Featured Day Trip: Wekiva River

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Trip Overview

Only minutes from Orlando, this paddling trip is the most scenic in all of central Florida. Come enjoy a  day of  paddling clear water, sand pine scrub, hammocks, pine flat woods, and black water swamps. This trip offers a great opportunity to observe alligators, the rare black bear, manatee, and numerous wading birds all from the safety of your kayak. A light lunch is provided picnic style, riverside. Tour lasts about 4 hours and includes a shuttle back to your car at the river’s end.

Dates: Every day beginning at 9:00 am. Private tours are available any day or time  for groups of 4 or more.

Price: $80 per person + 6.5% Florida sales tax

CLICK HERE  TO MAKE YOUR RESERVATION!

Driving Directions

Katies Landing from Orlando  From the Orlando Attractions drive east on Interstate 4. Exit right at exit 101b-c. The exit ramp splits into exit 101b on the right and 101c to the left. Go left to exit 101c. At the end of the ramp is a traffic light. This is Highway 46. Turn left and travel 4.7 miles. Turn right onto Wekiva Park Road. Drive 1 mile down and Katies Landing is on the left.

There are bathrooms and a parking lot. Please register your car and pay the $3. parking fee. Your guide and kayaks will be at the waters edge.

What You Need To Bring

  • Sun protection (hat, sunglasses, and sun screen)
  • Wear clothes that can get wet and possibly dirty
  • Water proof camera
  • Tips for your guides

Featured Lodge Trip: Discovering the Okefenokee Swamp and Cumberland Island

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Trip Overview

Join us as we travel deep into the most remote areas of the Okefenokee Swamp. On this tour our group will encounter flooded cypress forests decorated with Spanish moss, kayak across open prairies covered in blooming pitcher plants, and view black bears, otters, sandhill cranes, ospreys, alligators, bald eagles, and yellow-fringed orchids.

Though pure and clean, the refuge’s waters are dark due to the tannic acid in decaying vegetation. A number of freshwater springs feed the refuge, which in turn gives birth to the well-known Suwannee River and the St. Marys River which flows out to the Atlantic Ocean and terminates at our next destination, Cumberland Island, Georgia.

During our stay at Crooked River State Park, we will spend a day exploring Cumberland Island, which is protected as a national seashore. Eighteen miles of beach, thirty miles of trails, pristine wilderness and diverse plants and wildlife await us. Sea turtles, manatees, wild horses, bobcats, armadillos, various sea life, and more than 300 species of birds call Cumberland Island and its surrounding waters home. Here, creatures of the forest and shore live by both tidal and seasonal rhythms. We will also encounter several historical mansions and ruins, originally home to the Carnegies and other prominent families.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Level of Difficulty: Easy paddling each day with lots of breaks for relaxing, wildlife viewing, and exploring.
  • Dates: October 19-25, 2014
  • Trip Origination: Jacksonville International Airport
  • What’s Included: Meals, lodging, kayaks, paddling gear, permits, all ground van support, and two local Adventures in Florida guides.
  • Price: $1,200 per person, double occupancy.

CLICK HERE TO MAKE YOUR RESERVATION NOW! 

Itinerary

Day 1 — Our private vans will meet everyone at noon outside Jacksonville International Airport baggage claim. Making our way to the Swamp, our group will stop for lunch. Upon settling in to our cabins, we will have time for formal introductions, go over dry land paddling instruction, and get out on the water for a short paddle. Dinner will be served outside.

Day 2 — An exciting day awaits, as we paddle through “The Narrows,” the source of the Suwannee River headwaters. There is a visitor center next to our cabins, as well as the nearby Suwannee River Visitor Center. You will have a few hours to explore the area on your own before dinner before we go on a group night-hike that evening.

Day 3 — After another amazing breakfast, we will load up our kayaks and paddle to Billy’s Island which is now wilderness, but once housed thousands of timber workers, Seminole Indians, and other civilizations dating back thousands of years. We will share a picnic lunch on the island. Afterwards, we  will paddle and explore Big Waters canoe trail and a few of our guides’ favorite and most picturesque areas in the refuge.

Day 4 — Probably our longest and most action packed day. We pack up and get an early start, traveling 75 miles to the Suwannee Canal Recreation Area on the east side of Okefenokee. We will pass the “Trail Ridge” on the drive over and paddle remnants of the Suwannee Canal. We will also stop at the visitor center, an old homestead, and do a short hike to an observation tower where the view is incredible. We will stop off for a group dinner (not included in trip price) on our way to Crooked River, a short 45 minute drive away, where we then settle into our new cabins.

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Day 5 — We take the ferry boat over to Cumberland Island where we have an entire day to take in the island. For an additional $16, you can rent a bike and the leaders will take you on a bike tour of the island. You can also opt to do a short four-mile hike, listen to a ranger presentation, visit historical ruins, comb miles of secluded beaches, or just relax. Ocean water temperatures average in the 70s in late April.

There are no supplies on the island, so we must bring all supplies, lunch, etc., with us. Bringing a daypack will make it easy to lug your gear around all day.

We have to be sure to catch the 4:30 p.m. ferry back to St Marys or we will be spending the night on the island. Dinner will be at the guides’ favorite fish house.

Day 6 — We will shuttle to and paddle a section of the St Marys River today.

This winding river is known for its blackwater, blooming tupelo, and white sand beaches. Nice easy paddle with lots of time for soaking in the sun, taking pictures of the blooming wild azalea, tupelo, and astors.

Day 7 — We will have breakfast, make lunches, and pack up. A short morning paddle on the amazing Crooked River is planned and the trip will be complete after lunch around noon. Our vans will transport everyone the 45 minutes back to Jacksonville at that point.

Important! Be sure to download the Kayak/Touring/Lodge Gear List and the mandatory Registration forms.

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Meals and Accommodations

Our first three nights lodging will consist of cracker style cabins in the absolute heart of the Okefenokee Swamp. There are full amenities, which include air conditioning, full bathrooms, kitchens, a large living area, dining area, and a screened in porch with lots of rocking chairs. Rooms are double occupancy.

Our next three nights will be spent in similar cabins located on the banks of the Crooked River.

The leaders will prepare most meals, however, lunch on the first and two dinners out will not be covered in the trip price. Meals included in the trip fee begin with dinner on the first day and breakfast on the last day. Meals served on the trip will honor and reflect local cuisine. A typical dinner would consist of shrimp and crawfish étouffée, white rice, garlic bread, fresh salad, and something chocolate for dessert. People with special diets should contact the leader to make arrangements.

We are very proud of our Okefenokee Swamp and even more proud to be one of only three Adventure guides allowed to offer overnight wilderness tours into the refuge.

What People Are Saying About Us

5 of 5 starsReviewed August 10, 2014     5 STARS!

We’ve lived in Florida for over 20 years, and have been to many scenic springs and beaches in the state. This nighttime bioluminescence kayaking experience was, by far, the most fun our family of 4 has had – unanimously. It’s like nothing we’ve ever experienced. The fish in the water literally look like shooting stars.

I’m not a big outdoorsy person, and kayaking was much easier than I thought it would be. It does not take Herculean upper body strength or great balance. A small stroke and you just glide through the water. The guides are positioned in front of and behind the group, which keeps everyone together, and the trip takes about 2 hours, but feels much shorter, especially when you get caught up paddling to the dolphins that are playing around.

Our kids are 13 and 12, which I think is a great age for this activity. Greg was very knowledgeable and friendly, explaining what we were seeing and offering easygoing tips to help maximize the light show. He told my son and I to dip our hands into the water – our hands came back up looking like there were tiny diamonds scattered all over them. Then the “diamonds” disappeared. This totally blew our minds. My son, who is more into video games than I’d like him to be, had a delightful reaction and spontaneously blurted out, “Oh Mom! Thank you!” I’ve never heard awe in his voice like that before. Fortunately it was dark and nobody had to see me get misty.

Get those kids that are growing up fast on this amazing, memory-making family excursion. Drive the hour from Disney if you have to. You will not be disappointed.

Visited August 2014
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