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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.

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

The Basics:
Event Type:Water
Event Location: Ocala FL   Water: Sixth Annual: In search of Manatees in Florida’s Spring Fed Rivers!!  National Weather Service Forecast
Date(s) & Time:Fri, Jan 12 2024  5:32 pm >> Mon, Jan 15 2024 5:32 pm
Registration Opens: Wed, May 17 2023 7:45 pm
Registration Cut Off: Thu, Dec 21 2023 7:45 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:$325.00/Person (See Detailed Cost Info Below)

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:12
Minimum Group Size:4
Number Registered So Far: 8 / 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.

3-4 Spring-Fed River Runs to Paddle: Juniper Creek, Weeki Wachee or another nearby river, and Silver Springs.  3 Nights accomodation in an Air BNB rental on the Weeki Wachee River. Meals will be coordinated closer to the event, but we will plan to pick up groceries for breakfasts and packed lunches (bread, meat, cheese, chips, etc.).

This is a BYOB event, so you must have, or borrow, a boat to participate, and be able to transport it to Florida. We do not allow people to rent boats locally since each river would have to be done separately (assuming rentals were even available on each) and it would impact our ability to coordinate our carpool and shuttle. Please note: no inflatable boats are allowed (the parks ban their use). 

Important: this is not a beginner's kayaking event. You need to have prior paddling experience on rivers, and know how to steer your boat in tight quarters. If you have any questions, please reach out to the Trip Leaders.

No dogs allowed, since we are renting a house. 

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 and it will have beds for everyone. It will also have 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 will be plenty of sleeping space (approx. 4-7 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 $20 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 upriver from our house to paddle back down the Weeki Wachee. We'll probably have to reserve our boat launch ahead of time. If we do Weeki Wachee, it is a 5.5 mile run from the first magnitude main spring in the State Park, down to Rogers Park, however we may opt to take out at our rental house instead since it's on the river. 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 both of the other times 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.

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 afternoon, we may also visit Homossassa Springs State Wildlife Park. It's a pretty park, located around the main spring, with a wide variety of rescued wildlife, and tons of local birds. 


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, Withlacoohee, etc.). 

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 (cannot be inflatable), 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, for ALL food and drink - (Dishwasher safe containers)   


NOTE: Most Florida rivers have strict rules about what you can take with you on a paddle. No alchohol on the river. Absolutely no 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. 


If you do manage to sneak a disposable item onto the river, and are caught, there are hefty fines that will be imposed. 



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

Food/Beverages to Share (if you'd like)

Food (for those with special dietary requirements)

Swim suit



Bug Spray

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

Hiking shoes


Games to play in the evening 

Chair (for sitting around in the evening outside)

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

Adult beverages (optional and only at the house - not while paddling)

How to Get There:
Event Directions:

We encourage attendees to carpool if possible, given limited parking. 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:$325.00/Person
Cost Includes:
  • 3 nights accomodation in a rental house.
  • Breakfast and Lunch food (sandwiches, chips, etc.), purchased from local grocery store.
  • $10 donation to the AOC. 
  • $15 Launch/Day Pass Fee for Juniper Springs

Payment info will sent to indviduals after signup. 

Cost does NOT include:

  • Dinners (we will likely go out to eat one or two evenings locally)
  • Other meals on the way there and back 
  • Launch/entrance fees for Weeki Watchee (or other river) and Silver Springs
  • Parking fees (if any for shuttles)


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 August 31st, 2023 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. This is because we will have paid in full for the AirBNB by this time, and it will increase costs for the rest of the participants if you cannot be replaced.