5 of the Best Places to Kayak in Florida: Rainbow River, Indian Key Historic State Park, Caladesi Island State Park, St Lucie River

With saltwater paddling trails and kayaking paths through cypress tree forests, Florida is a paddler’s paradise. The state’s diverse ecosystems and pristine waters make it a wonderful location for those looking to exercise on the water. Here are some of the best places to kayak in Florida where you can enjoy the beautiful sunshine and clear waters.

1. Rainbow River

As Florida’s fourth largest spring, Rainbow River is a beautiful escape to a place of crystal-clear waters and various wildlife species. You can paddle through moss-draped cypress tress while experiencing the stunning aquatic vegetation. The river features a gentle current that flows for six miles, and there are plenty of kayak rentals available for you to take it all in.

2. Indian Key Historic State Park

Take your kayak down to the Florida Keys and paddle out to the untouched Indian Key Historic State Park. The island is teeming with beauty, from jungle ruins to rocky shorelines. It’s great for kayaking not only for its views, but also for its seclusion and relative ease of access. You’ll get to see plenty of marine animals such as eagle rays, dolphins, and manatees.

3. Turner River

If you’re a true kayak lover, then you know you have to paddle through a section of the Everglades at some point in your life. We recommend Turner River for its cypress swamp, mangrove tunnels, and more. You’re sure to see plenty of gators, birds, and fish as well. The river is often regarded as one of the best paddling trails in the Everglades, so you won’t want to miss it.

4. Caladesi Island State Park

You’ll find Caladesi Island State Park along Florida’s Gulf Coast. Kayaking to the island is an absolutely beautiful experience—you’ll have clear waters all around you and wonderful wildlife below you. The island is a beach paradise and a breathtaking destination to kayak to. Instead of taking the ferry, paddle to the island in the morning and experience the island throughout the day—you’ll be happy you did it!

5. St. Lucie River

This river may not be the most well-known kayaking spot in Florida, but it sure is beautiful. It’s a wild and gorgeous area full of old oaks and Spanish moss. There are a few islands interspersed between the trees, so once you’ve paddled for a few hours, picnic at one of these remote areas. The scenery and wildlife are unparalleled, especially when in tandem with the area’s tranquility.

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