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Natural Florida – Paradise Found

Explore The Blackwater River State Forest, in Florida's Panhandle northeast of Pensacola, which contain some of the most pristine rivers in Florida

Are you ready to have our Florida Master Naturalist guide lead us through the stillness, silence, and solitude of some of Florida’s most beautiful rivers and forests?

JOIN US as we will paddle the pristine rivers that make up the Blackwater River State Forest. When combined with its neighbors the Conecuh National Forest and Eglin Air Force Base Preserve, you have the world’s largest long leaf pine forest. This ancient forest is home to many rare species, including the Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Pitcher Plants, and Gopher Tortoises, just to name a few.

Each day we will paddle a different creek or river section and enjoy a riverside picnic lunch. We will then return to our incredible private lodge for a sunset happy hour, an amazing dinner, and some free time for exploring in the evening.

Dates: April 14-20, 2018 – Seven Days, Six Nights

Trip begins: Noon pick-up at Pensacola International Airport (for those flying in) or by driving to the Old Schoolhouse Inn, 8974 Tomahawk Landing Road in Milton, Florida, 32570.

Accommodations: Your hotel reservations will be arranged comfortably for you.

Check here for more information on the Old Schoolhouse Inn (six nights)

What’s Included: Just about everything. All meals, ground transportation, pick up and drop off at Pensacola Airport, van support, kayaks, kayaking gear, and two local guides from Adventures in Florida.

Price: $1,650 per person, for double occupancy ($450 deposit)
$1,900 for single occupancy ($450 deposit)

Important! Be sure to download and return the mandatory Registration Forms

You will not be allowed on the trip without signing and returning these.

Gear up using the Kayak/Touring/Lodge Gear List 



This is an exclusive offering to the League of Women Voters and space is limited to 14 participants.
Reservations can not be cancelled, but they may be transferred to a fellow League member.

Questions? Email  Julia Sharp, LWVFL Event and Travel Coordinator,  or call 703-489- 8079

You can also email your trip hosts, Marty and Maura Sullivan or call them at 407-247-4277. They’re going, too!

Incredible Itinerary:

Day 1 — We will pick up everyone flying in at the Pensacola International Airport at noon. We have a favorite lunch spot in town that’s on our way to the lodge. After lunch it is a 30-minute shuttle to our lodge. Once everyone settles in we will have a little dry land paddle instruction, introductions, tour of our lodge, happy hour, and dinner.  Afterwards we will encourage everyone to explore the grounds and hopefully end up at the river for an evening swim with the chance of a possible moonrise.

Day 2 — The Blackwater River has exceptionally clear and pure water, this added to its white sand bottom make it one of the most popular rivers canoed in Florida — so much so that the Florida legislators proclaimed the nearby town of Milton as the “Canoe Capital of Florida.” We will take our time mostly floating this amazing treasure, stopping for the occasional swim, snack, or water fight. If we can get an early start we might get lucky and spot a Florida bear, bobcat, beaver, or river otter. (11 paddling miles)

Day 3 — We travel deep into the wilds of the Blackwater forest. For most people this is the most aesthetically pleasing landscape on the river. Enormous cedar trees line the bank and shade our course, multi colored bluffs twist to hug the curves of the lazy water, and wildlife peeks its heads out to investigate our presence. (11.5 paddling miles)

Day 4 — Early morning start today because we have lots of awesome paddling spots to visit. Our first paddle will be on the seldom visited and deeply remote Juniper Creek. Our kayaks will glide over clear water with a tinge of red. When the sun finds its way through the canopy it will reflect on the almost glowing white sand river bottom. As we float downstream the forest will close in on us almost forming a green tunnel. At the take out we will have a riverside picnic before driving the short distance to a fast moving section of the Blackwater River. Juniper Creek  (6 miles) Blackwater River (8.5 paddling miles)

Day 5 — The Coldwater Creek begins as a spring very near the Alabama-Florida border at an elevation of nearly 300’ above sea level (this is a mountain to Floridians). It then winds it’s sparkling clear waters towards the Gulf of Mexico flowing through the Blackwater Forest. Paddlers enjoy the swiftness of the current and the beautiful sugar sand beaches. The remoteness of the river adds to the quietness, stillness, and to the amount of visible wildlife. The creek maintains a 76-78 degree temperature year round. (11 paddling miles)

Day 6 — Beach day! I love the rivers that make up the panhandle, however, what most people love about this area is the enormous white sand beaches and clear gulf waters. We will pack up everything we need in the morning and head out to Gulf Islands National Seashore. Lots of history, scenery, and sunshine. Dinner will be at a local seafood restaurant.

Day 7 — For those looking for a bit of excitement our lodge offers a thrilling zip line course over the tree tops and across the river. For everyone else there is leisurely morning strolls through the forest, may be a swim, or just a quiet paddle before packing up and heading to the Pensacola airport. Drop off is at 1pm. Lunch will be our last meal together.


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