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Paddling in West-Central Florida

18 Top Destinations... Reports, Maps, Photos, Rentals

To the west, the upper portion of the Nature Coast offers the opportunity to explore a number of clear waterways feed by multiple springs, including Crystal River and the Chassahowitzka River. Within in the greater Tampa Bay area, there are a number scenic rivers and mangrove preserves. If you enjoy wildlife, then sections of the Hillsborough River and the upper Myakka River are unmatched in our opinion. All paddling locations are unique in their own way. Many are served by outfitters who offer canoe and kayak rentals, plus shuttle services and tours for longer paddling trips.

Regional Map, West-Central FL
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West-Central... 18 First-hand Reports

Alafia River Alafia River... Spanish moss overhanging the river was a notable feature. Most of the shoreline now protected. Rentals and shuttle service. (view details...)


Chassahowitska River Chassahowitzka River... Pristine spring-feed river. Numerous springs runs to explore. Out and back paddling. Rentals on-site (view details...)


Cockroach Bay Cockroach Bay... Pristine Preserve on east side of Tampa Bay. Marked trails, with short mangrove tunnel. Rentals available (view details...)


Crystal River Crystal River (Kings Bay)... Numerous springs. Popular with manatees and birds. Great for snorkeling.  Rentals and tours available (view details...)


Fort DeSoto Park Fort DeSoto State Park... Paddling in sheltered lagoon in State Park at mouth of Tampa Bay. Rentals available (view details...)


Hillsborough River Hillsborough River... 30 mile designated Paddling Trail. Portions offer great wildlife viewing. A variety of paddling options. Rentals on-site. (view details...)


Homosassa River Homosassa River... The main spring is contained within a former roadside attraction, now Homosassa State Park. Manatees abound. Rentals available (view details...)


Little Manatee River Little Manatee River... From forest to bay, a diverse paddle through some remaining, unspoiled Florida. Rentals available (view details...)


Manatee River Manatee River... Near Bradenton, an easy paddle out and back. Rentals on-site. (view details...)


Myakka State Park Myakka River State Park... Near Sarasota, famous for large number of birds and alligators. Launches on both river and lake. Rentals available (view details...)


Peace River Peace River Overview... 67 mile paddling trail from Bartow to Arcadia, FL. An overview of 3 trail sections. Rentals available (view details...)


Peace River Peace River - Upper Trail... Narrow, shady, 3 public launches. A few pullovers may be encountered. Tours available (view details...)


Peace River Peace River - Middle Trail... Getting wider. Passes through a State Park. Small rapids through limestone formation. Tours available (view details...)


Peace River Peace River - Lower Trail... Only outfitter on river trail is located near Arcadia. Wider section popular with groups. Rentals on-ste (view details...)


South Creek South Creek... At Oscar Scherer State Park, short paddle in freshwater Creek and saltwater preserve. Rentals available (view details...)


Terra Ceia Terra Ceia... Some of the last undeveloped shoreline along Tampa Bay. Popular with locals. Kayak tours available (view details...)


Weedon Island Preserve Weedon Island... Mangrove-lined paddling trails within preserve near St Petersburg FL. Rentals on-site at both preserve and along causeway. (view details...)


Weeki Wachee River Weeki Wachee River... Fed by Weeki Wachee Spring, home to the famous Weeki Wachee mermaids. Rentals available (view details...)


Withlacoochee River Withlacoochee River... Originating in the Green Swamp, the lower river (best paddling) flows north through Central Florida. Rentals, Shuttles, (view details...)


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