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Featuring thousands of miles of coastline, more than 1,500 rivers and creeks, 7,500 lakes, and more than 700 springs, there is no shortage of fall kayaking places in Florida.
The Sunshine State has hundreds of exciting places to enjoy fall kayaking. Since Florida’s fall kayaking offerings are incredibly diverse and generous, it can be challenging to choose where to go. From exploring breathtaking tannic rivers that will drive you through quiet forests to watching gargantuan manatees, there are plentiful opportunities that outdoor enthusiasts can really appreciate.
That said, the kayaking location you choose depends on what type of kayaking you want to experience and what you want to explore. Are you an outdoor lover and want to observe Florida’s very wildlife? Or do you want a more perilous whitewater to enjoy kayaking?
In order to help you decide, we have bucketed some of the most stunning and our favorite fall kayaking places in Florida. But before that, let’s discuss how to prepare for fall kayaking in Florida:
- 1 How to Prepare for Fall Kayaking in Florida?
- 2 Most Enchanting Places to Experience Fall Kayaking in Florida
- 3 Ready to find your favorite fall kayaking place in Florida?
How to Prepare for Fall Kayaking in Florida?
Planning a kayak trip in the fall means you will be exploring breathtaking Florida waters, taking in the stunning blazing colors of the leaves, and catching a few fish. However, before you take off, it is essential to know how to prepare for fall kayaking and enjoy your autumn outdoor activities. Here are a few vital guidelines on how to prepare and what to wear for a comfortable and exciting fall foliage kayaking trip:
· Wear Your Personal Floatation Device (PFD)
Don’t forget to wear your PFD while on the water when planning a fall kayaking trip to Florida. Also, always check other safety gear for kayaking, such as navigational lights, sound-producing devices (whistle), and flares.
· Dress Appropriately
Another critical consideration that you should take into account for fall kayaking is how to dress appropriately. In this regard, ensure that you have a dress with layers that you can remove or put on quickly throughout the day. Dresses that incorporate layers are great for staying comfortable in frequently changing temperatures.
Moreover, choose a dress that should retain very little water when it gets wet. Therefore, selecting moisture-wicking materials is highly recommended. Remember that materials like cotton are highly prone to soaking up and holding water.
· Be Prepared for the Worst
Falling into the water during warm temperatures can be refreshing, and some kayakers do it deliberately to cool down. However, falling into the water during fall is a different story. As the temperatures drop and the weather gets cooler, it is essential to bring layers. Due to frequent temperature fluctuations during fall, taking off a layer or putting one on as the weather gets cooler will make your trip comfortable and more memorable.
· Kayak in the Afternoon
Fall kayaking excursions in the afternoon are the best because temperatures are warm, and you will make the most of your trip. In addition, you will have plenty of time to head back before the sun sets and temperatures start to drop.
Moreover, it is worth noting that if you have a fall-friendly dress, this wouldn’t be a problem, allowing you to opt for night kayak tours as well. It is highly recommended to speak with your agency before taking off and sharing your preferences so that they can plan the best tour options.
· Bring a Spray Skirt
Having a spray skirt with you when kayaking can be life-saving. A spray skirt is a tool that helps you keep water out of your kayak. In fact, it acts as a waterproof layer between the top and inside the kayak. Keeping water out of your kayak is critical, other you might find yourself sitting in chilly water, especially when kayaking in the fall. So, the best way to stay warm while kayaking in the fall is to stay dry.
· Consider Weather Forecast
Keep in mind that weather plays a vital role in making or breaking a trip if you are planning a summer kayaking trip or want to experience fall kayaking. In this regard, wind speeds as low as 10 knots (12 mph) are considered safe for kayaking, especially if you are a beginner. Anything more substantial than that means it can be challenging for you to navigate through water. Moreover, sticking to sunny days for better visibility is highly recommended.
· Partner with a Professional Kayak Agency
Safety should be your topmost priority when planning a fall kayak tour in Florida. Try to avoid relying on word-of-mouth. Instead, dive deep and research thoroughly to opt for a reliable kayak company with ample experience. You may also want to get other essential information, like who offers affordable and safest fall kayak tours.
· Pack Like a Pro
Packing essential stuff properly for fall kayaking in Florida is necessary. Pack snacks, sunscreen, water, bug spray, a light jacket, a hat, and sunglasses in this regard. However, while packing the essentials, it is important to be careful and avoid over-packing. Moreover, checking your GPS to ensure it is working is highly recommended. In addition, use a separate plastic bag to pack your electronics.
Most Enchanting Places to Experience Fall Kayaking in Florida
Welcome to one of the most scenic, beautiful, and historic cities of Winter Park. Your kayaking excursion will start on the shore of Dinky Dock Park, nestling next to Rollins College. Winter Park Chain of Lakes is also one of our favorite fall kayaking places in Florida. It consists of six lakes that are accessible through kayaks.
These lakes include Lake Mizell, Virginia, Maitland, Osceola, Minnehaha, and Lake Nina. These lakes are situated nearby downtown Orlando and are incredibly popular among nature lovers for kayaking, fishing, boating, paddle boarding, and waterskiing.
There are two public launches: one at Lake Virginia’s Dinky Dock and the other at Maitland’s Fort Maitland Park. The views you will enjoy while kayaking includes lush scenery, colorful birds, historic estates, and some private homes.
Coastal Dune Lakes offer a fantastic kayaking experience when the water levels are high.
Walton County in Florida features 26 miles of coastline housing 15 named lakes. These lakes are a distinctive geographical phenomenon and are only found in a few places on the globe, including Australia, Madagascar, Oregon, New Zealand, and Florida.
These irregularly shaped lakes are shallow and believed to be as much as 10,00o years old. However, what makes these lakes so unique and entices kayakers the most is their freshwater content sitting just a few feet from the Gulf’s saltwater and disjointed by a natural berm of sand.
While kayaking in a tranquil, tea-colored tannic lake, you can look over to watch the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Moreover, you will also enjoy an abundance of Florida’s wildlife, including bald eagles, white-tailed deer, and black bears. Furthermore, if you are looking for kayak rentals for Lake Powell, the largest dune lake in the area, head to Camp Helen State Park.
Coastal Dune Lakes include:
- Big Redfish Lake
- Alligator Lake
- Camp Creek Lake
- Dune Allen
- Little Redfish Lake
- Draper Lake Outfall
- Stallworth Lake
- Oyster Lake
- Western Lake
- Draper Lake
- Allen Lake
- Lake Powell
- Lake Powell Outfall
- Easter Lake
- Stallworth Lake Outfall
Pleasant winter times are the best to avoid crowds.
Featuring dark, tannic water and contrasting white sand beaches, the visually breathtaking and swiftly moving Blackwater River is another favorite fall kayaking place in Florida. It attracts paddlers and kayakers of all levels from around the world. Running over 56 miles, a large portion of the River houses the Blackwater paddling trail. This route starts from the Alabama border near Okaloosa County and will take you to the Black Water State Park Forest.
With plentiful options, there are multiple launching points along the River. So, your launch point depends on your skill levels, the length of your excursion, and the type of kayaking trip you are planning.
Moreover, Blackwater Joe’s in Holt provides rentals so that you can plan an overnight kayaking trip or a short 2 hours adventure. Furthermore, you can also explore Adventures Unlimited in Milton for experiencing day or overnight kayak trips on Coldwater Juniper Creek or Blackwater River.
4. Turner River
September through January is the ideal time for Kayaking in Turner River.
Turner River is another one of our favorite fall kayaking places in Florida. It is situated within Big Cypress National Preserve and is one of the popular kayaking spots in the entire state. However, when planning a kayak, keep in mind that the ideal time of the year is from late fall to spring. That’s because summer months usually have bugs like mosquitoes and biting gnats that can ruin your kayaking trip.
Moreover, Turner River also features abundant wildlife opportunities for nature lovers. It includes alligators, an array of colorful bird species, and more. However, since there are alligators, be cautious when kayaking and let them roam freely.
In addition to breathtaking waters and stunning wildlife, Turner River also boasts tunnels and mangrove forests. While it is always possible to launch your kayak from one spot and go to another, you can also use a shuttling service that will bring you one way. Whether you kayak or use a shuttling service, there is much to be admired.
From fall to spring, the Rainbow River lets you experience some of the most fantastic kayaking.
Rainbow Springs State Park is another popular place to experience fall kayaking in Florida. Kayaking aside, the area has many outdoor activities you can enjoy. It includes snorkeling, waterskiing, swimming, paddle boarding, picnicking, and more.
Those who want to explore Rainbow Spring waters can launch their kayak or rent a kayak from onsite facilities. From there, you will be able to access the Rainbow River, stretching over six miles. Additionally, some access points are located between the Park and Rainbow River, which connects with the Withlacoochee River. There is always an opportunity to customize your kayak excursion as you desire.
Furthermore, abundant wildlife living in and around the area is another reason the State Park is a popular destination among kayakers, outdoor enthusiasts, and nature lovers. While kayaking in the Rainbow River, you can expect to spot turtles, river otters, colorful bird species, and fish.
6. Myakka River
Visiting the Myakka River along Florida’s Gulf Coast offers a memorable fall kayaking experience. The River is a part of the State Park and is popular among kayakers, swimmers, and nature lovers. While giant live oaks aligning the river shores are so soothing to the eyes, some points with grassy marshes offer a visually stunning view.
Be cautious when kayaking in the Myakka River, as there are countless alligators. You can also expect beautiful black-necked stilts, pink spoonbills, and wood storks. Moreover, tourists are allowed to combine camping with kayaking and paddle on one of the adjoining lakes.
The State Park also incorporates 39 miles of hiking trails, paved bike trails, and over 80 shady camping sites – enough to enhance your kayaking experience.
7. Juniper Run
Enjoy swift, clear fall kayaking in the amazing Juniper Run of Ocala National Forest.
Apart from an abundance of incredible wildlife, beaches, and nature parks, the sunshine state also houses hundreds of spring-fed streams. However, Juniper Springs and Juniper Run in the Ocala National Forest are probably the most pristine kayaking spots in the entire state. About 7 miles of kayak trail runs from Juniper Springs Recreation Area to Juniper Wayside Park.
Juniper Run’s narrow, winding, crystal clear waterways make it one of our favorite fall kayaking places in Florida. Additionally, kayakers will surely appreciate the beauty of its lush landscape of palms, southern hardwoods, cypress, and an abundance of diverse wildlife.
Featuring 26-mile Designated Paddling Trail, experience the best fall kayaking between the US27 and SR47 bridges.
Santa Fe River is among Florida’s prettiest fall kayaking destinations. It runs about 75 miles from Lake Santa Fe and meets the Suwannee River. The Designated Paddling Trail extending about 26 miles and fed by more than 35 springs, offers one of the best fall kayaking experiences. Since the trail incorporates hardwood hammocks, Flatwoods, and a tree farm, the water is tea-colored (tannic) and cleared by the springs.
While the trail is mostly easy, depending on the water levels, it welcomes kayakers and paddlers of every level. When the water levels are low, you can expect shoals and short pullovers. In addition to breathtaking sceneries and tannic water, you can spot an abundance of wildlife, including colorful birds, snakes, deer, otters, and turtles. Furthermore, other popular outdoor activities at Santa Fe River include birdwatching, fishing, tubing, and snorkeling.
Explore one of Florida’s most exquisite fall kayaking trails with an abundance of unusual wildlife.
There are no rivers in Florida with more beauty, history, and rare wildlife than Silver River and Silver Springs. It is also one of tourists’ favorite fall kayaking places in Florida, mainly due to its rich and mesmerizing history. For instance, Silver Spring State Park has the owner of being the first tourist attraction as well as one of the largest artesian springs worldwide.
While the newly-constructed park is famous for offering some of the oldest and best glass-bottom boat tours, started in 1878, the biggest breakthrough for outdoor enthusiasts is kayaking and canoeing in Silver Springs. Additionally, while it is possible to bring your own kayak, rentals are also available. Launching from the spring means you are ready for a short yet incredibly scenic kayak excursion, vowing the visitors.
You can expect to spot turtles, anhinga, alligators, colorful wood ducks, and red pileated woodpeckers as you kayak.
Although Ichetucknee River is famous among visitors for experiencing tubing in summer, our favorite time to explore this breathtaking destination is in the fall by kayaking. Another good reason to kayak in Ichetucknee River in the fall is that there will be no crowd of tubers but colorful birds. You can expect to see a variety of ibis, herons, anhingas, cormorants, egrets, and much more.
However, the incredible scenery stays stunning throughout the year, and with eight crystalline springs, the water is as clear as a swimming pool. Additionally, as you kayak, you will see majestic golden cypress trees aligning the banks and forming a canopy overhead. All in all, the Ichetucknee River is a lazy river and a lot more spectacular than anything you can find in a theme park.
Ready to find your favorite fall kayaking place in Florida?
These represent 10 of our favorite fall kayaking places in Florida. Florida is truly a paddler’s paradise, incorporating some of the clearest waters, a diverse range of incredible wildlife, and stunning ecosystems. With so many kayaking destinations to choose from, we believe this post will help you make an informed decision about enjoying a comfortable and exciting kayaking trip.