where to kayak in Florida without alligators – Everything you need to know

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Last Updated on September 4, 2022 by Tony K. Henderson

Is kayaking in Florida your first time, and you’re looking for a place where you won’t have to worry about getting into trouble?

Alligators are still a common sight in Florida for everyone who has ever visited or lived there. Kayaking in Florida may be dangerous due to the presence of alligators in several of the state’s most prominent springs.

How can you kayak in Florida without encountering alligators? A number of locations provide you a higher chance of avoiding gators that might endanger your life while kayaking, however, this is not always possible.

For a memorable family kayaking trip in Florida, consider these pointers.

where to kayak in Florida without alligators

If the thought of kayaking with alligators scares you, there are plenty of saltwater kayaking choices in Florida instead. To get a taste of saltwater kayaking in Florida, try the Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail, which stretches from the Florida Panhandle north to the Georgia state border.

If you’d prefer kayaking in saltwater, here are some excellent options:

  • Santa Fe River
  • The Wilderness Trail of the Suwannee River
  • The Manatee River
  • Madison Blue Spring State Park

Santa Fe River

There are 26 miles of river, and the paddle trailer begins in north Florida marshes at O’leno State Park, where it goes underground and reappears three miles later at River State Park. This river might be a challenge to kayak in since the water can be rather low at times. Do your homework and find out how high the water levels need to be before heading out on the river. Up to 180 feet below the river’s surface, a water-filled cave system exists.

The Wilderness Trail of the Suwannee River

This 246-mile-long river originates in northwestern Florida and flows all the way to the Mexican border. Several individuals believe that the Suwannee River in Florida is the greatest in the state since it can accommodate paddlers of all ability levels. It’s a lengthy, winding road with plenty of sandbars for rest spots. It has a wide range of amenities, including overnight lodging.

If you like to be near the water, there are river campgrounds where you may pitch your tent. A night of kayaking and camping with your pals seems like a nice idea. Check with the local kayaking outfitters to see whether the water conditions are safe before venturing out on the water. It’s imperative that you keep an eye on the water levels since they might change wildly.

There is a 9-mile kayaking trail on the Manager River. There are 46 miles of waterways in the Manatee River system, which flows along Florida’s Gulf Coast. On the paddling route, there are sand bars to relax or even picnic on if you want to. The water is running freely. However, you may come into certain challenges. You’ll be able to take in the sights thanks to the easy flow. A heron, turtle, and an alligator may be seen along the way. However, if you’re willing to accept the task, paddling upstream may be accomplished.

Madison Blue Spring State Park

Withlacoochee River kayaking is available at Madison Blue Spring State Park. Alligators do not pose a threat to kayakers in this popular swimming and cave-diving location.

The springs’ crystal-clear water makes it easier to see any gators lurking under or around your kayak. As a result, if you’re taking your family out on the water in a tandem boat, you won’t have to worry about seeing any.

Only from the spring’s riverside can you get into your kayak. Aside from that, getting from the parking lot to the river requires a significant amount of physical effort. Keep in mind that you’ll need someone to assist you to carry your kayak, or you may utilize a kayak transporter.

Madison Blue Spring State Park does not rent kayaks like many other state parks.

Is it safe to kayak in Florida?

When most people think of kayaking in Florida, they immediately think of alligators. Florida alligators may be found in freshwater springs, river basins, lakes, and swamps, and it is true that they are endemic to the state. Alligator attacks in the United States are very rare, with just one fatality attributed to an alligator in Florida each year. A lightning strike or a storm is more likely to take one’s life.
The majority of alligator deaths are linked to freshwater swimming, snorkeling, and wading. Walking little dogs near freshwater is obviously a riskier proposition.

Is it safe to kayak in Florida

Because alligators are scared of kayaks, they will usually dip under the water and hide if one reaches an alligator region. If you’re kayaking in Florida, don’t go too close to alligators or feed them, since this can cause them to become more aggressive. Mating season, which runs from April through June, is when alligators become most aggressive. Winter is the greatest season to go kayaking in Florida since alligators are more likely to leave you alone.

Do Alligators Attack Kayaks?

The answer is yes!

Although alligator attacks on kayakers are rare, kayaking in alligator-infested areas increases the danger.

But, actually, most alligators remain to themselves until they have a good cause to approach.

It’s critical to distinguish between crocodiles and alligators. They are much more aggressive than gators and have been known to attack kayaks.
But North American crocodiles are uncommon. The Everglades and Southern Florida have these.
But let’s face it: the tale was only newsworthy for its shock value. The chances of getting attacked by an alligator while kayaking is substantially smaller than the chances of having a good day without one.

Florida Everglades Alligator Attack:

Common alligator behavior

Even though alligators are the world’s most dangerous predators, they generally avoid contact with humans, particularly those in a boat like a kayak or a canoe. They’re a bit more daring in regions where there are a lot of people, but their innate tendency is to avoid conflict.

The most common places to see alligators are along the banks of rivers or under the shade of large trees. They like the warmth of the sun and shallow water since they are cold-blooded creatures.

The gators in the region may keep an eye on you if you’ve just kayaked there a few times. Jumping into the water from the bank is also an option. As a result of their keen sense of hearing, alligators are frequently able to detect your approach before you do.

The thought of alligators lurking underneath your kayak might be a bit unnerving, but they are unlikely to attack you from the water’s surface. You’ll feel more secure having them on your side than if they were observing you from a bank or the bench.

When you’re in the water, you’re more likely to notice their eyes than anything else. As a result of alligators’ ability to camouflage their appearance, they pose a particularly hazardous threat to people.

Kayaks might be seen as a danger to gators. Even though they’re nimble as tigers, their swift dives into the water are an escape plan. This means alligators will likely wait until the kayaks have passed before moving on to the next stream.

What time of day are alligators most active?

Alligators are most active between dark and morning, so prepare ahead to avoid seeing one. Despite the fact that many Floridians have learned to cohabit with alligators, there is always the possibility of violence.

What to Know Before Kayaking in Alligator-Inhabiting Waters

Don’t Take Your Dog With You

Do not take your dog if you want to go kayaking in an area known for its abundance of alligators. Alligators are drawn to tiny creatures, and they may see them as potential prey in the wild. You and your dog will be at more risk if you do this.

Make Noise

You should create loud sounds to frighten away any alligators that get too near you. You’ll have enough time to get your kayak and paddle out of harm’s way.

Keep Distance 

If at all possible, remain at least 35-40 feet away from the subject. As much as possible, keep a safe distance from the alligator. With their tails and webbed feet, alligators can swim as fast as 20mph. On the ground, they’re just as agile.

Do alligators bother kayaks?

There have been a few incidents when alligators have attacked canoes and kayaks, causing minor injuries and damage to the vessels. To keep yourself safe when paddling, keep your hands and feet inside the boat and use extreme caution while entering and exiting the water.

Is it safe to kayak where there are alligators?

Kayaking with alligators may be a safe experience provided you keep an eye on the animals. Kayakers shouldn’t worry about being attacked randomly since they won’t hang around in the same location as them. Although you’re a guest on their land, you should treat it with the courtesy that befits an honored guest.

What do you do if you encounter an alligator while kayaking?

If you notice an alligator on a sandbar, avoid pointing your kayak straight at it and pass them with the broadside facing them. We may have to shove the gator into the water if there isn’t enough area in a stream or river for it. It’s not a huge issue if it occurs. The only thing you need to do is keep going and keep your eyes open.

Leave a Comment

11 − 5 =