Where to Kayak / Paddle
Freshwater, Space Coast North

This section lists destinations for Kayaking the St John's River, the Little Big Econ, and other freshwater bodies in Southern Volusia, Eastern Seminole, and Northern Brevard Counties.

 
Six Mile Creek
The Six Mile Creek boat ramp can be found on S.R. 46 about 3.5 miles west of I-95. The creek flows out of the Buck Lake Conservation Area from a small lake and wet prairie that forms the headwaters of the creek. You can paddle upstream for about 3/4 of a mile before the creek narrows dramatically and is blocked by logs and low overhanging vegetation. Heading south from the put in takes you to Salt Lake, Loughman Lake, and eventually to the St. John's River. Wading birds, Black neck stilts, redwing blackbirds, and many waterfowl, and other wildlife species associated with the St. Johns floodplain can be found here.
GPS N 28 39.960 W 80 54.668
Google Satellite Image
 

St John's River
The St. John's River is the longest river in Florida at 310 miles, and one of the few north flowing rivers in the US. From the headwaters in the South to its mouth at Jacksonville in Northeast Florida there is only a 30 foot change in elevation and the river flows at a lazy 1/3 of a mile per hour. The St. Johns here is a Blackwater stream, meaning that its primary water supply is fed primarily by the swamps and wetlands that surround it and groundwater seeping up through the sandy soil prevalent in the area, with no major tributaries.
Editors Note; When paddling the St. Johns you will be sharing a twisting, turning river with powerboats and airboats. It is recommended that you attach a flag to your kayak, carry an airhorn to alert boaters to your presence, and always paddle around a bend in the river along the outside shore to give oncoming boaters a chance to see you. Most boaters and airboaters will be very courteous and slow down to pass you. With that said.....
There are several places in the Space Coast North coverage area where kayaks can be launched from. Those associated with Lake Monroe and Lake Jessup Conservation Areas are listed in the two sections just below. Additional Launch sites include;

C.S. Lee Park(Seminole County) 4600 E. State Road 46 Geneva, FL 32732
Phone: (407) 788-0405
Head west on SR 46 from I-95 until you cross the St. Johns. Park is on the west side of river, north side of SR 46.
GPS N 28 42.897 W 81 02.140
Google Satellite Image

 

Hatbill Park
100 Hatbill Road, Mims
FROM I-95, take SR-46 Exit-223 west towards Mims/Sanford. Stay on SR-46 for 4.1 miles to Hatbill Road. Turn left and go 8.5 miles to the Hatbill Rd/Baxter Point Rd intersection, keep left and go 0.5 miles to the park.
GPS N 28 36.351 W 80 57.731
Google Satellite Image

 

Loughman Lake Lodge;(Privately owned lodge) 1955 Hatbill Rd, Mims, FL. (321) 268-2277
Follow the directions for Hatbill Park just above from I-95 to Hatbill Road. Soon after entering Hatbill Road you will see the signs for the Lodge on the left side.
GPS N 28 38.774 W 80 56.270
Google Satellite Image

 

State Road 50 Boat Ramp (Orange County Park)
1 acre park with boat ramp on State Road 50 on St John's River west of Titusville.
GPS N 28 32.588 W 80 56.146
Google Satellite Image

 
Lake Monroe Conservation Area
Protecting more than six miles of Lake Monroe and St. Johns River shoreline, the Lake Monroe Conservation Area between Geneva and Sanford contains 90 percent of the floodplain area for Lake Monroe. Wetlands make up 94 percent of the conservation area. Predominant natural communities here are floodplain marsh/wet prairie and floodplain swamp/forest. Years ago, Native Americans hunted and fished in this area, as evidenced by the number of shell middens found here. A five-mile paddle northward from Cameron Wight Park will cover Thornhill Lake and Brickyard Slough within the Lake Monroe Conservation Area.

Numerous wading birds and raptors can be expected. American bittern, black-crowned night-heron, wood stork, bald eagle, Cooper's hawk, short-tailed hawk, crested caracara, merlin, peregrine falcon, purple gallinule, king and Virginia rails, limpkin and sandhill crane are all possible. Sixty-seven species of birds were spotted on a kayak trip here during last year's Space Coast Birding & Wildlife Festival, including 10 species of raptors. Alligators are a common sight, and you might see deer and river otters. A trail system within the conservation area, located off of CR 415 about two miles north of the St. Johns River bridge, passes through fields, marshes, hammocks, flatwoods and scrub. This site is good for marsh birds, raptors, warblers, wrens and sparrows; several families of Florida scrub-jays occupy territories within the scrub habitat.

Directions: Launch from Seminole County's Cameron Wight Park at SR 46 and the Lake Jessup Bridge. From I-95 and SR 46, go west on SR 46 for 21.1 miles. The park is on the northwest side of the bridge. For a map of the area, visit Lake Monroe Conservation Area or call 407-329-4404.

Caution: Airboat traffic is heavy on the St. Johns River, especially on weekends. It is recommended that paddlers use a bright, tall warning flag on boats in order to be more visible above tall grasses. Take along a loud horn. The river supports a HUGE alligator population. Avoid paddling in this area during alligator mating season in springtime, and don't bring small pets. Be sure to check the weather before attempting to cross any of the lakes you'll encounter along the St. Johns River. Violent thunderstorms can form rapidly over the lakes, and strong prevailing southeasterly winds kick up during summertime afternoons. It is a long hard paddle back to the east side of a lake in those conditions. It is recommended that paddlers leave early in the morning to be back to the east side of the lakes by very early afternoon.

Property Map
GPS Cameron Wight Park Launch Site N 28 47.169 W 81 10.828
Google Satellite Image, Cameron Wight Park Launch Site

 
Lake Jessup
If you want to see alligators, Lake Jessup is the place to be! A large, shallow water body in Seminole County, Lake Jessup and its floodplain extend over approximately 16,000 acres. Over 100,000 years old, the lake itself covers about 10,000 acres. Jessup is home to many eagles, ospreys, wading birds, bobcats and river otters as well as a large gathering of alligators. More than 10,000 strong, Lake Jessup has Florida's highest population of the ancient crocodilians. In fact, no other lake in North America claims more gators per acre. Where there are alligators present, you'll sometimes find bird rookeries (the birds know that gators keep predator populations in check) and Lake Jessup is no exception. Bird Island, a small island in the interior of Jessup is a significant wading bird rookery.

Directions: The north end of Lake Jessup is reached from Cameron Wight Park (see above). East Lake Jessup may be accessed from the Black Hammock Marina. Bird Island is located near the middle of the lake, about two miles northwest of Black Hammock. Go south from SR 46 at the traffic light in Geneva on CR 426 to Oviedo, 7.5 miles. Turn right on Broadway. Make an immediate right on Central Avenue (SR 434). Go 1.3 miles and turn right on Deleon Street. Go to Howard Avenue and turn left. Go to Black Hammock Road and turn right. The road ends at Black Hammock Fish Camp (407-365-1244).

Property Map
GPS Cameron Wight Park Launch Site N 28 47.169 W 81 10.828
Google Satellite Image, Cameron Wight Park Launch Site
GPS, Black Hammock Fish Camp N 28 42.251 W 81 12.392
Google Satellite Image, Black Hammock Fish Camp

 
Econlockhatchee River
Econlockhatchee River is one of the last unspoiled rivers in Central Florida, and can be paddled in three sections.
The first section (9 miles), which starts at State Road 50 west of Titusville can be difficult, but is probably the most beautiful section to paddle under a junglelike canopy of cyprus. Water levels are highly variable on the Econ, as it is called by locals. Expect lots of portages at low water. At high water, the current is strong and the actual course of the river is hard to determine. There are lots of sharp bends and getting lost afloat among half submerged trees is a distinct possibilty and river reading skills are an absolute necessity. Strainers should be expected and of course, avoided. At middle water levels this can be an absolutly beautiful paddle. Call Hidden River Park at (407) 568-5346 and ask for Don for river conditions. The park also provides rentals and a shuttle service for at least sections one and two.

The second (and the most popular) section begins at County Road 419 near Oviedo where the river opens up to reveal 15 foot high sandy banks lined with oaks and cabbage palms. There is a parking area just off the north side of CR-419 on Willingham Road. Check the river for wildflowers in this area. There may be weed jams in this area, portages are difficult in some sections due to the high banks. there are places along this stretch to pull out and picnic and plenty of wildlife to be seen. This is considered a classic Central Florida paddle. Take out for this section will be at Snow Hill Road, and shuttle services can be arranged through Hidden River Park.

Below the Snow Hill Road bridge, the banks are lower, while cypress trees and clusters of cabbage palms line the banks. About 6 miles later the river as the tree-lined banks give way to pasture land and the marshes of the St. John's River. Stay in the boat here as much of the land is in private hands. About 3 miles later, the Econ enters the St. Johns. Turn left once entering the St John's and paddle 1.5 miles to the S.R. 46 bridge, which is clearly visible from the mouth of the Econ. The takeout is at the northwest corner of the bridge. This last section from Snow Hill Road to the takeout at State Road 46 totals about 11 miles. Care should be taken on the St John's due to the possibilty of heavy powerboat and airboat traffic.

GPS SR 50, Hidden River Park N 28 34.029 W 81 09.393
Google Satellite Image SR 50, Hidden River Park
GPS CR419
N 28 39.318 W 81 10.099
Google Satellite Image CR 419
GPS Snow Hill Road
N 28 40.636 W 81 06.831
Google Satellite Image Snow Hill Road
GPS SR 46 takeout
N 28 42.897 W 81 02.140
Google Satellite Image SR 46 Takeout

 
Fox Lake / South Lake
Fox Lake Park at 4400 Fox Lake Road; Fox lake is a freshwater lake just outside the Titusville city limit and is the closest freshwater paddling site to Titsuville. Putting in at Fox Lake also provides paddling access to South Lake via a canal connection. The shoreline and the surrounding marshes provide habitat to all sorts of wading birds and other wildlife associated with Florida freshwater marshes. By paddling through the canal to South Lake and following the western shoreline you come to a creek that makes a very nice paddle.
GPS N 28 35.271 W 80 52.385
Google Satellite Image
 
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