Photo: Thomas Wheatley/Axios
- Plus, the paddle-up river camps along the way are textbook examples of wise investment in outdoor recreation that will impress newbies and experts alike.
Catch up quick: The spring-fed, black water river starts at the Okefenokee Swamp in south Georgia and snakes roughly 266 miles to the Gulf of Mexico.
- The shores are dotted with river shacks and cabins, the occasional million-dollar home, and public and private river camps where you can hop out and spend the day or the night.
The mood: Super mellow. I keep telling myself the Suwannee is the J.J. Cale of rivers.
Details: The past two visits we’ve put in at Dowling Park and taken out at or around Troy Springs State Park.
- Every day we’d paddle for roughly 10 miles to public campsites built just for people using canoes or kayaks.
- They’re packed with amenities like screened-in camping platforms with ceiling fans, hammock hooks and power and water spigots. Camp bathrooms are clean and have warm showers.
Of note: The camping platforms are available on a first-come basis, according to Florida State Parks. However, we and other paddlers could reserve them on the website for about the price of a very complicated latte at Starbucks.
- The river grows wider after Troy Spring State Park, meaning you’ll see more jet skis and bigger and faster boats — some of which do not care if you’re paddling in a canoe sensitive to wakes and waves.
How to go: Bring your own gear or call an expert. Florida State Parks maintains a list of several outfitters that service paddlers along the river.