to its size and clarity. Fishing can be done on the lake as well as swimming, canoeing, windsurfing, boating or simply enjoying nature from shoreline benches. 

The lake offers plenty for people who want to enjoy themselves outdoors without having to go too far from home because it’s located just outside Orlando. 

There are also ample opportunities for bird watching at this location since there are so many different species that call this area home year-round. 

Also best time to kayaking in this area is between November and March.

Fees and Accommadtion: 

There is a $3 per person, vehicle entrance fee. These rates may change so it is best to contact the park staff for the latest information on where it is safe to paddle.

Directions: 

Lake Santa Fe is located 25 miles south of downtown Orlando off SR 471. The lake can also be accessed from I-4 (exit #49) via SR 434 west and County Road 13 south. 

18.Haw Creek Preserve, Oviedo 

Haw Creek Preserve is a 7-mile stretch of the Haw Creek that flows through Oviedo, Florida. The preserve features four manmade canals and contains over 1,000 acres of protected wetlands. 

It’s the perfect place for kayaking or canoeing in Central Florida because it’s just minutes from Oviedo homes, has plenty of parking available close to the entrance, and is open year round. 

It’s a perfect place to visit if you want to get out and enjoy nature without having to travel very far. As long as kayakers and canoers don’t disturb or damage the other inhabitants of this area, there should be no problems with enjoying it for many years to come. 

The best time to go kayaking in Haw Creek Preserve is between March and September since that will give you access to warm weather and sunny skies along with the chance to spot native wildlife such as bald eagles, sandhill cranes, snowy egrets, roseate spoonbills and more. 

Fees and Accommodation: 

There is a $2 vehicle parking fee per car or one person biking or walking into the park . These rates may change so it is best to contact the park staff for the latest information on where it is safe to paddle. 

Directions: 

Haw Creek Preserve is located at 8605 Old Lockwood Ridge Road, Oviedo. 

19.Alafia River, Lithia

Alafia River is a tributary of the Hillsborough River in central Florida. It rises north of Plant City, near Lithia, and flows south into Hillsborough River just east of Alafia Avenue in Brandon. 

The river was named for Chief Allafais, an early leader among the native Seminole Indians who resisted removal to Oklahoma during 1838. 

The Alafia is one of Florida’s most popular kayaking destinations because it has many beautiful scenic areas with abundant wildlife habitats. One can see alligators, turtles, snakes and even otters on this outing! 

There are rapids on the river also there are plenty of bends that make it interesting to paddle down stream where you’ll find some great camping spots along the way.

Fees and Accommadation: 

There are no entrance fees and there is a boat launch ramp. There is no camping along the river, but there are several places to camp and rent kayaks and equipment.

Directions: 

The river is located in Hillsborough County, east of Tampa. From Tampa, take I-4 to exit 11 and head east on CR 579 (Alafia Avenue) for about 7 miles. The launch ramp is on the right.

20.Hillsborough River State Park, Thonotosassa.

Hillsborough River State Park, Thonotosassa.

There are many places in Florida to go kayaking. Hillsborough River State Park is one of the best. It has a sandy shoreline with no drop-offs, so it’s perfect for beginners and kids. 

The park offers canoeing, kayaking and rafting on the Hillsborough River which winds through 46 miles of pristine wilderness that includes swamps, marshes and hardwood hammocks near Tampa Bay.

There are also picnic tables to enjoy while you’re there; boat ramps; hiking trails; bike paths; play areas for children under 12 years old (with supervision); paddleboats (rentals available) ; concession stand with snacks like ice cream, drinks and other food options like chips or pretzels). 

The river usually provides calm paddling throughout the year but you need to check water levels before heading out. If there’s been lots of rain recently, the river might be too high for safe kayaking since it rises quickly after rains or hurricanes.

You may kayak a route of varying lengths and degrees of difficulty. The entire trip is about four hours long with a round-trip journey that takes you through swampy areas, marshes and flowages surrounded by oak hammocks and palm islands.

Fees and Accommadation: 

There is no fee to use the kayaks or canoes. The tent sites have picnic tables, grills and access to restrooms; there are also RV sites (no hookups) available if you bring your own water and electrical connection. 

Directions: 

Hillsborough River State Park is located near Thonotosassa off SR 60 about 25 miles east of downtown Tampa on County Road 580 (Dale Mabry Highway).

21.Lake Manatee State Park, Bradenton

Lake Manatee State Park is one of the best places to kayak in Florida. This park has a long and varied history, from Native American occupation dating back over 12,000 years to it’s designation as a Civilian Conservation Corps camp during the Great Depression. 

The lake was originally named for Chief Máma-Téhka or “Big Bear” and his wife Esuwanas who were part of the Pánfilo de Narváez expedition that landed at Tampa Bay in 1528. It remained an important gathering place for local tribes until about 1810 when increasing settlement by Europeans led to displacement. 

In 1914 it became known as Lake Manatee after being dammed with earthen works by the Florida Land and Lumber Company to power their sawmill.

The park has a range of outdoor activities, such as camping, birding, and kayaking on the lake.There are several launching points that provide easy access to the water. The kayaks available for rent are sit-on-top models which are very stable and perfect for beginners. As you paddle around the lake, you’ll see an abundance of wildlife including alligators, turtles, ospreys, herons and ibises.

The best time to go is throughout the year, and the water level is high enough for kayaking.Kayaking in Lake Manatee State Park is a great way to enjoy the beautiful Florida landscape and wildlife.

If you kayak in the morning you might see a deer on the shore. Nevertheless, in the afternoon, you may see an alligator in the water.

Fees and Accommodation: 

There is an entrance fee of $5.00 per vehicle. The park offers primitive and RV camping, as well as cabins for rent. These may be reserved online.

Directions: 

Lake Manatee State Park is located at 14300 US-301, Bradenton, FL 34212. From I-75 take exit 220 east to SR 64. Go east on SR 64 to 301 and turn north (left). The park is about 11 miles north of I-75 on the left.

22.Lake Talquin State Park , Tallahassee

Lake Talquin State Park is a great place to kayak in Florida. The park has many different types of wildlife and vegetation, including the famous Venus Fly Trap plant. It also features camping areas, boat ramps, and more! This park is perfect for those who want to do some kayaking on the water without having to travel too far from home. 

Also, it’s perfect for those who want to get a little bit of nature in their lives without having to go too far into the wilderness. Kayaking in Lake Talquin State Park is great for all levels of experience!

Lake Talquin State Park is great to go kayaking in all year round! The park features a mild climate and it tends to stay just warm enough for most of the year. It also is surrounded by water, so there’s usually a nice breeze that you can enjoy when kayaking in Lake Talquin State Park.

Nevertheless, be sure to check the weather conditions before you go kayaking in Lake Talquin State Park. The park does have a few thunderstorms here and there, and they can be pretty intense. If you don’t want to get wet, then it might be best to avoid kayaking in Lake Talquin State Park during these times.

Otherwise, enjoy your kayaking experience in this beautiful state park! There’s plenty to see and do, so make sure to bring your camera along!

Fees and Accommadation: 

There are fees for entry into the park, and camping is available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Directions: 

Lake Talquin State Park is located at 7305 Lake Talquin Road in Tallahassee, Florida.

23.Ochlockonee River State Park, Sopchoppy

Ochlockonee River State Park is a Florida state park located in the northwest corner of Leon County and extending into parts of Wakulla and Jefferson counties. 

Ochlockonee River State Park boasts around 30-site campground and a boat ramp that provides access to the river. 

You can get on the water from the park in your kayak for some great paddling. If you have a chance to go kayaking there during alligator season, take it! It’s a once in a lifetime experience.

Best time to go kayaking in Ochlockpnee River State Park is during the Alligator Season (summer), which will be June, July, and August.Water level in the Ochlockonee River State Park is a little bit lower during the summer, but still excellent for kayaking.

Fees and Accommadation: 

There are no fees or passes required to enter the park or use its facilities. There are 30 sites for tent camping with grills and tables, 20 of which have water and electric hookups. 

The Ochlockonee River State Park has a boat ramp for loading and unloading kayaks on trailers.

Directions: 

Ochlockonee River State Park is located on US 319 about 10 miles west of Sopchoppy, Florida. From I-10 take Exit 191A (SR77 south) toward Crawfordville/Cordele; go to US 319, turn right (south), then go 11 miles to SR 267. Turn left (west) into the park entrance off US 319 just past the SR 267 intersection.

24.Harris River – Titusville 

Harris River is a beautiful place to take in the scenery and enjoy an afternoon of kayaking. The river has a wide, shallow area with no obstructions or other boats on it so it’s very easy. There are also some deeper spots that you can go down if you want to get wetter. All in all, this is one of the best places to kayak in Florida!

You can see bioluminescence in the water as you kayak and if you’re really lucky, you can see it flashing in the water where you’re paddling. 

This is what makes kayaking here worth it – especially since this river is shallow and calm, which means that you can put your phone or camera down and enjoy the magic without worrying about getting wet.

The best time to kayak is May-October (and even November sometimes) when the air and water temps are still warm enough to be comfortable. If you have a hard time getting up early in the morning, go during the day from 10AM-5PM so there won’t be too many night creatures out. Remember to bring plenty of bug spray as bugs often get bad in the summer months.

Fees and Accomadation: 

Free parking and bathrooms available. There are also shaded areas with picnic tables if you want to pack a lunch.

Directions: 

Harris River is located on West Indian River, Titusville Florida. Take I-95 Exit 182. Turn left off the exit and follow the signs for Harris Park – you will see a sign with a map of where to park at the entrance. Metered parking is available around the area if the spots are full.

25.Eagle Point Park- New Port Richey 

Kayaking is a great way to get out of the house, enjoy nature and have some fun. It’s also a great workout for your upper body as well as your core muscles. If you want to explore the water in Florida but don’t really know where to start, Eagle Point Park is one place you should look into. 

Eagle Point Park has lots of different places for kayakers to explore: it offers many serene waters, calm lagoons and pristine wildlife viewing opportunities that will make any experience memorable and enjoyable. Plus with two piers and three launch sites there are plenty of ways to get on the water quickly and easily! 

The best time for kayaking at Eagle Point Park is from May-October, which is the time that the weather is most optimal for kayaking.

Fees and Accommodations: 

Kayak rentals cost $25 per hour or $45 per half day (4 hours max). A deposit of $100 must be paid when you pick up your rental unless you provide a credit card number. There are bathrooms and changing rooms near the launch sites if needed – bring towels and extra clothes.

Directions: 

Eagle Point Park is located at 10500 North Florida Ave.

25 Best Places to Kayak in Florida
25 Best Places to Kayak in Florida

Read 22 Best Places to Kayak in Texas.

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