We’ve put together a list of our five favorite kayaking and paddleboarding spots in the state of Florida. If you have a hidden gem of a spot that you wouldn’t mind sharing please feel free to post below in the comments.
5. Thousand Islands – Cocoa Beach, FL
Cocoa Beach, which is located on an hour away from Orlando on Florida’s east coast, is home to a chain of small mangrove islands known as the Thousand Islands. The islands are located on the Indian River and are easily accessible through the Thousand Island Park in Cocoa Beach. The area is rich in wildlife especially manatees.
4. Mosquito Lagoon – Titusville, FL
Mosquito Lagoon is located within the Merritt Island National Seashore, which is protected land that was originally purchased when construction began on the Kennedy Space Center. The Seashore has a thriving population of American Bald Eagles, alligators, and wild boar. If you’re looking to be a little adventurous the park is also home to the areas only nude beach.
3. Crystal River, FL
Crystal River is best during the winter when thousands of manatees flock to the area for it’s warm spring fed waters. The name doesn’t lie, Crystal River has some of the best visibility you’ll find in Florida, and you’re sure to see plenty of wildlife. I’d recommend bringing you’re snorkel gear as well because you may feel inclined to jump in the water and swim with the wild manatees. It is also recommend that you bring a wetsuit, because the water maintains a constant 72 degrees year round.
2. Cayo Costa, FL
Cayo Costa is protected island located not far off the coast of Fort Myers. Most people will have to catch a ferry from Pine Island to get to the island, but the hour-long boat ride is usually full of dolphin sightings. Camping is particularly popular on the island, but remember that if you camp you’ll need to pack extensively as there is nothing available on the island except ice and firewood.
1. Florida Keys
It’s hard to name just one specific spot in the keys as the best as there are just so many. The Florida Keys is made up of over 1,700 islands, with roughly 30 of them being inhabited. You can easily paddle your way over to your own deserted island for a picnic lunch and see nurse sharks and stingrays along the way. Some of the more popular spots within the Keys are John Pennekamp State Park, Long Key State Park, and Bahia Honda State Park, but for a really remote and unique experience you’re better off staying away from the populated parks are trailblazing your own path.