This sport requires an ability to deal with dangerous and exciting situations. And since he paddled nearly every river in Florida, there is no one better to ask for his Top 5 Florida River Paddles, than Dr. Ron Eaglin.
- Econlockhatchee River
I may be partial to this because it is my local river—but the combination of rustic woods and different types of scenery make it my favorite. For the best scenery, put in at Snow Hill Bridge and take out at SR 46 and paddle through Puzzle Lake. An easier paddle is from SR 419 to Snow Hill, still a great paddle.
- Suwannee River
Beautiful limestone cliffs and crazy jumping sturgeon make this a real favorite. The scenery is wonderful, and the river has a strong current making downstream paddling a breeze. Put in at White Springs and take out at Suwannee River State Park for a long scenic ride and at least one rapid.
- Mosquito Lagoon
Not technically a river, this is still a great paddle. The most challenging section is putting in at Haulover Canal and taking out at Turtle Mound—typically a 10-hour paddle with an open-water crossing. You will see stingrays, manatees and dolphins. For true adventure, do this at night and you will enjoy a phosphorescent show as the water glows with each paddle stroke.
- Loxahatchee River
This is a favorite of the South Florida crowd and for good reason. The wildlife is great and the river always offers some surprises and great mangrove swamps.
- St. Johns River South
This paddle is not for the faint of heart and also requires solid navigation skills, but for sheer views, pure wilderness, and wildlife it cannot be beat. Put in at SR 50 and take out at SR 46. This is normally a two-day trip—but can be done in one day and is worth the effort.