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Where To Kayak In West Palm Beach?

Post By:dsbike on 1/22/2010 11:36am
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Replies:4, Views: 1226

Hi, My wife & I are going to be in the West Palm Beach area for the next 3 months. We are not retired snowbirds but rather my wife is a RN who will be taking care of the influx of medical needs due to the population explosion in the winter. We are bringing our kayaks which are 15 1/2' NC kayaks. In the next 3 months we will probably only have about 6 week ends(which ours are in the middle of the week) to go kayaking due to other committments, so we would like to make the best of our time.

We are not interested in going out in the ocean or busy waters of the intercoastal water ways. We can do this in NC. I read a report on the Loxahatchee River and was wondering if our kayaks would be suitable for this river? Are the everglades accessible from this area without driving to south Miami or the West coast? If so any good areas for day trips? We are planning a trip to the Keys for tent camping , kayaking & sight seeing. John Pennecamp, or Long Key, which is better for noncrowed camping & a couple of good days on the water?

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 Reply #1   
RE: Where To Kayak In West Palm Beach?
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Post By: Unknown on 1/22/2010 5:21pm

I don't know, but I'd think John Pennekamp, being closer to Miami, would be more crowded than Long Key, or a bit furhter down, Curry Hammock State Park. Even though you are going mid week, they are are popular in the winter you may need to make reservations now. I've never been to John P., but have yaked both Long Key and Curry Hammock. Reports on all 3 are on the SE FL section of this site.

I guess a 15 NC is a 15 foot kayak paddled by a tarheel? My one visit to Joathann Dickinson State Park and the Loxatacheee was in a 13 foot yak. An excerpt from my July, 2005, paddle :
After two hours I came to the only structure on the River
since the Park canoe dock, Trapper Nelsons. For 32
years, from 1936 to 1968. Mr. Nelson lived on the river, in
a semi-state of nature. He milked a "Wild Man of the
Loxahatchee" image for day tripping Palm Beach
socialites. I suspect authors like Carl
Hiassen got inspiration for some of their South Florida
characters from Trapper Nelson. I paddled past,
intending to stop and walk around the site on my return.
Next stop was one of two low wooden dams on the river. I
had read that depending on water levels, the one I was
approaching was anywhere from a 1 to 3 foot drop, depending
on the water level. There is a deck on the bank to
ease the portage. Adventourous downstream paddlers
will shoot the dams for a rare FLorida whitewater
experience. I looked forward to seeing it. Well,
the water was so high, the dam was completely
underwater. I could not even see it through the tannin
stained river. I could see the deck, poles out of the
water, the deck a foot below the surface.
Upstream of the damsite, the Lox narrowed. Obstacles
increased. I had to lie down in the yak twice to get
under low branches, force my way through tangles of vines
and waterplants. A few blockages I avoided by going into the
cypress and fern swamp, the water level high enough to alow
passage. Finally, I arrived at a log blocking the
river. If I had come upon it earlier, I would have
gotten out, and pulled the yak over. But, I had been
out almost three hours, it was time to return. I had
hoped to paddle as far as the Turnpike and I-95, whose
distant hum of traffic was the only reminder of
civilization, but wanted some time to explore Trapper
Nelsons and some of the Park. Turning around, I
noticed stakes. A path past the obstacle? I followed them,
into the hardwood swamp, disturbing an ant colony who enterd
my yak in great numbers, eventually getting stuck. (me, not
the ants) A sign on a post read "Survey Marker" So it
was not a canoe trail. I extricated myself, and headed back.
Another strenous journey down the narrow channel. At on
point,in the swamp, it tok a while to find the current.
After several wrong turns, I forced my way through the ferns
and
got on course.

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 Reply #2   
RE: Where To Kayak In West Palm Beach?icon
Post By: paddlesolo on 1/23/2010 4:14am

At this time of year I think both parks would be full. I have camped several times at John Pennecamp State Park and loved it. The deciding factor will be to go on line to www. ReserveAmerica.com and see where you can get a site. During the week will be better than week-ends, but even then all the state park camp-grounds in the Keysmay fill up through the week. Recall the reason you are coming south is because everyone else is coming south. Making reservations now would be a good idea.

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 Reply #3   
RE: Where To Kayak In West Palm Beach?
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Post By: dsbike on 1/23/2010 11:27am

YakDave, nice reply and report on the Loxahatchee River. We will check it out and paddle as far as we can.

Yes we are from the Tar Heel State, but believe it or not the NC Kayaks are made in Washington State.

Paddlesolo, thanks for the headsup on making reservations. We will do so as soon as we can decide when we will be going that way. Worse comes to worse we can stay at a condo at the timeshare we own for a reduced price in Key Largo.

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 Reply #4   
RE: Where To Kayak In West Palm Beach?
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Post By: qajaqbubba on 1/23/2010 4:11pm

dsbike, My son and I camped and paddled at Long Key State Park about 5 yrs. ago about this time of year .We were fortunate to be able to get camping spots on the water with little notice. The only problem is that Hy. 1 is within 50 yds of the ocean strip that the park is on so all night long you hear cars, trucks and motorcycles. But the paddling is fairly protected along that side of the key and the water is shallow for some ways. There is also a water trail through the mangroves that my son found interesting and fun. But better yet is Bahia Honda State Park 30 miles or so down Hy. 1. It is my favorite place in Florida with pristine water, a good swimming beach which is hard to find in the Keys and wonderful paddling. It is a good 6 miles around the island which is gorgeous. A section of Flager"s railroad which was destroyed in the big hurricane back in the 30's goes out a hundred yds or more where you can catch some beautiful pictures. Camping spots ( some right on the ocean) are harder to come by here but you might get lucky and you can always drive down from Long Key. The bicycling from here to Marathon is fantastic with lots of island hoping all the way down to Marathon and the seven mile bridge. Another option is to stay at one of the mom and pop motels down in Marathon which are quite reasonable. Then you have the option of paddling and swimming at Sombrero Beach on the far end of Marathon. It is also one of the better beaches in the Keys. I also am a snow bird come late February for 6 weeks at Indian Pass near Apalachicola up on the east end of the panhandle. It isn't as warm nor is the swimming as good but the paddling is more diversified among the many barrier islands and rivers. Plus the rentals are cheap because it is off season. One of my goals is to find a good place to swim this year. Anybody know of a good swimming hole? I'm thinking of swimming in the Apalachicola river north of town and at St Joe Beach on calmer days. Bob

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