Ichetucknee Springs Kayaking

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The final river for our Florida kayaking adventure came highly recommended from some friends, and it’s location was helpful in that it drew us closer to Atlanta for our return trip that day.  We arrived shortly after the park opened, somehow missing the honor system box at the front entrance for a $5 parking fee (which we returned to shortly thereafter).

 egret 2

We unloaded our kayaks at the launch before the outfitter opened, then waited to make shuttle arrangements, which were $7 per boat plus $5 per person.  We were first on the water, just as the morning vapors were disappearing above the water.


The park is extremely popular in the spring and summer for riding tubes through the river.  It’s honestly hard to imagine hordes invading such a natural, peaceful and beautiful river that turned out to be laden with wildlife.  For all three rivers, March was the perfect timing for visiting these rivers.  This was in some regards the average of the two prior rivers.  Like Rainbow River, the width was spacious at times, and it held the deeper hues of blue/green and more abundant wildlife.  And like Juniper Run, it was unmolested by development, despite rumors of abuse before the State of Florida purchased it in 1970.  A daily average of 233 million gallons of spring fed water is worth pausing to consider how and where it all comes from, but appreciating the vibe and beauty of the place in the morning hours is the point visiting here.

American Bittern

The distance between the North entrance and the South takeout is about 4 miles (it continues for another two miles beyond the park), and like the other paddles, you essentially steer through it.  We were shortly caught up other kayakers who seemed eager to race through it – maybe it was their morning exercise.  In any case, cypress trees, beautiful water, a variety of birds and yet another river otter kept our attention from start to finish.  We took our time with this one and probably spent three hours on the water.  A lot of that was for the photography.

That warm feeling gave away to humor as we watched all the bikers from the Daytona rally pass us on the highway, and then it led to frustration as Atlanta turned its usual trick of bad traffic, making the trip several hours longer than it should have been.  That said, the pictures tell the story, and a great one it was.  Photo collection can be viewed HERE as the ones here do not feature it as well as it deserves.


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