In search of MORE Manatees in Florida’s Spring Fed Rivers!! - Fri, Feb 1 2019

REGISTRATION & PAYMENT REQUIRED: Once you've reviewed the event details, and decided you'd like to join us, you MUST sign up at the bottom of this page. This is a paid event with payment managed by the trip leader(s) and NOT the AOC. Please read the event description carefully for payment details and instructions.

In search of MORE Manatees in Florida’s Spring Fed Rivers!!

The Basics:
Event Type:Water
Event Location: Ocala FL   Water: In search of MORE Manatees in Florida’s Spring Fed Rivers!!  National Weather Service Forecast
Date(s) & Time:Fri, Feb 1 2019  4:00 pm >> Mon, Feb 4 2019 9:00 pm
Registration Opens: Sun, Nov 25 2018 7:00 pm
Registration Cut Off: Sun, Dec 2 2018 7:00 pm
Event Duration:3 Days 5 Hours
Difficulty Rating:D3: Moderate
Distance:20 Miles
Trip Leader(s):
Lisa Maldonado
Email Trip Leader(s)
You must be logged in to get the Trip Leader contact information.
Member Cost:$150.00/Person (See Detailed Cost Info Below)

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:10
Minimum Group Size:10
Number Registered So Far: 16 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: No


Because of the overwhelming interest in the early January trip there is being scheduled a second weekend of paddling spring-fed rivers in Florida’s Beautiful Ocala Area and nearby. We hope to encounter some manatees along the way, but without a doubt will see lots of wildlife and gorgeous scenery.

2 scheduled Spring-Fed River Runs to Paddle:  Juniper River and Crystal River.  Swimming and/or snorkeling in Weeki Wachee and Rainbow Rivers.  Possible paddling at Rainbow River.  Area hiking trails to explore.  3 Nights accomodation in an Air BNB rental. Meals will be coordinated closer to the event.

You can bring your own boat or rent a boat for additional sum (see below under costs include). No dogs allowed, since we are renting a house. The house may have some kayaks available for use, but we will only do so on the Rainbow River where we are staying. Otherwise, we will be taking our boats with us to each paddle.

The House:

Payment is due within 7 days of sign up or you will be moved to the waitlist due to paying for the rental in advance.

We're renting an Air BNB house that sits on a cove of the Rainbow River, one of the places we intend to explore. This is a gorgeous location and the house has beds for everyone. It also has full kitchen facilities and a nice outdoor space, so we can cook group meals or people can bring their own food if they have special dietary requirements.

There is plenty of sleeping space. Two beds will require sharing and the rest are singles, so please be prepared to be flexible if you join us. We will do our best to accomodate couples/friends in the shared beds but cannot make guarantees. 


Saturday Paddle 1: We will begin with an early paddle down Juniper Creek. It is approximately one hour from where we are staying, so we will be getting up early to head over there.  A shuttle will be set, then we launch from the park. 

This is an approximately 3.5 to 4 hour, 7 mile paddle downstream. It is a lush, subtropical environment that is among the most beautiful that I have ever paddled. Clear water, sandy bottoms, lush foliage. Occasionally deer and possibly a gator or two, as well as many birds can be seen. 

Saturday, Paddle 2: We will go paddling and/or swimming (depending on how many "house kayaks are available/needed) on the Rainbow River, which is in our backyard. This is a crystal clear, deep blue river with a mild current, making it ideal for exploring both upriver and down. We will take our time and play for as long as we feel like it before returning to the house to clean up and prepare for dinner. 

Sunday morning swimming and/or snorkeling: Drive about an hour to Weeki Wachee River where we are hoping to swim with manatees, among other wildlife.  Much of the river is underneath the shade of cypress and oak trees, and of course, Florida’s distinctive palms. Along the way, we may end up swimming alongside the gentle and endangered, giants, West Indian manatees. We may also see turtles, otters, storks and pelicans, and underwater marine life in water that is clear and blue.

Sunday afternoon, Paddle :  We will drive approx. 35 minutes to Crystal River. This is another popular wintering spot for manatees, so we hope to encounter a few. Despite its name this river is not as clear as Weeki Wachee  or Rainbow River. However, it is a beautiful river for exploring and we will plan on spending approx. 2-3 hours paddling out and back to the boat launch in the afternoon. 

Monday morning: We can enjoy some more time on Rainbow River or go for a morning hike among the cypress, live oaks and palms. 

If anyone is too tired, or needs to get back to Atlanta earlier, they can skip this portion of the event.


We will  paddle rain or shine. Paddling may be postponed in the event of lightning. If a paddle is cancelled one day due to weather, we'll make it up before or after a paddle on another day or find alternate activities in place of the paddle. We reserve the right to switch rivers/days due to water levels, as needed, but will always be sure to paddle on a spring-fed river (there are many: Silver Springs, Santa Fe, Itchetucknee, Withlacoohee, etc.). The only river that may need to be switched out due to water level would be Juniper Spring, as it is very shallow.

We encourage attendees to carpool if possible, given probably limited parking at the rental house. Please feel free to reach out to one another and keep us posted on your plans.

Thank you Aaron Rae and Allston Kendall for allowing us to copy your event.

Required Items to Bring:


Kayak or Canoe, Paddle, PFD, Whistle (required locally) Re-usable water bottle (see below for more details)

$30 to $40 cash in small bills to share launch/park fees/incidentals


Non-Disposable containers for PADDLING food and drink - (Dishwasher safe containers)   

NOTE: Many Florida rivers have strict rules about what you can take with you on a paddle. Disposables - plastic bags, plastic water bottles, any type of disposable packaging, etc. are not allowed. Think dishwasher safe only.

They are serious about this and if on a monitored waterway, you will not be allowed on the waterway with such items. Pack everything in re-usable containers such as Tupperware or Rubbermaid containers, bladders, etc. Also do not bring disposable utensils of any type or canned foods. 




Recommended Items to Bring:
Use our Event Checklists to make sure you have everything you need.

Food/Beverages to Share

Food (for those with special dietary requirements)

Swim suit



Bug Spray

Camel Back or Re-usable water bottle and plenty of water

Hiking shoes


Snorkel and mask

Chair (for sitting around in the evening outside)

Musical instruments, games, etc. for relaxing in the evening

Adult beverages (optional and discrete)

How to Get There:
Event Directions:

We encourage attendees to carpool if possible, given probably limited parking at the rental house. Please feel free to reach out to one another and keep us posted on your plans,.It is approximately a 6 1/2 drive to Ocala.


The Trip Leader(s) for this event has (have) elected either to personally collect the funds that event participants are required to pay, or to require participants to pay funds directly to a third party. No funds will be paid to the Atlanta Outdoor Club for this event. Therefore, by registering for this event, you acknowledge and agree to the following: (1) the monies paid by registrants will not be monitored, managed, or otherwise accounted for by the Atlanta Outdoor Club; (2) that the Atlanta Outdoor Club bears no financial responsibility for this event; and (3) you waive any and all claims against the Atlanta Outdoor Club, and hold the Atlanta Outdoor Club harmless for the loss of any monies you paid for this event.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, any paying registrant may request directly from the Trip Leader, prior to the event, a breakdown of funds collected, estimated expenses, and deposits made in anticipation of the event. Following the event, the Trip Leader must complete his or her financial accounting for the event, with supporting documentation, within 30 days of the completion of the event, and a paid registrant may request a breakdown of funds collected, money spent and supporting documentation after that time. If you are unable to obtain requested documentation, please contact the Director of Paid Events.

* We encourage all members to follow our Etiquette Guidelines while participating in AOC events.

Member Cost:$150.00/Person
Cost Includes:

3 nights accomodation in a rental house. Payment info will sent to indviduals after signup. $5 donation to the AOC. 

If you don't bring your own kayak/canoe:  Additional Cost for renting kayak/canoe for both (two) scheduled paddles must be sent along with the $150 .  Single person $80 kayak; tandem (two person) $100.  Price includes boat, whistle, life preserver, shuddle back to car.   

Make a Payment:Although there is a cost for this event, you do not pay through the AOC. Please review the event details carefully for information about how/where to make your payment.

Cancellation/Partial Attendance:   Please review the AOC cancellation policy.

Payment is due within 7 days of sign up or you will be moved to the waitlist.

If you cancel after the payment cutoff date of December 1 there will be NO REFUNDS unless someone replaces you and pays in full, then you will receive a full refund less a $5 administrative fee.