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Latest update: November 2016

Spruce Creek... Florida

Paddling near Daytona and New Smyrna Beach

Spruce Creek, an Outstanding Florida Waterway, is a natural blackwater creek - tannic acid from swampy vegetation stains the water black at its inception in the upper creek. The upper creek is scenic and tree lined with freshwater vegetation. As it approaches I-95, the creek widens, becomes brackish saltwater, and lined by marsh and mudflats. The Creek gradually merges into Strickland Bay. (Detailed map and photos below.)

paddle Spruce 

Distance: Varies. Official trail is 8 miles, but most paddling is out and back from launch
Location: Volusia County (Port Orange)
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Tidal: Yes, especially closer to the coast
Launch points: Spruce Creek Park (I-95 Exit 256, east one mile); Strickland Bay bridge (US 1, 5 miles north of New Smyrna Beach); Cracker Creek (Taylor Road, Port Orange) (See map)
Nearby points of interest: Gamble Place, Spruce Creek Mound, New Smyrna Beach, Daytona Beach


Cracker Creek  (rentals, tours)

Kayak Atlantic Waters  (rentals, tours)

Spruce Creek... Comments and Photos

Mostly an easy paddle, with a couple more technical areas upstream where it narrows and subject to obstacles in the water. The creek has a remote feel, especially upstream and as it passes through Spruce Creek Preserve, but development is not far away - homes and docks are seen along much of the creek. Lots of wildlife including waterbirds, alligators.

Cracker Creek upstream

We launched for a modest fee at Cracker Creek and paddled a short distance upstream until stopped by logs. Paddling here is subject to water levels and weather can play a role - on this trip, a recent hurricane had deposited a lot of debris yet to be cleared.

Cracker Creek to I-95 bridge

From Cracker Creek, we then paddled downstream to the I-95 bridge. Upriver the creek is narrow and shady with some canopy. As we approached I-95, it widened, the water became brackish, and the shoreline marshy. We paddled past the Russell Property, a public park that can be accessed only from the creek (at this writing) - kayak dock makes this a convenient stop to stretch and picnic.

Strickland Bay

At Strickland Bay, the creek is wide and open. Strickland Bay converges with Turnbull Bay and accesses the Indian River/Intracoastal Waterway. Members of our group rented from the outfitter, while we launched our own kayaks for a fee. We paddled around Strickland Bay, open water with some cuts along the shoreline. At low tide, watch out for the oyster bars.

Spruce Creek Park

Spruce Creek Park has a boardwalk, nature trails, observation tower, fishing pier, playground, and picnicking. We visited the launch to plan for a future trip. Muddy and unusable at low tide.

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