RIVERS...Waterways!
Little Manatee River
Originating in eastern Hillsborough and western Polk counties the river travels 40 miles to empty into Tampa Bay at Bahia Beach. The upper 28 miles is mostly wilderness, narrow and winding, making for great paddling with new scenery around each turn. Manatees are sometimes seen in the lower parts of the river.
Canoe Outpost - Wimauma  813-634-2228

Manatee County Blueway
Inspired by local public servants and with assistance from the National Park Service, Manatee County was ahead of the curve on blueways, establishing trails in early 2002. Seventy-five miles of trails provide non strenuous paddling in normal conditions.
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Upper Manatee River
The Upper Manatee River Canoe Trail is officially designated as part of Florida's Statewide System of Greenways and Trails. This trail makes an ideal half-day trip. Only a few miles from Bradenton, the Upper Manatee River is easily accessible and you can paddle both ways so you don't have to arrange for pick-up. The river's gentle curves and slow-moving current make the trip a peaceful and leisurely paddle. Wading birds search for food along banks lined with subtropical vegetation, while osprey fly overhead.
Pete Kelley Guide Service  941-744-9596
Rays Canoe Hideaway  941-747-3909

Braden River
A 4 to 5 mile peaceful paddle between Linger Lodge and Jiggs Landing. This paddle requires you to bring your own canoe or kayak; you'll also need a friend who can park a car at the take-out at Jiggs Landing.

Myakka River
While canoes can be rented in Myakka River State Park east of Sarasota on State Road 72, you cannot take these canoes out of the park. Thus, traveling the river usually depends outfitters and guide services that lead regularly scheduled trips. The Myakka offers perhaps the largest -- and certainly the most prolific -- alligators in the area. While it's not a river for the gator-phobic, paddling groups do safely make the trip each year and are treated to incredible natural sights.
Myakka Outpost  941-923-1120
Snook Haven  941-485-7221

Charlotte County Blueway
Fifty-three separate trails totaling 212 miles are incorporated within the county's Blueway system. This astonishing length is longer than a drive from Sarasota to Ocala or Tampa to Lake City. Obviously, this many miles of trails will take any individual a long time to explore, and given the different seasons and weather conditions, could in itself include many paddles of a lifetime. A brochure has been issued by Charlotte County with a great deal of information, including launches, trail names, trail lengths, difficulty rating, descriptions and rating of scenery. This Free brochure can be obtained from Charlotte County Parks & Recreation, by Calling 941-625-7529.

Peace River - Wachula
Along its 67 miles, the pale, tea-colored river is true to its name. It is a serene, slow-moving river with few signs of civilization. Whether you paddle for a day or a week, the quiet isolation lets you leave big city worries behind. You'll see turtles, otters, deer and turkey while an occasional black bear may wander to the river's edge. Wading birds and gators frequent the water's edge. Sandy beaches and sloping banks provide excellent resting points.
Canoe Outpost - Arcadia  800-268-0083
Peace River Canoes - Arcadia  863-494-9693
Canoe Safari - Arcadia  863-494-7865



  RIVERS...Day Trips!
Estero River
Estero River Canoe Trail takes the paddler on a body of water stretching from Corkscrew Swamp in the east to Estero Bay on the west. The 7-mile canoe trail can be done in one day. The trip follows a maze through a series of mangrove-lined islands and coves. The area can be very confusing if you are not familiar with the trail.
   Estero River Outfitters  239-992-4050

Everglades
Stretching south from the vast 700 square mile Lake Okeechobee, nourished by the rain soaked Kissimmee River Basin, the Everglades is a wide slow moving river of marsh and sawgrass covering some 4,500 square miles, flowing quietly, peacefully, towards the mangrove estuaries of the Gulf of Mexico.

Everglades City:
   Everglades Island Airboat Tours  800-611-8908
   Everglades National Park Boat Tours  239-695-2591
   Everglades Private Airboat Tours  888-665-8834
   Speedy Johnson's Fun Cruise  800-998-4448
   Captain Doug's Airboat Tours  800-282-9194

Clewiston:
   Billie Swamp Safari  800-949-6101

Naples:
   Southwest Florida Eco-Tours  239-776-9050
   Manatee Sightseeing Adventure  239-642-8818

Ft. Myers:
   Everglades Day Safari  800-472-3069




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