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It was as if we stepped back in time under the mangrove trails.

That’s right, the family has taken up kayaking. Oh, we don’t do class 5 rapids or dive off frozen cliffs only to plunge into frigid water. We throw a lunch and some extra clothes into a bag, tie the yaks on the roof of the Trailblazer and head out on our next adventure.

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Crabs adorned the mangroves but gave us no trouble!

Our goal? Relaxing, sight-seeing, nature watching, exercise. Our previous experience – NONE!! Well, we have all canoed at some point – but it’s true – you don’t need to be super skilled to get onto a kayak and go where you usually can’t. You need some basic skills and a sense of adventure.

We headed to Wheedon Island’s mangrove trails that were carved in 1927 by the Boy Scouts. There are miles of the shallow, shaded tunnels through the mangroves. You can see birds, crabs, fish, and even get out and explore. We advise looking at weather reports in advance and making quite sure you know to follow the marked trail. Skill level – beginner!

Caladesi Island State Park – put in at the kayak rental place prior to the bridge into Honeymoon Island. Don’t rent there unless you have to – it’s quite expensive. You can buy one used fairly reasonably.

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Caladesi was amazing – ask Mel and Alli

We paddled over the channel (choppy but cool) and beached on the island. We set up our picnic area and got in the yaks to go to the marina and park. We enjoyed a nice beach trip, a great glass of sangria, and some good time with the park rangers. Dolphins swam right by us while we docked at the nice facilities.

Then it was into the mangroves – we enjoyed a short trip although there are miles to explore and even a historic homestead! We saved that for next time. Back to the beach for shelling – amazing and the sunset was perfection! Skill level – slightly above beginner – make sure you have a map and/or compass….this is a gorgeous trip to see some real Florida wild places.

If you have any questions about where to go, check out http://www.floridastateparks.org/ To find the parks that can accommodate kayaking. Or, check online for the coolest adventure spot near you. There are even clubs that can help you plan a special trip.

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The shelling was amazing….

If you are feeling really adventurous, the Chicks will be hosting a special Weekend on the Water in March! More on that  soon. Space will be limited so you won’t want to miss making your reservation! If you like – you can join us at SpeakUp Wekiva February 16th at http://speakupwekiva.com/ Wekiva Springs State Park.

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