Paddling and protecting Florida's waterways.

-Paddle Florida | ,

Directions
Directions

Paddle Florida Paddling and Protecting Florida's Waterways Paddle Florida, ,

, Paddle Florida Paddling and Protecting Florida's Waterways

, Paddle Florida Paddling and Protecting Florida's Waterways

Register online for upcoming trips


Register offline by mail

Tentative dates for 2015-16 season:
  • October 22-27, 2015: Suwannee River Wilderness Trail
  • December 4-8, 2015: St. Johns River Ramble
  • January 15-22, 2016: Florida Keys Challenge
  • February 13-18, 2016: Southwest WMD Event (TBA)
  • March 12-18, 2016: Dam to the Bay on the Ochlockonee
  • April 1-3, 2016: Suwannee River Paddling Festival


Paddle Florida . . . and go with the flow.
Paddle Florida, Inc. is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation organized to support canoeing and kayaking in Florida. Events in each of Florida's five water management districts expose paddlers to Florida's natural beauty and rich cultural heritage while promoting water conservation, wildlife preservation, springs restoration and waterways protection. Paddle Florida also seeks to promote Florida as an international destination for nature-based tourism. Trips feature Florida's most scenic rivers, canoe trails and coastal environments, including the Florida Keys and the Suwannee, Wekiva, St. Johns, Ochlockonee, Peace, Withlacoochee and Rainbow Rivers.


Paddle Florida staff members scout trips in advance to ensure waterway conditions and shoreline camping sites maximize comfort and showcase nature's best view. Meal plans and gear shuttling eliminate the need to weigh boats down with food and camping equipment. Florida-based entertainment or educational programming is provided each evening by artists, musicians and naturalists local to the region. Partnerships with local outfitters provide paddlers with canoes, kayaks and other gear to rent as needed. With this level of support, paddlers of all ages and skill levels can see and experience the REAL Florida.

Archived "Happy Paddler" newsletters:

Contacts:
Paddle Florida, Inc. a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation
P.O. Box 5953, Gainesville, FL 32627
1710 SW 35th Place, Unit C
Gainesville, FL 32608

Board of Directors:
Nickie Kortus, President
Jill Lingard, Vice President
Robert Hutchinson, Secretary
Sharon (Ruby) Bienert, Treasurer
Debra Akin, Board Member
Lars Andersen, Board Member

Tax Return and 990 Documents

Refund Policy
Due to the financial outlay and costs incurred by Paddle Florida during event planning, any force majeure, which includes but is not limited to water levels, inclement weather and any other Acts of God not mentioned herein, shall not result in the refund of any fees paid to Paddle Florida. Absolutely no fees will be refunded after 15 days before the event begins. Any fees refunded by Paddle Florida will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Leslie Maple ~ February 2015

(01/30/2015) 1) Where are you from?  Your profession?  (or former one, if retired) Don and I retired to Charleston, SC after 30 years as a military family. 2) When and how did you become interested in paddling? We bought our first kayaks about 13 years ago while still living in the Washington, DC area. Kayaking instantly became our favorite way of exercising and shedding the stresses of hectic work weeks. 3) Where is your favorite place to paddle? It's really hard to pick a single favorite place to kayak! Every body of water has something wonderful to offer. We love the challenges of the ocean and open water paddling, but paddling the twisting black rivers around Charleston and slipping through the clear spring fed waters in Florida exposes us to scenic beauty and wildlife encounters that offer an other kind of thrill. 4) What’s the most interesting thing that ever happened to you on a paddling trip? One of my very favorite experiences while paddling was during a kayak rolling class at Tybee, GA.  I was upside down (for the millionth time) in my kayak and a pod of dolphins feeding nearby started talking to each other...echo-locating? I was so excited I almost drowned. They must have been wondering why I couldn't keep my kayak up right! 5) How many Paddle Florida trips have you gone on and to where? The Florida Keys Challenge 2015 is the third Paddle Florida adventure Don and I have taken part in. Our first Paddle Florida trip was the inaugural Keys Challenge five years ago. We paddled the Wekiva/ St. Johns River Ramble in 2013. 6) What keeps you coming back? We keep coming back because we always have a wonderful time on Paddle Florida paddles. The meals are delicious, the other paddlers are welcoming, and the Florida water ways cannot be beat for their beauty. And to top it all off, Bill and Jan make it all so easy!  7) What advice do you have for folks considering a Paddle Florida trip? My advice to those who haven't taken part in a Paddle Florida adventure is to jump in, sign up, and enjoy!

Woody & Kathy Lewis ~ January 2015

(12/31/2014) 1)    Where are you from?  Your profession? We both grew up in North Florida, in the Tallahassee area. Woody worked as an air traffic controller in California after serving in the Air Force in Vietnam, then became a computer specialist at a private firm, and finished his career as an analyst for the State of Florida, retiring last year. Kathy will be retiring from her position as an analyst for state government later this year. We are both certified green guides and enjoying providing kayak tours on the St. Marks River. And we both intend to spend more time kayaking, traveling, and camping in 2015.    2)     When and how did you become interested in paddling? Kathy's younger brother built a Folbot kayak from a kit when they were teenagers in the 60’s. Basically a wood frame covered with waxed canvas with (very hard) wooden seats. She used it in local ponds and lakes and later canoed the Wacissa, Wakulla, and other local rivers with friends while attending FSU. Woody was a member of the Tallahassee Canoe Club in the late 80's.  He became hooked on kayaks because they handled so much easier than canoes and were perfect for navigating local rivers and fishing.   3)    Where is your favorite place to paddle? The St. Marks River in Wakulla County, which feeds into the Gulf of Mexico. It has been a special place for both of us for many years, but especially since we were lucky enough to build our home on its banks 10 years ago.   4)    What’s the most interesting thing that’s ever happened to you on a paddling trip? Our most unusual paddling experience was being confronted by a large "Florida cracker" bull up in the St. Marks River basin, near the spring.  The bull was quietly enjoying the local vegetation, neck deep in the river, when Woody unknowingly got too close. As the bull raised its head up above the hyacinth, the large set of horns and loud snort let him know it was time to head in another direction!  These cattle have been in and around the St. Marks since the late 1800's, and we have observed them in the shallow water many times.  However, this was our first "up too close" experience with one in deeper (4') water. The cattle have since been fenced off from the river.   5)     How many Paddle Florida trips have you gone on and to where? Kathy went on the Ochlockonee River Dam to the Bay trip in 2012 and we both did the recent Wekiva/St. Johns Ramble.   6)     What did you enjoy most about the Paddle Florida experience? Perfect mix of adventure and support.  Interesting people to meet and paddle with, yet you could choose to do your own thing knowing you would still get to socialize later if you wanted to, have some good grub, hear some music around the campfire, or listen to an interesting speaker.   7)     Can you describe a particular Paddle Florida trip highlight? Rock Springs Run was spectacular!  The water and vegetation were beautiful, and the close-up encounters with the limpkins were priceless and made for good photo ops.   8)     What advice do you have for folks considering a Paddle Florida trip? Don't hesitate, just do it! 

Whitney Sanford ~ December 2014

(11/26/2014) Where are you from?  Your profession?  I was born in Savannah, Georgia, and I now live in Gainesville, Florida. I'm faculty in the Religion Department at the University of Florida, in the area of religion and nature. When and how did you become interested in paddling?  I first became interested in paddling when I was a camp counselor in North Carolina, but I didn't really start until I was in Iowa. My friends were into whitewater paddling, and I got hooked. Today, I especially love coastal kayaking because it blends the thrill of whitewater with the fun of multi-day camping trips.   Tell us about your kayak teaching experience.  I helped the outdoor rec program at Iowa State University when I was on the faculty there, and then I taught at Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) during my first (I hope of many) midlife crises. I loved teaching there, but when I moved to Florida, I switched to coastal and sea kayaking. My husband Kevin and I have been training under both ACA and BCU systems for kayak instruction, rescue, and leadership. It's fun to watch people gain confidence on lumpy water.   Kayaks or SUPs…what’s your favorite and why?  Tough question because they offer different things. I love the view from my paddleboard, especially on the springs. Great views of the manatees. I recently bought a SUP just for surf, and I'm having a blast in the waves. Surfing and paddling in my kayak is also wonderful, and Kevin and I have camped out of our boats in the Keys, the Bahamas, and Chile. The kayak offers more possibilities for expeditions, although I'm hoping to do a self-supported camping trip on the SUP this winter. Where is your favorite place to paddle?  Another tough question, but I'd have to say Tybee Island near Savannah, Georgia. We can surf in the Triangle, then go up the back river and see dolphins and rays. There's great camping on Little Tybee as well.   What’s the most interesting thing that ever happened to you on a paddling trip?  A much easier question ... Kevin and I got engaged on Christmas Eve when we were paddling off the coast of Chile. We were in a remote area and had been picking mussels for our dinner. I can't imagine a more romantic time or place.   How many Paddle Florida trips have you gone on and to where?  I've only done the Keys Challenge so far. Kevin and I helped Bill scout this trip, so I've gotten to know the Keys pretty well. [Whitney is also signed up for this December’s Wekiva/St. Johns River Ramble.] What keeps you coming back?  Of course, I enjoy the paddling and the beautiful places, but I really love meeting other paddlers. It's always fun to hear about other peoples' lives and their paddling stories. I have great memories of sitting around the campfire at night, just shooting the breeze.   Can you describe a particular Paddle Florida trip highlight?  One year the Seven Mile Bridge crossing in the Keys had some waves, and some paddlers weren't confident of their skills. I spoke to them about technique. As they did the crossing, I watched them transform from tentative to confident paddlers, even surfing the small waves. That made the teacher in me very happy. Many of the Paddle Florida paddlers are highly skilled, so these trips are a good time to test your limits and try new things. What advice do you have for folks considering a Paddle Florida trip?  Just do it. It's a great way to paddle in different parts of Florida and to meet other paddlers.

Companies who Recommend Paddle Florida