Silver Springs is home to some of the best kayaking spots in Florida. With its crystal clear waters and stunning scenery, Silver Springs is a kayaker’s paradise. No matter what your skill level, there’s something for anyone. So get out there and explore all that Silver Springs has to offer!
The river is easy to navigate and offers a number of scenic stops, including an overlook with a view of the Rocky Mountains. If you’re feeling adventurous, there are also a few challenging sections that will require some strength and determination.
This article will share some tips for finding the perfect kayaking destinations around Silver Springs. Read on to learn about Ray Wayside Park, Fort King Waterway, and Silver Springs State Park.
And, of course, we’ll tell you about some places to avoid. Listed below are some places to stay out of while kayaking on the Silver Springs and the river.
Top Kayaking Destinations Near Silver Springs
The Silver River is a popular kayaking spot for those looking to explore the rolling hills and serene waterways. The river runs through a series of parks, including Yosemite National Park and Sequoia National Park, and is easily accessible from several locations in the Bay Area.
There are numerous kayak rentals near Silver Springs that provide tours down the river, as well as guided tours for those just wanting to try it out. Some of the top kayaking spots around Silver River are as follows;
Silver Springs State Park
There are a variety of different Silver Springs kayaking spots within the state park. The water is smooth and strong, making for a great workout and easy drift downstream. While kayaking, you can also use this as a great opportunity to practice your photography skills. Among the animals, you might see turtles, gars, otters, birds, and alligators when kayaking.
The water temperature is 72 degrees year-round, making Silver Springs ideal for kayaking.
There are two main options for paddling the Silver River: the full trip starts from Ray Wayside Park on Highway 40 east of Ocala and winds eight miles against the current.
While the upstream paddle may seem like a daunting task, the return trip is equally enjoyable, and it will fly by.
During the spring run, you can paddle through crystal-clear waters and observe different species of fish. You can also enjoy manatees while kayaking at Silver Springs in this area, and you can spot them most often here.
In the winter, they congregate in the spring water, but during the warmer months, they spread out along the river. This is the best time to view these majestic creatures. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of them as they paddle along the water.
The park has a large, expansive trail network. Although they’re not hiking trails, they’re paved and offer spectacular views of the river and springs. The Orange trail leads through subtropical forest and ends on a boardwalk overlooking the Silver River.
The Blue trail, or Spring Connector, links the main spring area trails with the southern end of the park. It also connects the trails of the park.
If you’re looking for a scenic spot to paddle along the Silver River, try the wetlands of Gum Slough. This network of clear, shallow streams is home to osprey, hawks, and colorful Cardinal flowers. You can also find eelgrass waving in the current, a sign that the river is healthy. Regardless of whether you’re kayaking or canoeing, you’re bound to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature.
Located in Citrus County, Gum Slough is a four-mile-long spring-fed creek.
Its narrow, twisted channels make for an authentic kayaking experience, complete with tons of overgrowth. Getting to Gum Slough from Turner’s Fish Camp requires a 20-minute paddle.
Be aware that the creek is full of snags, and sea kayaks should stay home.
Paddling Gum Slough is a challenging but rewarding experience. You’ll discover a hidden realm with plenty of wildlife. You can paddle for about six to seven hours in total. If you’re a solo paddler, this is an excellent place to enjoy the silver river.
The Florida Paddling Trails Association has a helpful guide to help you navigate the waters, and Lars Andersen, from Adventure Outpost, has written a great post about the waterway.
Besides a wide river, the Silver River also has a lot of diverse wildlife. Its many species of fish include sunfish, kingfish, and frogspawn. You should bring swimwear and snorkeling gear to see these colorful creatures. There are a few other wildlife that may make you shiver – a small but dangerous species. Just be sure to take your time.
Ray Wayside Park
Silver River kayaking at the South Fork of the Ocklawaha – Two miles upstream from the park’s launch is a great place for beginners to start paddling. You can also launch jet skis or paddleboards from nearby spots, such as the Silver Springs State Park River Trail Launch. The park has plenty of parking and running water for boating. There are toilets and picnic tables throughout the park.
The Silver River is known for its springtime run, and kayaking in this river is a wonderful way to see it.
Nearby Ray Wayside Park is an easy, scenic spot. SR40 crosses the Ocklawaha River just beyond the park, so getting there is a breeze.
Paddling in Ray Wayside Park will get you up and downstream through subtropical vegetation and untouched scenery.
You can even take the side trail that connects to the main river downstream, allowing you to explore more of the area.
South Fork of the Silver River
One of the best things about Silver River kayaking Spots at the South Fork of the Silver River is the wildlife! Gators, otters, and other animals often hang out along the river’s edge. Many water birds make their homes here, and you can even see turtles on floating logs and dive off the canoe if you get too close to them.
The South Fork of the Silver River is a popular spot for SUPing. Unlike Kayaking, SUPers need to exercise different caution. The water is about 72 degrees year-round. If you happen to hit a submerged log, you will have to stop your board with your fin.
That way, you can catch up to the fast-moving river. Once you’ve mastered this part, the Silver River will be your favorite place for kayaking in South Florida.
Fort King Waterway
The first two kayaking spots are located in Silver Springs State Park. Paddling is allowed on the waterway as well, but you can rent a kayak to take a shorter tour. Then, paddle down the river toward Ray Wayside Park. The park also offers free transportation back to the park and in-park kayak rentals. While you’re at it, rent a kayak from the park’s Paddling Adventures store.
The Silver River runs downstream of Ray Wayside Park. Paddlers can paddle two miles upstream to Silver River and then downstream to the Ocklawaha River. The park offers restrooms and picnic tables for campers. Afterward, you can head to the Fort King Trail for more exploring. The trip takes about half a day. Visitors can spend up to six hours here.
Another popular activity in Silver Springs is SUPing.
Paddle boarding is another popular activity besides kayaking in Silver Springs. You can paddle across the water and admire the many types of wildlife. Unlike Kayaking, SUPs are different and should be approached with caution. The water near the park has several submerged logs, so be aware of these obstacles. The fin on the board will halt your board if it hits a submerged log. If you are unsure, try it yourself!
The Silver River offers a number of opportunities for kayaking. Kayakers can take a leisurely cruise downstream to enjoy the scenery. The Silver Springs State Park also offers kayak rentals and a scenic paddle of the Silver River. Just be careful and watch for glass-bottomed boats. Once there, you’ll be glad you did! The Silver River is truly a gem in Florida.
Silver Springs Kayak Launch
There are many locations you can launch your boat on the Silver River. Ray Wayside County Park, Silver Springs State Park, and Silver River kayak rentals all have multiple launches for kayaks. You may have to pay a fee to use the launch.
However, the Silver River is located within the park’s boundaries, and you must obey the posted “no wake” signs. If you plan on paddling the Silver River by motorboat, the trip to the headsprings should take approximately two hours and one hour to return.
Depending on the type of boat, you may want to choose an area with docking facilities and maximize kayaking adventures at Silver Springs.
Top Kayak Rentals Near Silver Springs
If you’re in the mood for a day out on the water, consider renting a kayak at Silver River.
There are several Silver River kayak rentals in the area, and you can choose one according to your needs. Kayak rentals are typically provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Individual rentals are not required to be reserved, though reservations are strongly encouraged for larger groups.
All rentals include paddles and life jackets. Pets are not allowed, though service animals are welcome. Before visiting a Silver River Kayak Rental Company, you should fill out the Paddling Adventures Waiver.
Glass Bottom Boat Tours at Silver Springs
Silver Springs is known for its beautiful glass-bottom boat tours. The tours take guests on a tour of the springs and allow them to get up close and personal with the fish and other wildlife. Guests can also enjoy an ice cream or snack while they are on their tour.
With plenty of glass-bottom boating options available, including scenic tours and easy-to-follow beginner trails, you can find the perfect outing for any skill level.
Glass Bottom Boat Tours at Silver Springs offers a unique experience that is not to be missed. Travelers can explore the beautiful, clear waters of Silver Springs aboard a glass-bottom boat. The tours provide an up-close look at the aquatic life and unique geological formations that make up this incredible body of water. The tours are perfect for all ages and offer a fascinating glimpse into natural history.
The Glass Bottom Boat Tours at Silver Springs are a must-do if you’re in the area. The tours take you on a journey beneath the clear, cool waters of the springs and through all of the interesting wildlife that calls this place home. You’ll see turtles, manatees, and all sorts of fish as you make your way around.
Why Kayaking The Silver Springs?
Kayaking in Silver Springs is one of the most unique and breathtaking experiences you can have in the Tampa Bay area. The water is cool, clear, and refreshing, making it perfect for swimming, fishing, or simply taking in the natural beauty of this wild and wonderful place. Kayakers can explore the springs’ many nooks and crannies or take a longer trip down to the scenic New Tampa Creek.
Silver Springs Kayaking Is Florida’s First Tourist Attraction
It is believed that the town of Silver Springs was the first tourist attraction in Florida. Developed during the late nineteenth century, the town became a popular tourist attraction, especially for Northerners. After a number of owners took ownership of the area, the Hot Springs became a Hollywood filming location. In the 1930s, many Tarzan films were filmed in the area.
In 1993, the State of Florida purchased the underlying land for the parks. Until then, private businesses continued to run the attractions.
Founded in 1852, the springs are still considered Florida’s first tourist attraction. The artesian waters of the spring were once enjoyed by the Timucuan Indians, who lived near the site. During Spanish ownership, the Timucuan people mostly disappeared, but they were eventually absorbed by Seminole Indians. Today, Silver Springs is a state park and is the oldest tourist attraction in Florida.
Commercialization began in Silver Springs in the 1850s, with barges taking goods up the Silver River. Later, the town was able to bring steamboats to Silver Springs. By the mid-19th century, tourists began arriving by stagecoach and steamboat. In the early twentieth century, a glass-bottom boat was invented, allowing visitors to see the underwater world. The glass-bottom boat is named after the Seminole tribe chiefs who created it.
As of 1971, the natural area around the spring has been declared a National Natural Landmark. In addition to the park’s paved trails and ornamental gardens, Silver Springs offers a number of different eco-tourism activities.
Besides kayaking at Silver Springs, visitors can enjoy a glass-bottom boat tour or take a walk next to the spring. Glass-bottom boat rides and canoe and kayak rentals are also available. The natural beauty of the area is so amazing that it is truly one of Florida’s first tourist attractions.
It Is An Eco-Tourism Destination
If you’re planning a family vacation, there are several reasons why you should consider visiting Silver River Kayak Rentals. First of all, the state park is located in an eco-tourism destination. The natural beauty of this eco-tourism destination is second to none.
There are abundant sunny days to enjoy nature. And you can take advantage of Kayak Rentals Silver River to explore the surrounding area and get in touch with wildlife. Silver Springs kayak rentals can arrange for glass-bottom boats for you and your family.
The silver river is a beautiful stretch of freshwater river that empties into the Gulf of Mexico. The park maintains the area with a glass-bottom boat tour. These tours take you past manatees, alligators, and wild monkeys and also to different bays.
If you don’t like paddling, you can also rent jet skis. There are several kayak and paddleboard rentals in the park, and you’ll be in for a fun and exciting time!
It Has Manatees
When kayaking the Silver River, you can expect to see manatees. There are plenty of opportunities to see these gentle creatures while on the water. The Silver River is a relatively flat stretch of water with a few rapids in places, but it is also home to a variety of freshwater springs, which are home to numerous wildlife species. For a unique kayaking experience, consider going for a guided tour.
While kayaking with the manatees, it is essential to keep distance and practice respect. Manatees are gentle animals but you should not approach or come in contact with your boat.
Wear polarized sunglasses and keep your distance. Observe closely and avoid paddling over them. If you come too close to a manatee, it is too close. Keep your distance and do not make any noises while watching.
In the winter, manatees are most visible in the river. Visitors can view them from kayaks or from the shore. Fitness trails and paved walkways offer additional opportunities to view these creatures. You can also rent kayaks at the riverfront. Whether you are interested in a nature tour or a kayak tour, Silver River Kayak Rentals has manatees.
During the winter months, manatees prefer the warmer waters of Silver Springs, Florida. There is ample space for visitors to watch the animals. But the area is often crowded. The tour is not free, but the company usually offers special promotions. During the winter months, manatees congregate in the spring water, and in the summer months, they spread out along the length of the river. If you can get to the area before the manatees come out, you can take a closer look at the majestic creatures.
The spring run extends up to a mile beyond the headspring. The clear water is the perfect environment for viewing the unique fish. Manatee kayaking at Silver Springs is one of the most popular activities here. And spring is the perfect season for encountering manatees here.
In the winter, manatees congregate in the 72-degree spring water, while in the summer, they spread out to the river’s full length. This is the best time to see them.
There are many reasons to visit Silver River Kayak Rentals. The area is home to many manatees, which makes kayaking in the park an especially special experience. You can even kayak in search of manatees, and if you’re lucky, you may even see them!
Visiting Tarpon Springs also gives you an opportunity to explore the area’s rich history. You can take your kayak and paddle along the riverside, passing Victorian-style homes. There is plenty to see during a kayak trip, and a guided tour can help you take in the natural beauty of the town as well.
Where not to kayak in Silver River?
There are a few places in the Silver River where kayaking is not advisable due to dangerous rapids and strong currents. The most important thing to remember when kayaking in Silver Springs is to stay safe and respect the environment!
These areas include the section below the falls, where the river narrows and there are many big rocks in the water, and a section above the falls, near the confluence of the Silver and Salmon rivers.
There are also several stretches of river with fast, swirling currents that can be extremely dangerous for kayakers without experience or proper equipment.
Silver Springs kayaking is an excellent way to experience the beautiful Silver Springs area. With miles of stunning shoreline to explore, Silver Springs is a good destination for kayaking.