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What's New at Central Florida Kayak Trips?

Last Update: February 18, 2007

Our newest photo contributor, Kornelia Fillmer, sent in some excellent nature and wildlife photos from Florida's prime Space Coast paddling destinations. Thank you Kornelia!

Some things never change - and this is good! Juniper Springs in the Ocala National Forest continues to dominate my short list of "Best Places to Paddle in Florida". The spring run starts from a large blue spring in the state recreation area and twists and turns its way through sub-tropical landscapes and open savannahs for 7 miles to SR 19. While the trip requires some paddling skill due to tight turns and deadfalls, those making the trek will be rewarded with an incredible experience and adventure.

It's been three years since my last visit to Anclote Key Preserve. I was expecting some change, but WOW, the lighthouse restoration is complete, a ranger/keeper's house, boat dock and boardwalk have been built on the south side of the island. Even with the new construction, Anclote Key is one of Florida's best kept island secrets. Don't read this and above all, don't tell your friends. That way I can have Anclote Key all to myself.

Don't mind going in circles? Join us for a circumnavigation of Honeymoon Island. Here is a perfect place to get in some saltwater paddling and explore one of Florida's top beaches.

Caladesi Island is one of my favorite locations for an easy open water trip. You don't have to be a pro to enjoy sand, sun and saltwater paddling.

At first glance it looked like we spotted a shark 24 miles up the Suwannee River. The likelihood was slim, but what exactly was that 5 foot long fish at Manatee Springs State Park? Luckily for us, someone in the know quickly identified it as a Gulf Sturgeon. The one we spotted was a baby as they can grow up to 9 feet long. Bring your camera but leave the fishing pole at home - sturgeon are listed as "threatened" under the US Endangered Species Act.

We heard the sweet song of Weeki Wachee calling to our kayaks. If you have never been on this awesome crystal clear river on Florida's Gulf Coast, you need to make plans - and soon. Manatee, 'gators, deer, multitudes of birds and just possibly a mermaid or two await. Go stand next to your boat and listen quietly. Weeki Wachee is calling you too.

Why drive 200 miles to a new paddling destination when you can explore one in your own backyard? Especially if that new place has excellent county parks, mangrove trails, open saltwater and a hidden, secret picnic spot? If your backyard is Tampa Bay, we'd like to introduce you to Philippe Park and Cooper's Bayou. Give them a try!

Show me the Monkey. We returned to one of our favorite central Florida locations, Silver River State Park for some well deserved camping and paddling on the Silver River. If you've never seen monkeys in the wild, large alligators, a 5 mile long crystal clear river with springs pumping out 550 million gallons of water daily and a theme park from the water, you need to paddle Silver River.