As always Safety First: Do not paddle alone. Tell someone your float plan.
There are plenty of places to go kayaking near Tallahassee, and the options range from calm and serene to exciting and adventurous. For a relaxing experience, try kayaking on Lake Jackson or Lake Iamonia. Both of these lakes have smooth, gentle waters that are perfect for a leisurely paddle.
If you’re looking for something more challenging, head to the Ochlockonee River or the Wakulla. These waterways offer faster currents so they’re great for those who want a little more excitement in their kayaking experience. Whichever option you choose, you’re sure to have a great time exploring the beautiful waterways around Tallahassee.
If you are new to kayaking or don’t have a lot of experience, consider taking a class from a local outfitter such as Harry’s Smith Outdoors. They offer several types of classes on different bodies of water in the area.
Ochlockonee River State Park:
The park has two separate launching areas for kayaks and canoes. One is located near the day-use picnic pavilions and provides access to Ochlockonee Bay. The other is located at the primitive camping area and provides access to the Ochlockonee River. The river is a blackwater stream that flows through pine flatwoods and hardwood hammocks. Along the way, you may see alligators, turtles, otters, ospreys, and wading birds. The park also has several miles of hiking trails that wind through different ecosystems.
The Dead River joins the Ochlockonee River a short paddle away, and from there you can venture into almost limitless small creeks and backwaters. A short distance downstream, the Ochlockonee becomes over a mile wide before flowing into the Gulf of Mexico.
- The ranger station has canoes, kayaks and paddleboards available for rent for $20 a day.
- Maps are provided there and on the park’s webpage to guide your adventure and help you decide which direction to go first.
There is an accessible kayak launch available at the boat ramp where boaters or kayakers can launch into a tributary of the Ochlockonee River, allowing easy access for fishing or exploring either upstream or downstream. The launch area also has parking, restrooms, a picnic area and a floating dock.
Both freshwater and saltwater fish inhabit the waters around the park, including largemouth bass, bream, catfish and speckled perch. Learn More.
Lake Talquin State Park:
This state park is located on the Ochlockonee River just downstream from where it is impounded to create Lake Talquin. The river here is very beautiful with clear waters flowing over white sand beaches. Canoeists and kayakers can put in at the day-use area and paddle upstream or downstream to Ochlockonee River State Park. You will find outstanding freshwater fishing with common species such as largemouth bass, striped bass, speckled perch, bream and catfish being caught off the park’s boardwalk or dock. Learn more.
Econfina River State Park:
The Econfina River flows through a variety of different ecosystems including floodplain swamp, upland mixed forest, sandhills, and ravines. Canoeists and kayakers can put in at the boat ramp and paddle upstream or downstream. Florida black bear, white-tailed deer, blue herons and egrets, bald eagle, marsh hawk, otter and bobcat call this habitat home. Learn more.
Wacissa River is a great place to go kayaking, canoeing, or swimming. It’s located just a short drive north of Tallahassee and offers a variety of different scenery. There is even a little swimming area with a rope swing. The Wacissa is also home to a spring, so you may even be able to take a dip in the refreshing waters if you get too warm while paddling. It’s down a little bit on the left. Just look for the boats!
Another great option for kayaking near Tallahassee is the Wakulla River. This river is known for its clear waters and abundant wildlife, and it’s a great place to paddle if you’re hoping to see some alligators or turtles. The Wakulla River is a popular paddling destination and suitable for beginners. On weekends and during the summer months the river may be crowded with powerboats and people floating in tubes. The current is generally mild enough and water levels sufficient to be able to paddle from either the CR 365 bridge or the US 98 bridge and make a round trip going upstream or downstream. It is about 4 miles distance between the two bridges, the designated trail endpoints.
You may also extend your trip by paddling further downstream to the St. Marks City Park, (2.6 miles downstream from the US 98 Bridge) or further downstream to the historic fort site at San Marcos de Apalachee Historic State Park (3.2 miles from the US 98 Bridge). At this site the Wacissa River joins the St Marks River and both form an ever-widening channel to the Gulf of Mexico, bordering the unspoiled St Marks National Wildlife Refuge. From the San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park it is also possible to continue further upstream about 5 miles on the St Marks River to the US 98 Bridge and Newport County Campground. Check out the Wakulla river paddling guide.
Apalachicola River is another great option. The Apalachicola River WEA Paddling Trail System is made up of nearly 100 miles of wilderness paddling trails. Download or order a guide or print out one of the 11 trip guides below.
So whether you’re looking for a relaxing experience or an adventure-filled excursion, there are plenty of great places to go kayaking near Tallahassee. Get out and explore the beautiful waterways of Florida today!