There are so many awesome places to explore at our fingertips that we, probably, more often than we like to admit, rarely ever take advantage of.
They have Monkeys! Yes, freakin’ monkeys! Apparently rhesus macaques are pretty common around the Silver River in Ocala. Don’t get too close. If you have never seen a movie where monkeys are around they can get a bit nuts. The park offers aingle-person kayaks for $30 for full-day rental; stand-up paddleboards are $45. Click here for more info.
So no monkey’s down here just gators, turtles, and mayby some snakes, but don’t worry the gators won’t bother you unless you bother them. It is possible the you you may spot bobcats, deer and foxes, and ton of birds. We have never seen a bobcat or a fox, but plenty of deer. If you’re feeling a bit confident you can check out the labyrinth of creeks and streams called the “17 Runs,” BUT you should be warned even experienced paddlers have gotten lost here. Click here for more info about renting.
Little Manatee River
The awesome “little” spot has a “designated” 10-mile paddling trail which is low key, and pretty easy to coast through. Click here for a map of the river, including the paddling trail and hiking recommendations.
If you are looking for a bit longer of an expedition this river is more than 60 miles long, and not shortage of gators 🙂 Myakka River State Park costs $6 per vehicle, and camping is $26 per night not including tax and reservation fees. Click here for info on canoe and kayak rentals.
Withlacoochee and Rainbow Rivers
This is probably our favorite to visit crystal clear water and a constant low to mid 70s- love that chilly rush when you jump it! PLUS, no gators! You may pass by a few turtles, but over all not much to watch out for other than an escape beer can you should grab. 😛 Click here for info on canoe, kayak and SUP rentals.
Plan to spend at least one night camping out here since it is a bit of a hike. Beautiful place and you may even see some coyotes! Click here for more info on paddle camping. Lots of canoe and kayak rental options, just Google- “Suwannee River Canoe Rental.”
The “Chaz,” just a cool name for a place to hang out for the day is quite a beautiful, short paddle through the Citrus County wilderness. There are series of freshwater springs that keep the water at a nice temp and allow you to get out and do some swimming. Must Check out- The Crack and the Seven Sisters springs both absolutely lovely. Kayak rentals are $35 per day, plus a $5 vehicle fee. Click here for more info.
Come on, if you live close by and haven’t ventured over to Caladesi get with the program! People travel from all over the world to vacation where you live. You can rent from Sail Honeymoon or Romantic Honeymoon Island (kayaks only).
Weedon Island Preserve
So after getting lost in the mangrove labyrinth you are in luck! The Getaway is a 2 min paddle away, or you can just score some paddle boards there. The one thing you want to pay attention to are all the tiny little black crabs that will get you with their pincers if you bump a branch. They caught a nip last time we were there! Sweetwater Kayaks opens at 9 a.m. daily and rents out canoes, kayaks and SUPS.
Fort De Soto
Another place that if you haven’t been to get with it! There are lots of different parts of the park you can launch fromand starts at a mangrove-surrounded cove called Soldier’s Hole. If you are looking for a longer paddle work out check out Mullet Key. Click here for a map of the park and here for info on the Topwater Kayak Outpost, the best place to rent from.