|Do It! - Canoeing & Kayaking
What easier way to appreciate the pristine wilderness of the “real Florida” than to glide gently past it in a canoe? Surprisingly close to downtown Orlando are a number of canoeing trails that offer a glimpse of a Florida few tourists see. The shoreline will vary from well-manicured backyards to impenetrable jungles depending on where you canoe, and much of the scenery is drop-dead gorgeous. In many places, the landscape is little changed from the days Florida was first settled by humans. There are plenty of turtles and birds to be seen and you might even glimpse an alligator.
The two closest spots to Orlando are the Wekiva River basin to the north of the city and the Little-Big Econ Wilderness Area to the east. Most of the outfitters listed below will offer drop-off and/or pickup service. Plan on starting fairly early in the morning and ending in mid-afternoon. Some places offer overnight trips and will rent you camping gear. A typical four- or five-hour outing will cost about $25 to $35; hourly rates, where available, start at about $16.
I have restricted listings to the immediate Orlando area, but if you’re willing to drive a bit, there are many more streams to explore. A good source of information is the Florida Professional Paddlesports Association at www.paddleflausa.com
Adventures in Florida
Hidden River Park Canoe Rentals
King's Landing Canoe Rental
Wekiva Falls Resort
Wekiwa Springs State Park Nature Adventures
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