Although weather varies across the state, autumn is arguably one of Florida’s best seasons to experience the outdoors. Floridians and visitors can enjoy cooler temperatures and a break in the humidity, making for near-perfect weather. One of our favorite fall activities is kayaking; thankfully, we know a thing or two about it because we carry all the best brands and models of kayaks and paddleboards, including favorites like Old Town, Crescent, Hobie, and iROCKER.
With over 700 natural springs in Florida, we are sharing our list of the top 5 best springs in North Florida for kayaking this fall.
Shopping for the Perfect Kayak?
Dubbed as one of the healthiest and most scenic springs in Florida with a pristine spring run, Juniper Springs comes in at number one on our list. Located under two hours away from Jacksonville, Juniper Springs boasts beautiful blue water nestled under a canopy of old-growth forest. Approximately 7 miles long, the paddling trail begins shallow and narrow and gradually opens up into a wider grassland area. We recommend a Crescent SUP+ for those looking for a hybrid kayak + stand-up paddleboard combo, perfect for paddling Juniper Springs’ waters with confidence and ease.
Nature enthusiasts can enjoy viewing an abundance of unique wildlife like marsh birds, turtles, alligators, monkeys, and maybe even the elusive manatee. The stunning topography at Silver Springs State Park is well worth the 2-hour drive from Jacksonville and is a must-visit for kayakers in Florida. Silver Springs is great for kayakers of all levels, with shorter runs along Fort King Waterway for beginners and longer runs along unspoiled Silver River for those with more experience. The Crescent Ultra Lite 10’ is a compact-size kayak that can help adventurers maneuver through the magic of Silver Springs this fall.
Located about an hour and a half from Jacksonville, Ginnie Springs is a favorite amongst kayakers due to its crystal-clear freshwater, 7 stunning springs to explore, and relaxed, privately-owned park grounds. Ginnie Springs is located on the Santa Fe River which has 26 miles of paddling trail! The Sportsman 120 Kayak by Old Town is a great choice for paddling along Ginnie Springs like a pro. And while you take a break from exploring on the water, there are other recreations on-site like camping, tubing, volleyball, or the beautiful underground cave system with a limestone bottom to explore, as well. Pro tip: Avoid party-goers and larger crowds by visiting Ginnie Springs during the weekdays!
Kayakers can enjoy one of the best first-magnitude springs near Jacksonville at Alexander Springs in the Ocala National Forest. Under 2 hours away from Jacksonville, the springs yield a magnificent turquoise blue head spring and constant 72-degree crystal-clear waters with over 7 miles of paddling available. Bring the whole family to Alexander Springs, as in addition to the beautiful kayaking available there is hiking, biking, fishing, horse-riding, swimming, and snorkeling.
About 1 and a half hours from Jacksonville is the versatile Ichetucknee Springs State Park. Considered a rite of passage for Floridians, visiting this state park is a must for kayakers and tubing enthusiasts alike. There are 8 phenomenal crystalline springs to explore during the fall months like Blue Hole Spring, Devil’s Eye Spring, and Grassy Hole Spring. Enjoy this little slice of wildlife heaven and view otters, beavers, turtles, and more.
Grab Your Kayaking Gear at Hagan Coastal Outfitters
Whether you’re exploring the water solo or with a group, there is a beautiful, natural, freshwater Florida spring with your name on it this year. Don’t forget to check local and state guidelines to ensure the springs you choose are open and weather conditions are fair. We’re confident you’ll have a blast out on the water. Shop online or visit your local Hagan Coastal Outfitters store to get geared up and ready to go!