Indian River County is a kayaking paradise. With over 150 miles to paddle in the Indian River Lagoon, plus the fresh waters of Stick Marsh and Turkey Creek, a kayaker could spend a month or more here and not see it all. Here are three must kayak trips in the area:
Round Island Park in the south of the Indian River County offers kayak trips that last from as little as an hour to an all day excursion. With numerous coves and many spoiled islands to explore, you can tailor your trip to fit any schedule. Because of these shallow waters the sea grasses here are plentiful and this attracts manatee, as well as loads of jumping fish. Some of the wildlife seen regularly includes dolphin, manatee, osprey, great blue heron and egrets. Every level of paddler will enjoy this area. With an abundance of wildlife and shallow waters it is a must see for visitors and locals alike.
The Stick Marsh is a kayaking safari with lots of alligators and even more birds, so bring your camera. Located in Fellsmere in the North West corner of the county, it is known world wide as a great fishing spot. We love this area for kayaking. This is an easy paddle trip in waters teeming with life. If you have any fears regarding alligators this is NOT the trip for you, however if you have always wanted to see some big gators this is the perfect place to be. In addition to alligators, you will see hundreds of osprey, egret, hawks, and so many more birds you may not notice the alligators after a while. In the winter months, get an early start because you will be out in the sun the entire trip. If visiting in the summer one should take advantage of a sunrise trip. One quick pointer - pack lots of water. One shouldn’t go home without experiencing this kayak safari.
Turkey Creek is just north of the county boarder, but well worth mentioning because of the incredible 20 feet high sand walls encountered on this trip and the wild scenery that one passes under as kayaking up stream into the Turkey Creek Sanctuary, owned by the Florida Audubon Society. This 113 acre preserve is what Florida is like naturally. Here is what one visitor from Nottingham, England wrote, “There are plenty of information points so you know what you are looking at and what to expect to see (if you are lucky).The peace and quiet are just the anti-dote to all the theme parks and queues. There is a little shop/information point staffed by really friendly helpful people. If you want a taste of what Florida was like before Mickey Mouse then this is the place for you.” Some of the wildlife you may encounter on this trip are manatee, alligators, turtles, owls and otter. Please call local outfitters for local conditions as this river can have a strong current after a few days of hard rain.
By Kristen Beck, a Marine Biologist and an outdoor guide, along with owner/ operator of Kayaks, Etc.