Rivers to Paddle in Florida: Best-Ever

by Dom Nozzi

The rivers found on this list are the best-ever rivers that I have ever had the pleasure to kayak or canoe in Florida. I have paddled nearly all named, navigable waters in Florida, so I have a fairly thorough awareness of what Florida has to offer the paddler.

Note that for some rivers, I will not be providing directions to the river, as I would not like to see any of the more special, unspoiled rivers to suffer from abuse or over-use.

Criteria for this ranking:

• The river is relatively undeveloped, quiet, and remote. The “Real Florida” experience.

• The river is relatively narrow and tree-canopied.

• The river requires some degree of technical paddling or portaging or duck-under-logs skill.

• The waters of the river are relatively clean, clear, and home to an abundant population of fish, alligators and birds (and sometimes monkeys!). A sandy white bottom is a plus.

• Sandbars are occasionally found along the river banks, allowing for tent camping by a paddler.

• The river allows one to paddle one-way (a put-in and take-out point) so that paddling back the way one came is not necessary.

Dom’s Ranking of Florida’s Top 10 Paddles


I urge you to email me (dom@walkablestreets.com) or leave a comment if you have a suggested addition or subtraction from this list. Or if you have any other thoughts about this list.


Each list in this blog contains my own personal opinions based on my personal experiences. I acknowledge that there may be a need to add or subtract from these lists (or to create a new subject list), and I welcome such suggestions. The lists are not ordered from higher to lower quality (although I DO consider the Econfina to be the best of all Florida rivers to paddle). Each list is a work in progress.

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About Dom Nozzi

Urban designer, Complete Streets instructor, smart growth specialist, town planner, walkable & bikeable streets & trails specialist, writer, editor, speaker, world adventurer, skier, kayaker, SCUBA diver, bicyclist, hiker, dancer, book reader, urbanist. Make my own beer, wine, pasta, bread. Live by the motto that it is the things we do NOT do that we later regret. Life is too short to not live it to the fullest.
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2 Responses to Rivers to Paddle in Florida: Best-Ever

  1. James Malloy says:

    Great list. Have you tried the Alapahoochee near Jennings, FL (though it flows only briefly into Florida)? It is the only rival that I have found to the Econfina…rare company, indeed! Jim

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