Canoeing and Kayaking

 Canoeing and kayaking, also known as paddling, offer visitors an alternate way to see the refuge. Common wildlife sightings on the river include turtles, muskrats, mink, bald eagles and other wildlife in a picturesque setting. 


Paddling Tips:

 Always Wear your Life Jacket – You never know when you may hit a submerged rock or tree and end up capsizing your boat. 

 Dress in Layers – During the warm summer months a swimsuit may be sufficient. However, weather can change rapidly and having extra layers can add a measure of comfort and safety. If you are paddling on cool spring or fall days you can quickly overheat if you are really bundled up or temperatures can fall leaving you chilled or cold. By dressing in layers you can add or remove items of clothes as you get warm or cool down.

  Watch for Rocks and Tree Limbs and Trunks – These obstacles may be above or below the water line and can quickly flip a canoe or kayak.

 Know Your Limits – If you are a novice, practice paddling on a cool fall day. Start out taking short trips. 

 No Fires – Fires are not allowed on the refuge.

 Bring Food and Water – Trips through the refuge can take all day. Remember to bring food and water to make your trip more pleasant. Please pack your trash out and help keep the refuge litter free.

 Put Valuables in Waterproof Bags or Leave Them in Your Car – Many people lose or damage their car keys, cell phones, cameras and other personal items either because they capsize or water gets into the boat. If you bring these items, keep them in a watertight bag that is tied to the boat. That way if you capsize you will retain your items and keep them dry.

Facts About Boating

No boat ramps or launches are located on the Refuge. Boat ramps located nearby are at Ed Stone Park, Tedders Boat Ramp, DeLeon Springs State Park or the Highland Park Fish Camp.

Ed Stone Park boat ramp is located off of SR 44 along the St. John's River.

Tedders is located on the DeLeon Springs Run north of the Refuge and south of the DeLeon Springs State Park.

Kayak and canoe rentals are available at DeLeon Springs State Park.

Highland Park Fish Camp is located on the Norris Dead River on Highland Park Road.