Florida is a paddler’s paradise, offering a wide variety of fresh, brackish and saltwater paddling. No matter where you are in Florida, you’re never far from a body of water, be it a lake, spring run, river, estuary or the ocean itself. So where do you start?
Are you looking for a guided trip or outfitter? Check out FWC’s excellent Search Tool and How to Select Outfitters/Guides. I would add that you should check outfitters/guides’ ratings online as due diligence. Don’t need a guide? Let’s move on, then.
Will you be renting or bringing your own canoe/kayak/sup? If renting, most government recreational areas that offer paddling either have a concession on site or nearby; check Florida State Parks, National Forests, National Parks, Water Management Districts and even city/county parks. Nearly everyplace allows you to put in your own vessel at a nominal fee, if any.
Next, do you want to paddle a designated trail or just anywhere navigable? There are 40 Florida Designated Paddling Trails plus other Water Management District Trails that showcase the very best. Or you can put in at designated launches throughout the state; The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) even offers a convenient Boat Ramp Finder.
Do you want to go it alone or with a group? Either way, you should familiarize yourself with Regulations and Safety. Otherwise, you can head out on your own or with your own group, or you can get involved with other paddlers. The Florida Paddling Trails Association is the go-to if you want to join a group, meet new people and get involved.