Paddling and protecting Florida's waterways.

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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

Upcoming events:

Trips completed this season:

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

Finalized trip dates for the 2015-16 season will be announced and registration will open on May 1.

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:

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 & 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.

Frank Konciewicz ~ March 2015

(02/27/2015) Where are you from?  Your profession?  I am a retired Project Engineer/ Project Manager from Birmingham Alabama. Where is your favorite place to paddle?  My kayaking phase began in 2008 with an article appearing in the Birmingham News regarding the Paddle Florida's inaugural Suwannee River trip.  Since then I have enjoyed about a dozen Paddle Florida trips.  I would have a difficult time selecting a favorite.  I liked the beauty of the Ichetucknee and Santa Fe Rivers, the wildlife on the Peace River, and the thrill of paddling island to island in the Keys.  What’s the most memorable thing that’s ever happened to you on a paddling trip?   The fantastic lightning display from inside my tent during last years Ochlocknee paddle. What keeps you coming back?  I enjoy our trips because of the beauty of the rivers and getting back each trip with the friends I have made over the past seven years.  Paddle Florida trips are well planned and  can be enjoyed by people of varying skill and experience levels

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! 

Companies who Recommend Paddle Florida