Treasure Coast Paddling Adventure

Photo credit: City of Palm Coast Photo credit: Marineland Dolphin Conservation Center Photo credit: UF Whitney Lab for Marine Bioscience Photo credit: Visit Flagler


Treasure Coast Paddling Adventure

November 3-9, 2021

Day Camp Site Daily Miles Lunch Stop Lunch Miles
1 Fort Pierce Inlet State Park 0 N/A N/A
2 Round Island Riverside Park 7 At Camp N/A
3 Environmental Learning Center 15 Vero's McWilliams Park 7
4 Environmental Learning Center 0-15 At Camp N/A
5 Sebastian Inlet State Park (Bayside) 11 Spoil Island with bag lunch 5
6 Donald McDonald County Park 6 At Camp N/A
7 Sebastian Canoe Launch 6 End with final lunch N/A
Total Miles 45-60

Come explore Florida’s Treasure Coast. The trip spans over 50 miles of the scenic Indian River and Indian River Lagoon from Fort Pierce Inlet State Park (Bayside) to Sebastian Canoe Ramp on the St. Sebastian River. Because we will be visiting locations between the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River Lagoon, all types of coastal and migratory birds can be seen. There will also be an optional trip to Pelican Island National Refuge, from the Environmental Learning Center via pontoon, where you can see native brown pelicans, migrating white pelicans, many types of herons, egrets, cormorants and anhingas at American’s first National Wildlife Refuge

Evening Programs: Evening programs will include the Environmental Learning Center and other educational speakers and live music

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. Before each trip registration deadline, requests for fee refunds will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

***You will receive a confirmation email message 7 - 10 days before the event with all the latest details on the trip***

Shuttle Details: Paddlers will have a post--trip shuttle and will leave their vehicles at the trip’s launch point at Fort Pierce Inlet State Park and be shuttled back there at trip’s end

Boat & Gear Recommendations

Even in good weather, it's not uncommon to experience windy conditions in the wider sections of the Indian River, though we'll choose more protected routes as conditions dictate. For this trip, we recommend kayaks of at least 14 feet in length equipped with a rudder or skeg and a spray skirt. You should also have solid kayaking, rescue, wet exit, and swimming skills. If you have any questions about the kind of environment you will encounter on this trip, please contact Bill Richards at bill@paddleflorida.org

Paddle Florida Policies

  • All paddlers must attend the trip overview and orientation on the first evening. Paddlers must adhere to the safety guidelines presented.
  • All paddlers must wear a properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation device (PFD) and whistle at all times on the water.
  • Paddlers under age 18 are the responsibility of, and must be accompanied by, a parent or guardian. No more than two children under the age of 12 per adult guardian.
  • Sorry, no pets allowed.
  • All paddlers must provide an emergency contact information and sign a Waiver of Claims and Release of Liability form. Parents must sign for their children under the age of 18.
  • People-powered watercraft only.
  • Paddle Florida adheres to all rules put forth by the public parks we stay in, including the ban on alcoholic beverages.
  • All paddlers must respect private property along waterways.
  • All paddlers must have basic paddling and swimming skills
  • Violations of any of these policies can result in the paddler being removed from the event without refund.

Trip Itinerary

Day 1/Wednesday, November 3: Fort Pierce Inlet State Park
Paddling Miles: 0

Paddle Florida participants will arrive between 1-5PM at Force Pierce Inlet State Park to check in for the trip, set up their tents, eat dinner, and receive an orientation for the adventure to come. This park features a half-mile stretch of white sand. During World War II, it was the birthplace and training ground for U.S. Navy Frogmen, forerunners of today’s Navy Seals. Here, many of the 140,000 personnel stationed in the area practiced for the D-Day invasion of Europe. “Dynamite Point” earned its name from the activities of the Navy Underwater Demolition team! Fort Pierce Inlet State Park is best known for its firm sandy beach and its beautiful view of the Atlantic Ocean and welcomes visitors for swimming, snorkeling, surfing and SCUBA diving. Beachcombing, picnicking or just relaxing on the sand are also popular activities.

Keep in mind that the Treasure Coast at this time of year can be chilly, at least by Florida standards. Temperatures can range from 60-80 degrees during the day and 35-55 degrees at night, so bring layers to dress in. The fire each night will provide heat, light, ambiance, camaraderie, and maybe a marshmallow or two. Dinner will be served at 6PM each night, followed by an evening program at 7PM. Nightly entertainment ranges from musicians to educational speakers who will provide insights regarding the flora, fauna, and ecology of the region we’re paddling through. Be sure to bring cameras to capture and preserve some great moments.

Day 2/Thursday November 4: Fort Pierce Inlet SP to Round Island Riverside Park
Paddling Miles: 7

After a hearty breakfast, paddlers will pack up their tents, load their camping gear on our truck, and launch their boats at the boat ramp. We’ll travel 7 miles (heading north) to Round Island Riverside Park. Riverside Park is pristine Florida nature at it’s finest. In addition to a boat ramp, restroom facilities, playground equipment and a picnic pavilion there are nature trails and lookouts over the water. Walk over the footbridge and onto the island then follow the path back to the lookout over the water with unspoiled views of The Indian River. Then stroll down the path and check out the 3 story observation tower. You can regularly see Manatee swimming in the lagoon area and on the west side of the island you sometimes see Dolphins swimming by as well as encountering numerous species of birds and fish. In the Oceanside Park you will find a beautiful beach park.

Day 3/Friday November 5: Round Island Riverside Park to the Environmental Learning Center, Paddling Miles: 15

Today we’ll embark on a 15-mile paddle to the Environmental Learning Center a 64-acre not-for-profit lagoon island nature center on Wabasso Island. The ELC has Pontoon Boat Tours, Walking Tours and other activities to assist in fulfilling their mission which is to educate, inspire and empower all people to be active stewards of the environment and their own well-being

Photo credit: ELC

We will be stopping at Vero’s McWilliams Park for lunch around mile 7.

Day 4/Saturday November 6: Environmental Learning Center for 2nd Night! Optional paddle and optional pontoon ride to the National Pelican Wildlife Refuge.
Paddling Miles: 0-15

Relax, as today we do not strike camp. Today, we will have breakfast at the usual time and have time to enjoy the ELC. We will have an optional paddle to explore Wabasso Island, and an optional pontoon ride to the First National Wildlife Refuge.

Day 5/Sunday, November 7: Environmental Learning Center on Wabasso Island to Sebastian Inlet State Park (Bayside by the Marina).
Paddling Miles: 11

On this day we will make our way to Sebastian Inlet State Park (Bayside) with a fun stop at a spoil island for lunch (we will pack a lunch). Whether soaking a line in hopes of that memorable catch, splashing in the surf, catching a wave or watching manatees frolic off the inlet jetties, Sebastian Inlet State Park invites visitors to enjoy … the Real Florida at its best. Shoreline and water abound to make for great surfing, swimming, snorkeling and beachcombing. We will be staying at the south side of the park by the park marina. The park has paddleboard rentals if that is something you would like to try out! There is also the Hammock Nature Trail on the south side of the park

Day 6/Monday, November 8: Sebastian Inlet State Park (Bayside) to Donald McDonald County Park
Paddling Miles: 6

We'll head across Indian River Lagoon to the St. Sebastian River to Donald McDonald County Park. The St. Sebastian River provides a glimpse of “old” Florida. The Sebastian River is largely protected and provides opportunities to see alligators, manatees, native birds and fish.

The St. Sebastian is a slow moving river, so paddling upstream against the current is not a problem. The farther upstream you paddle, the narrower and wilder the river becomes. You will always see bird life such as several varieties of heron and egrets, pelicans, ibis, King Fishers and Osprey.

Day7/Tuesday, November 9: Donald McDonald Park to Sebastian Canoe Launch
Paddling Miles: 6

We'll head up river 6 miles to our final destination, Sebastian Canoe Launch in Sebastian. We’ll conclude our paddling adventure with a final celebration barbeque at the Sebastian Canoe Launch.

Mission Statement

PADDLE FLORIDA is a non-profit corporation that promotes water conservation, wildlife preservation, springs restoration, and waterways protection via fun and educational multi-day paddling trips in Florida’s most spectacular river and coastal environments. The vehicle for carrying out this mission is the staging of the multi-day paddling/camping trips in each of Florida’s five water management districts from October to April each year. Paddle Florida also seeks to promote Florida as an international destination for nature-based tourism in general, and paddling in particular.

Ranging from three to six days, trips are open to all paddling skill levels and designed to maximize enjoyment of Florida’s natural environments while engaging and empowering citizens so that they may become involved in the protection and restoration of our waterways.

If you wish to be pampered by professional guides, this isn’t the trip for you. But, if you want to experience a real community brought together under a common goal and by the thrill of adventure, Paddle Florida is the trip for you

The Meal Plan

Your Paddle Florida trip fee covers the meal plan, which provides hearty catered breakfasts and dinners, plus daily lunch snacks of assorted fruits, sandwich items, snacks, and drinks.

General Guidelines


Each paddler is limited to two bags and a total of 40-pounds of luggage. You have to haul your baggage and place it in the gear truck each morning, and haul it back to your campsite each evening of the trip. After paddling all day (about 8,000 paddle strokes per day), a 40-pound bag is really heavy. We recommend you pack as lightly and tightly as possible. This saves your back and the backs of your fellow paddlers. Everyone is expected to assist with the loading and unloading of the truck during the week.

Items we would rather not see in your luggage include bulky chaise lounge chairs, framed bedding/cots, and boxes without tops. Your gear should be packed so that it will not get wet. In the afternoon, your baggage may be removed and placed outside the gear truck where it will be exposed to the elements. Overnight rains may result in gear being packed up wet. A wet tent on top of your clothes bag will result in wet clothes. Plan on inclement weather and make sure you have a bag that will protect important gear in the event of rain.

Please place a label on your luggage with your name on it and make sure your bags are secure.

Suggested Packing Lists

For Water: [Note: Unless you’re wearing it, every item you bring should be secured to your boat. Carabiners and bungee cords can be handy devices for this purpose.]

  1. Boat and paddle.  Need to rent? Contact janice@paddleflorida.org
  2. PFD.  Every Paddle Florida participant must wear a Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device while on the river (no ifs, ands, or buts).
  3. Every kayak and canoe should have two lines, a bow line and a stern line, each 8-10 feet in length, secured in such a way that they are readily accessible, but cannot come loose accidentally. Loose ropes increase the risk of entanglement in the event of a capsize.  Kayaks should have grab-loops at both bow and stern.
  4. An extra throw rope in case of emergencies should be stored safely in each boat.
  5. Attach a whistle to your PFD or body to signal for help in case of emergency.
  6. A knife.
  7. Waterproof matches or other fire source in waterproof covering.
  8. First aid kit—each vessel should bring a first aid kit stored inside a waterproof covering.
  9. Repair kit—each vessel should be able to make their own repairs (i.e., duct tape, sealant, waterproof tape).
  10. Rain gear—be prepared to get wet and potentially cold. Every participant should have access to a lightweight jacket or fleece, rain jacket, and rain pants or kayak skirt.
  11. Dry change of clothes—be prepared to take an unexpected swim. Every participant should have access to a dry change of clothes kept in a waterproof covering.
  12. Appropriate close-toed footwear that will protect your feet from unseen underwater hazards and permit you to walk comfortably on slippery and jagged limestone when launching and taking out.  Flip flops do not meet these criteria.
  13. Sun protection—sunburn might be the trip’s biggest hazard. Bring ample sunscreen and wear a protective hat and sunglasses.
  14. Mask and snorkel? You’ll be paddling by a dozen or so springs on this trip. Explore them!
  15. Water—drinking water will be readily available along the Paddle Florida route. Bring sufficient water bottles for the day’s paddle for everyone in your boat.
  16. Food—there is little access to restaurants or grocery stores along the Paddle Florida route. Lunch snacks each day are provided to registered participants. You may also want to bring along your own snacks.
  17. Dry Bag or Ziploc—bring a waterproof bag to protect additional items you don’t want to get wet, like your camera or cell phone.
  18. GPS unit? We’ll give you a map, but a GPS unit might also be handy to note locations of campsites and springs.

For Land:

  1. Tent
  2. Sleeping bag, pad, and pillow
  3. Camp chair
  4. Clothes to keep you comfortable in temperatures generally ranging from 50-85 degrees. Think layers. You’ll likely be wearing more during potentially chilly mornings, then peeling off layers as the day progresses. Remember dry shoes for when you’re in camp and keep in mind there are often hiking trails available at the parks we camp in.
  5. Bathing suit, plus maybe a mask, snorkel, and/or fins. You will be paddling and camping near some of the state’s most beautiful first-magnitude springs on this trip. Enjoy them!
  6. Headlamp and/or flashlight.
  7. Toiletries and medications.
  8. Other tent items: reading materials, iPod, ear plugs…?
  9. A camera to record the awesome memories you’ll be making!

We look forward to paddling with you. Please contact us if you have questions!

Documents Attached to Treasure Coast Paddling Adventure:
2019 - 2020 USCA Waiver Release Form
Flager Trip 2019 - Paper Registraton Form
Flager Trip Itinerary - 2019
Registration Information