Are you a water sports enthusiast and visiting Jacksonville for the first time but don’t know the best kayaking trails? Or could it be that you came to spend your holiday in this beautiful city but seem not to have any new adventure planned out? This is not short of a perfect time to try something new, fun and adventurous, plus there is no harm in trying. Kayaking at this time wouldn’t be a bad idea as you never can tell if you are good at something when you have not given it a trial.

Jacksonville is home to numerous waterways and beaches that connect you to the world of water and the natural environment that surrounds it. As you paddle through the creeks, saltwater and mangrove tunnels, you get to see forests of cypress trees dripping with Spanish moss. Although kayaking used to be an ancient adventure, this narrative has changed today as many people now go on recreational kayaking, kayak fishing, tour and lots more.

Choosing a kayaking spot in Jacksonville sometimes doesn’t come simply because the city harbours lots of interesting places where you can go kayaking. Also, the type of kayak you would like to use and what you intend to do while on the water depends solely on the location you choose. However, this article will guide you in choosing the best kayaking spots in Jacksonville, Florida. Need to transport your kayak within Jacksonville? Contact our roadside assistance company to help you with that!

 

Dutton Island Park and Preserve

Do you want to hit the waters with the kids this summer? Dutton Island Preserve is not only a choice for the best launch site but also the best spot to head to for a long day of kayaking. The park is the city’s largest park according to the City of Atlantic Beach.

It is located at the end of Dutton Island Drive, just west of Mayport Road. It features 9,000 feet of nature trails, a kayak launch, 3 miles of hiking trails, a fishing pier and viewing deck of the marsh, picnic areas, restrooms and camping.

You can go Kayaking with friends and dogs (as long as they are on a leash) on Dutton Island to catch a glimpse of the sunrise or sunset. And if you think that a one day adventure on water is not enough, you can stay back as the park offers camping where you can spend the nights to continue your exploration the following day. For kayak anglers, the tranquillity of the park offers a fishing pier that makes fishing enjoyable especially in the early hours of the day. You might either fish from a kayak or the pier provided. If you want to have a great time kayaking, Dutton Island Park is a place to be, and to enter the park you will be charged with nothing.

 

GTM Research Reserve

People head over to the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve every day to take advantage of what it has to offer. It’s a great place to be when you want to combine education with fun. You get to educate your mind and yet get a lot of space to have fun. You can drop in with friends and family to explore this dynamic, ever-changing place that hosts many interconnected habitats from the ocean to the forests.

This conservation area is located on the Atlantic Coast of Northern Florida. It protects 76,760 acres South of Jacksonville, (Duval County), right in St. Johns and Flagler counties on the northeastern part of the coast of Florida. Freshwater marsh, tidal salt marsh, pine Flatwoods and maritime hammock is the diverse habits that can be found in this National Estuarine Research Reserve. Three distinct rivers tied these parcels together; Guana River, Tolomato River and Matanzas River, the landscape is home to different species of plants and animals while the rivers protect a variety of aquatic life.

You can go biking and hiking along more than 9 miles of nature trails. People of all ages hit the coastal land kayaking, fishing and SUP boarding. You can also enjoy birding as you paddle through the marshes and estuaries. You do not need to pay a dime to launch a kayak or paddleboard, but there is a small fee to visit the Environmental Education Center. Recently a list of fish species for the Guana river was compiled, showing that 18 species of fish can be fished recreationally while 16 species can be harvested commercially. This would be nothing short of an adventurous event for kayak fishing.

 

Wicked Barley Brewing Company

Are you a visitor travelling on Goodby’s Creek and looking for an authentic, locally-owned brewery with energetic outdoor seating? The Wicked Barley Brewery Company in Jacksonville is a worthwhile destination.

Located on the banks of the Goodby’s Creek is the Wicked Barley Company, a premier destination opened for out of town guests and locals since 2016. The place features a large outdoor Beer Garden, Kayak Launch with about a hundred boat docks, a taproom consisting of 20 taps with delicious house-brewed beers, meads and ciders, and providing sufficient seating and relaxing vibes. Aside from that this local barley brewery is known for unique, bounty pushing beer styles, they also offer a full-service restaurant where you can get a “from the scratch menu” ranging from the kids’ menu to appetizers.  You don’t have to be a lover of beer to visit Wicked Barley, there is always something for everyone.

Go kayaking in a pet-friendly atmosphere like Wicked Barley. Come with friends and family to explore the sandy kayak/canoe launch all day, grab a few cups of beer in this warm entertaining environment once you get out of the water to chill out. While food and drinks are made available for purchase, using their launch attract no charges.

 

Nocatee kayak launch

Grabbing your kayak or paddleboard to hit the waters is such a good way to relieve yourself of stress. Whether you are new to kayaking or you are an experienced paddler, Nocatee Kayak Launch offers the perfect outdoor experience you wouldn’t forget in a bit.

At the base of Nocatee Parkway, just west of the Intracoastal Waterway is where Nocatee Launch is located. The launch is a paddle launch at Nocatee Landing which is at the southeastern side of Nocatee Preserve with the Tolomato river stretching to about 3.5 miles. The preserve comprises conserved Flora and Fauna where one could view the underdeveloped section of Florida. The Nocatee landing presents an incredible picnic area with facilities along the Tolomato River north of St. Augustine.

The launching area is especially for non-motorized water sports like kayaking, canoeing and stand-up paddleboarding. You can glide around Pine Island where you’ll discover a lot of small inlets and a few tributaries into Deep Creek State Forest. And while paddling, you have the opportunity to view different wildlife like sea birds, eagles, wading, Peregrine and falcons. You might want to take some rest once you are out of the water, there is a pavilion at the launch where you can stretch yourself and take a view of the river. More importantly, be aware that the current can be strong and there could be tidal changes along the waterway.

Why not hit the waters while you can? Residents and visitors go kayaking at the Nocatee kayak launch, so you can!

 

St. Johns River Downtown Jacksonville

An interesting spot to go kayaking and catch a new view of Jacksonville city is the Downtown Jacksonville Urban Kayaking Adventure. Kayaking in a place surrounded by skyscrapers, bridges and dolphins is not an adventure for beginners neither is it one of those adventurous events you’ll be able to forget quickly.

Adjacent to the River City Brewing Company and Metropolitan Park is the City Boat Ramp, allowing water access on either side of the St. Johns River in downtown Jacksonville. The McCoys Creek which is home to hundreds of coastal birds is only accessible by specific tidal level, plus the Creek is one of the city’s hidden gems. The riverfront of Jacksonville, Florida holds great history, amazing views and offers kayakers a distinctive perspective of what the city looks like as they approach the heart of the city.

As paddlers cruise under the City’s well-known bridges, they are always welcomed by the exciting scenery of the City. Paddling skills up to intermediate level with constant vigilance is needed because obstructions such as vessels in the water and swift tidal currents in Downtown Jacksonville might not be easily manoeuvred by beginners. Therefore, beginners are not usually welcome on this kayaking spot and if there seems to be any, war Canoes are usually recommended for their safety. Not sure of the best kayaking spots near you? Use this Interactive kayaking near me map to find your way around your location.

 

The Intracoastal Waterways (ICW)

Living near the water offers so many opportunities and loads of advantages. The ICE provides fishermen and sports enthusiasts with more than 40 miles of Intracoastal Waterways marches, canals, and channels in Jacksonville. The leisure kayak trip is mostly made easy using the public access ramps.

The ICW is an inland waterway, running up to about 3,000 miles along the Atlantic Ocean, from Boston down to the Atlantic Seaboards and around the Southern tip of Florida. The Intracoastal Waterway has natural inlets, bays and saltwater rivers while the others are man-made canals.

The natural water splits up Jacksonville’s Southside from the beach area, flowing along the East Coast. Kayak fishermen find solace in the mouths of the larger creeks where they can easily spot fish. The brackish tributary has become a home to flounder, black drum, seatrout and redfish.

Getting away from the city to enjoy the cool breeze and fresh air of nature in Jacksonville’s creeks, rivers, beaches and various waterways that offer kayak launches will always be an adventure that is worth trying over and over again. While the City kayak launch might be quite exotic, the beautiful sight of wildlife might be missing. If you have a craving for adventure, grab your kayak and step out of your comfort zone to explore this plethora of fun today!

 

FAQ

Where to kayak in Jacksonville fl

Creeks, rivers, oceans and marshes are great places to explore Jacksonville. You can also go on eco-tour and from a different standpoint of downtown Jax, you can go for an urban kayaking adventure on the St. Johns River. Many parks and conservative centres in Jacksonville also have a launch for paddling.