Camping on the Ocklawaha River in Florida

The Ocklawaha River is one of the few rivers in the United States that flows south to north and is one of the most beautiful waterways in Florida. It is the largest tributary of the St. Johns River. We met up with a group of Florida environmental advocates for a weekend camping trip together to enjoy the outdoors and talk about ways to accomplish goals in protecting our ecosystem, wildlife, and health. 

We went camping on a weekend it fell to 30 degrees in Florida, which was challenging, but it quickly warmed up during the day. One morning we woke up before sunrise to load our kayaks into a van to be transported about eight miles through scenic backwoods and dropped off where our trip would begin. We unloaded the kayaks and put them in the water, where we began our journey into the scenic sunrise and cooling moist water vapor that condensed into a fog. Bundled in a beanie and pullover hoodie, we took every opportunity to linger in sun rays that poked through the trees for some warmth. 

As we went downstream, traveling with a smooth current, we saw various wildlife along the river banks, including turtles and alligators. At one point, we drifted through an area where there were many species of birds like swallow-tailed kits, Cooper's Hawks, and wild turkey. We also saw rabbits and white-tailed deer. We found a private part of the river bank and took time to relax as chirping from birds echoed and water trickled. 

This trip can be made in three hours, but we spent the entire day on the river. Once we arrived back at the campsite, we started a fire, cooked dinner, and spent the night gazing at stars and into deep conversation, taking an escape from our regular routines to enjoy exploration and what we all love most, nature.

A map of the river we kayaked. Visit Ocklawaha Canoe Outpost & Resort to book your river trip:

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