• Great Calusa Blueway
  • Suwannee River Paddling Festival
  • Manatees in Blue Spring run  off the St. Johns River
  • Florida Keys Challenge
  • Ocklawaha Odyssey
  • Wild, Wonderful Withlacoochee
  • Suwannee River State Park
  • Reflection of limestone banks along the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail
  • Ocklawaha Odyssey
  • The Great Calusa Blueway

Paddle Florida: Inspiring. Meaningful. Adventure. Paddle Florida, Inc., Gainesville, Florida

Gainesville, Florida Paddle Florida: Inspiring. Meaningful. Adventure.

Gainesville, Florida Paddle Florida: Inspiring. Meaningful. Adventure.

Paddle Florida banner stating their 10 Years Protecting Floridas Waters

Inspiring. Meaningful. Adventure.

Paddle Florida, Inc. is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation organized to support canoeing and kayaking in Florida. Supported, multi-day paddling/camping adventures in each of Florida's five water management districts showcase the state'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.

Paddle Florida scouts trips in advance to ensure waterway conditions and shoreline campsites are safe, comfortable, and showcase nature's best view. Meal plans and gear shuttling eliminate the need to weigh down boats with food and camping equipment. Florida-based entertainment and educational programming is provided each evening by regional artists, musicians, authors, and naturalists. Partnerships with local outfitters provide paddlers with canoes, kayaks, and other paddling gear to rent as needed. With this level of support, paddlers of all ages and skill levels can explore and enjoy the REAL Florida!

Our 2017-18 Season of Paddling Adventures


Three travelers in kayaks going down the thickly treelined waterways of the Ocklawaha river

Ocklawaha Odyssey

December 1-5, 2017

Image of the river banks of the Wonderful Withlacoochee trip

Wild, Wonderful Withlacoochee

January 18-23, 2018

Image of some kayakers having fun on the suwanne river trail trip

Choctawhatchee Challenge

March 10-16, 2018

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Take a peek at a couple of our most popular paddling adventures on North Florida's famous Suwannee River and in the Florida Keys.


Paddle Florida is proud to be Silver Level certified by the Florida Society for Ethical Ecotourism. Florida SEE encourages awareness and stewardship of Florida's natural and cultural heritage by endorsing compliance with federal, state, and local laws, providing environmental education, and promoting professionalism and integrity.


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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.

2016 Paddle Florida 990 Form

Mark & Suzanne Nye ~ February 2018

(01/26/2018) Where are you from? Your profession?  We live in Fleming Island, Florida, just south of Jacksonville.  Suzanne is a dental hygienist.  Mark is a retired US Navy carrier pilot who currently flies private jets for NetJets. When and how did you become interested in paddling?  Mark started paddling about 12 years ago when he bought a small sit-on-top kayak to explore and fish while cruising his sailboat.  Kayaking slowly became his main water activity and a source of great exercise.  His obsession fully developed when he started building and racing kayaks.  Mark introduced Suzanne to kayaking when they started dating about 10 years ago.     Where is your favorite place to paddle?  Although we have paddled some amazing places including Maine and Alaska, we still find the springs and rivers in the Ocala National Forest (Juniper, Silver, and Ocklawaha) to be our favorite paddling locations.  We enjoy the remote location, natural beauty, plethora of wildlife, and of course the weather.  What's the most interesting thing that ever happened to you on a paddling trip? During one of her very first kayak outings, Suzanne had a manatee come up under her boat and repeatedly nudge the boat with its nose.  Last fall while scouting the course for a race on the Ocklawaha River, Mark rounded a corner to find an older portly gentleman paddling a SUP ”buck naked.”   Which Paddle Florida trips have you gone on?  We went on the inaugural Flagler Coastal Wildlife Experience in November 2017. Can you describe a Paddle Florida trip highlight?  The second day of paddling on the coastal Flagler trip was exhilarating because of the challenging conditions.  Those of us who were able to make it through the strong wind and current around Fort Matanzas were pretty proud of ourselves.    What advice do you have for folks considering a Paddle Florida trip?  Two pieces of advice.  First, if you are new to kayak camping, going on a Paddle Florida trip is a great way to start.  They handle all of the logistics and food, so all you have to do is paddle and enjoy.  Secondly, heed the boat recommendations that Paddle Florida provides for each trip.  It is hard to enjoy yourself when you are struggling in a boat that is inadequate for the conditions.

Craig Sullivan ~ December 2017

(11/30/2017) Where are you from? Your profession?  I was a labor and employment lawyer, representing management, in St. Louis, Missouri.  Retired, I moved to St. Simons Island, Georgia four years ago. When and how did you become interested in paddling?  We live on the marsh with a tidal creek.  I wanted to explore the marsh, so I bought an inexpensive inflatable kayak, kind of a plastic baby pool shaped to look like a kayak.  So maybe calling it a kayak is like calling a time-share condo in Jackson Hole a “ranch.”  But it was almost perfect for tooling around the creek behind the house.  The “almost” concerns alligators.  One day an alligator rose up right next to the kayak, dove, spinning the kayak in a circle. To get away, I became the Lance Armstrong of inflatable kayakers.  I realized my kayak was a plastic balloon, as impenetrable for an alligator as cotton candy.  One alligator nibble and it was thick heavy limp plastic, enveloping me, sinking.  And I was food.   As I write this I’m wondering if the kayak came with warnings: “Do not use in alligator infested waters.”   Or maybe they just figured anyone with common sense would know that. Anyway, I then bought a 14’ kayak. Where is your favorite place to paddle?  The Suwannee River. What's the most interesting thing that ever happened to you on a paddling trip? An osprey stooping and catching a fish about 20 feet away.  [Editor’s note: We think the alligator story above is also pretty good.  :) ] Which Paddle Florida trips have you gone on?  The Suwannee five-day trip twice and the spring Suwannee festival once.  I have only gone on river trips. Can you describe a Paddle Florida trip highlight?  For me the whole experience is a highlight. On the Suwanee trip, you spend five days with really interesting people, a low-key friendly group with wide-ranging curiosity, interests, and experiences. And everyone is helpful.  No one is showy.   I’ve been on a lot of multi-day bike trips with a certain pressure to get up and on the road.  With Paddle Florida, nothing is rushed.  Everything is peaceful.  You explore what is interesting, go ashore to explore and stretch.  I enjoy the simplicity of camping and the irresponsibility of someone else doing the planning, feeding, carrying my stuff from campsite to campsite, my only “duty” being to kayak down the river.   Osprey, eagles, red shouldered hawks, little blue heron, the omnipresent belted kingfishers.   At night the barred owls talk a lot, calling back and forth.  The  mystical morning mist on the river.  It’s soul cleansing.  And you can’t get lost.  What advice do you have for folks considering a Paddle Florida trip?  If you enjoy being on the water in a self-propelled boat, sign up.  Put aside all self-doubt and misgivings and do it.   My first Paddle Florida trip began three days after we got back home from the Hurricane Matthew evacuation.  I was stressed and asked myself what a novice kayaker like me was thinking of when I signed up for a five-day kayak trip.  When I got home after the trip, I immediately signed up for more trips.  I am truly a Happy Paddler!  I love going on these trips.  Also bring a layer of fleece or wool and a jacket and a pair of wool socks.  Nights can be chilly.  If you are a novice kayaker, make it known that you welcome advice and make it a learning experience.  When someone tells you that your paddle is upside down, be appreciative.

Mary Boothe ~ November 2017

(10/30/2017) ​Where are you from? Your profession? I currently live in Augusta, Georgia. I grew up in an Air Force Family, moving every 3-5 years.  I am a retired chemistry and sciences teacher, and former Scout field director and Trainer.  I've been an outdoor girl all my life, growing up on a bayou in North Florida and the streams of Virginia. When and how did you become interested in paddling? I began canoeing in the Girl Scouts, and my first trip was as a camp counselor on the Shenandoah River.  My kayaking began about 12 years ago with Venture Scouts. My first kayak trip was a three days along intracoastal Georgia, with enthusiastic teens.  After that I was hooked, and now I've just bought my sixth kayak.  It's longer, leaner and faster! Where is your favorite place to paddle? I love narrow winding streams, untouched by civilization. Though often hard to find, they are beautiful, serene, and nature's tranquilizers.  I am looking forward to paddling in the Okeefenokee Swamp again this year. If you haven't been in its back waters, it's worth the effort. What's the most interesting thing that ever happened to you on a paddling trip? I love flora and fauna, and seeing new sights. Seeing manatees in Florida is exciting, but here's another one.  Heading out in the early dawn mist in the Okeefenokee, I paddled over a small sleeping gator around four feet long!  Neither of us saw each other and no harm done.  (Yes, they prefer NOT to interact with humans, as long as you DON'T feed them!) Which Paddle Florida trips have you gone on? I began simply with the beautiful three-day Wekiva/St. Johns River Ramble. I've enjoyed the warm springs along the Withlacoochee, the rustic beauty along the Ochlockonee, and last fall I enjoyed Silver Springs on the Ocklawaha Odyssey.  Hard to pick a favorite! Can you describe a Paddle Florida trip highlight? Other than paddling pristine Florida rivers and adventuring through wilderness areas, I truly enjoy the people I've met and new friends made on Paddle Florida trips.  It's a joy not to have to bring food, and transport gear, and to be treated to excellent evenings of entertainment!  I like it all, even paddling in the rain. (Well not so much the wind!)   What advice do you have for folks considering a Paddle Florida trip? Pack for comfort and changeable weather.  It's better to have waterproof gloves and windproof jackets and not wear them, then to be cold or wet! Also ALWAYS pack your sleeping back in a dry bag, because if you can't sleep, you won't want to paddle the next day. When in doubt about what to pack, ask someone who has gone before. I love the new fabrics that wick moisture and dry rapidly, and also keep you warm when it's chilly outside.  Like the Scouts say: "be prepared,” and “go with the flow.”     "Life is like a river, always changing and going somewhere."  ~ Mary Boothe

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