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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.

Fifth Annual: In search of Manatees in Florida’s Spring Fed Rivers!!

The Basics:
Event Type:Water
Event Location: Ocala FL   Water: Fifth Annual: In search of Manatees in Florida’s Spring Fed Rivers!!  National Weather Service Forecast
Date(s) & Time:Fri, Jan 6 2023  4:33 pm >> Mon, Jan 9 2023 4:33 pm
Registration Opens: Sat, Jul 16 2022 7:33 pm
Registration Cut Off: Fri, Dec 16 2022 4:33 pm
Event Duration:3 Days
Difficulty Rating:D3: Moderate
Distance:20 Miles
Trip Leader(s):
Email Trip Leader(s)
You must be logged in to get the Trip Leader contact information.
Member Cost:$300.00/Person (See Detailed Cost Info Below)

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:12
Minimum Group Size:12
Number Registered So Far: 11 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: No


This will be a very full weekend paddling at least three 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.

Please note:  this is not a beginner paddling event. You must have prior experience paddlng and navigating/steering kayaks on rivers in order to participate. At least one of the paddles we'll be doing is very technical, requiring the ability to maneuver a kayak around objects in a very narrow channel with a relatively quick current for approx. 7 miles. If you're not sure about your level of experience and whether it is appropriate for this event, please contact the trip leaders before signing up.

We'll be paddling 3-4 Spring-Fed Rivers: examples are Juniper Creek, Weeki Watchee, and Silver Springs, but we reserve the right to swap out rivers if needed.  Also included is 3 Nights accomodation in an Air BNB rental near Ocala. Meals will be coordinated closer to the event.

This is a "Bring Your Own Boat" (BYOB) event, meaning:

  • You must have, or borrow, a boat to participate. It cannot be an inflatable boat, due to restrictions at at least one of the rivers/parks.
  • The trip leaders will not supply, or transport, boats for attendees. You are responsible for doing both. 
  • We also do not allow local rental of boats due to the challenges this will present for the group as a whole in terms of timing, coordination of shuttles, etc.
  • If you cannot bring your own boat, then please do not sign up. We will be encouraging carpooling, but we cannot guarantee one will be available.

No dogs allowed, since we are renting a house with pet restrictions. 

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.

The House:

We're renting an Air BNB house. 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 (approx. 6-7 bedrooms), but please be prepared to be flexible if you join us. We will do our best to accomodate couples/friends in shared beds/bedrooms but cannot make guarantees. You may also have to share space with members of the opposite sex, though not beds. 


Saturday: We will begin with a paddle down Juniper Creek. We will be getting up early to head over there, especially since all boats must launch prior to 11:30 am.  The Juniper Springs run is a nationally recognized attraction. The run takes between three and five hours to complete, from starting point near the Juniper Springs pool to an exit point off State Road 19 on the way to Lake George.  ReserveAmerica has named Juniper one of the top 25 canoe runs in the U.S.  A shuttle will be set, then we launch from the park. We are including the $11 launch/day pass fees in the trip costs. 

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 usually a gator or two, as well as many birds can be seen. 

Sunday: We will be heading southwest, to  Weeki Watchee Springs (or another nearby river). We'll have to reserve our boat launch ahead of time and it is a little over an hour away from where we'll be staying. This is a 5.5 mile run from the first magnitude main spring in the State Park, down to Rogers Park. Most of the paddle passes through  lush floodplain forests as it is fed by hundreds of smaller springs. Manatees do come up into the river during the winter, and we saw some the last time we paddled here. 

Monday: We will go paddling on the  Silver Spring river. This is a crystal clear, deep blue river with a mild current, making it ideal for exploring. It is fed by Silver Springs, the the largest artesian spring in the world. It's also where we've seen the most manatees, alligators, monkeys, and other wildlife, in past years. We will start at the springs and paddle downriver to the take out, about five miles total. We will then head back to Atlanta. If anyone is too tired, or needs to get back to Atlanta earlier, they can skip this paddle, but we cannot guarantee how long it will take if you choose to do it.

Other Activities:

In addition to the paddles, we will try to explore some local springs near our house (time and weather permitting), and possibly go swimming in one or two of them, such as Alexander Springs or Salt Springs.  On Sunday we may also make a visit to Homossassa Springs Wildlife Park, time permitting.


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 either try to 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 weather and other factors, as needed, but will always be sure to paddle on a spring-fed river (there are many others as well: Rainbow, Santa Fe, Itchetucknee, Withlacoochee, etc.). 

Assuming that COVID isn't a factor, 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.

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


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 the area.


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:$300.00/Person
Cost Includes:

3 nights accomodation in a rental house. Breakfast and Lunch food, purchased from local grocery store. Payment info will sent to indviduals after signup. $10 donation to the AOC. 

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 September 5th there will be NO REFUNDS unless someone replaces you and pays in full, then you will receive a full refund less a $10 administrative fee.