Suwannee Adventures

The Suwannee River has left a many boaters stranded and in need of help and to be located. Leave this travel plan on the dash of your vehicle, also print out the section of the river from your map and draw in you travel path.

Click on plan to download

A longer water line will lend itself to greater speed. A wider hull will give you more resistance in the water and slow you down. A long narrow kayak (say 18 feet long and 21" wide), will glide through the water like a knife, and be extremely fast. At the same time, there are some short & wide kayaks that will feel like you're paddling a bathtub. They require a lot more work to get from point A to point B. However, a wider boat will give you a greater initial stability, so you may feel more confident.

Yes, a kayak is much faster but less stable! A canoe is great for a camping trip because you can take many pounds with you and is much more stable.
A kayak takes more out of you on a long trip because you have to work your stomach to keep upright on every stroke. I would go for the canoe with two people. Great for a picnic too. Not as fast but more fun. 

     How Far Can You Paddle in A Day?
A question we are asked frequently "How far can we paddle in a day?"  Unfortunately this question is not an easy one to answer.  There are many variables that factor into how far and how fast one can travel by canoe during a day.  Among these factors are type of canoe, experience of paddlers, and amount of gear/weight, how the canoe is loaded, weather conditions, wind, waves and type of water you’re paddling. 

     The average paddlers travel about three miles per hour when the river is low. Don’t forget that the Suwannee, Ichetucknee and Santa Fe Rivers are always moving. Fast when the water level is high and slow when water levels are low.  This 3 mph isn’t paddling at a race pace but it is a normal leisurely pace for the Suwannee.  When you’re on a canoe camping trip you may find yourself not paddling continuously because you want to take a swim break, cast a line or stop to take pictures of wildlife.  All of these things take time as does setting up and breaking down camp.  I and a friend made 27 miles one day, rested 3 days.  Plan 10 miles a day on the Suwannee River and have time to enjoy the ride. Takes about 5 hours and you will love it.

If you don’t want to be setting up or breaking down camp in the dark then you’ll need to keep in mind how many hours of daylight you have.  In the middle of the summer when there are 16 hours of daylight in the canoe country wilderness a person can cover quite a few miles in a day.  But in the early spring or fall the same canoe route may take more days.  You’ll need to know how many hours and days of travel you want to do in order to determine how far you want to go.

Canoeing 101

                           The Paddle Size  Matters    

Whitewater paddlers tend to use a shorter paddle, one that fits in with their lower seating position and smaller boats.

A paddle shaft that is too long creates too long a lever, excessively loading the muscles that are providing the force.   The length of the paddle should be chosen carefully. To long can cause injuries and make it impossible for the paddler to perform the correct techniques to control the vessel.


The paddle has one blade, with a T or other grip at the other end. The most accurate means for determining the correct length is to sit or kneel as appropriate in the boat: with the top arm horizontal the blade should just be immersed. The top hand goes on the T grip, and the hands should be about elbow width apart. 

           Choosing Your Canoe or Kayak 
All but one of the canoes I have had were used. You can pick up some real good used canoes real reasonable. I do affiliate with Amazon and would be glad for you to take a look there. Just click on one of the canoes to the right and look through all the canoes they have.  You pay no more, I just make a little to help with the web site. Thank you if you do.

If you need to try one out like the one you’re looking at, go rent one and try it. Check with Outfitters, they carry a wide variety of canoes and kayaks that you can try out. They typically offer rentals as well, and many do sell used boats too. Some will allow you to rent boats, and use part of the rental fees as credit towards a purchase. 

In a typical recreational canoe, you'll be

seated on a bench style or tractor

style seat, and your legs will be bent,

much like sitting in a chair. In a kayak,

you will be seated on a seat that is on

the floor of the boat. Your legs will be

out in front of you, with a slight bend

in them so that you can put your feet

on foot pegs to provide bracing for


There are a good number of kayak

styles out there, and to keep it

simple, there are sea kayaks, recreational

kayaks, whitewater kayaks, and sit on

top kayaks. (There are more variations,

but we'll start with just these.

Recreational kayaks and sit on top kayaks are VERY stable. In fact, many of them feel much more stable than canoes, simply because you are sitting closer to the water. A higher center of gravity will cause greater instability. So, relatively speaking, you may feel less steady in some canoes than you would in a sit on top or recreational kayak. I have to use a sit on top kayak because I like to move my legs around.

First...there is no such thing as a, good, cheap canoe. Inexpensive canoes are made of chopped fiber and resin. They may be quite flexible. Some are made with a thin glass fiber/resin interior and exterior with a foam core. The trim will be light plastic or thin metal. Canoes are paddled with a single bladed paddle. They are usually stable.
The stability issue being stated; NOT all kayaks are going to be faster than a canoe. The speed of a either style of boat depends the principals of hull shape and length.

   Don't Forget to Leave a Travel Plan



​                       ​Canoeing Tips

  • Suwannee River  Management offers a 24-hour automated phone line voice recording of current river levels. To reach the recording, call: (386) 362-6626  (800) 604-2272 (FL only).
  • You DO NOT want to be on the river between Branford and the Santa Fe River on a week end.  The powerboats and jet skis in that area on a weekend are unbelievable.  

Let's Go Canoeing

Whether you seek a few hours on the river or an overnight trip, we want to help your canoe trip be a safe and enjoyable trip. There is a lot of information, tips, check list and how to paddle on these pages to make sure you take home everything you took. 

                                       “The way of a canoe is the way of the wilderness,

                                    and of a freedom almost forgotten. ” – Sigurd Olson​

      Canoes are considered one of the best human-powered vehicles. They allow you to reach remote areas of wilderness, and to travel without disturbing or destroying the wildlife.  You will sneak up on some wildlife in a canoe, so be ready.

       A canoe lets one take enough gear for an extended trip with added luxuries if desired. Learning to paddle a canoe takes some practice, but once you get it, you'll never forget!