Miranda’s Take On Canoeing the Suwannee River

Way down upon the Swanee River, Far, far away. That’s where my heart is yearning ever, Home where the old folks stay.

This past week my brother Harrison and his not-girlfriend (who shall be referred to as J) came to visit for Christmas. The day after Christmas we went canoeing on the Suwannee River.


I haven’t been canoeing before. Neither had J. Harrison claims he has been canoeing before, and the parents have been canoeing before, but that was a while ago. We have been kayaking, but, contrary to popular belief, it is very much different. Different beyond the fact that the boats are different and the paddles are different.

Truck Ride

We rented two canoes. One for the three young adults, and one for the older two adults.

Since the man who drove us to the boat launch couldn’t fit us all in his truck, J and I volunteered to ride in the back of the truck. Because, you know, that’s the best seat anyway.

We safely arrived at the boat launch. J and Harrison decided to paddle first, so I sat in the middle of the boat. It was an hour or so until we would stop for lunch.

Not Getting Married

It was fun listening to Harrison and J figure out how to paddle the boat. J continuously asked Harrison to communicate with her.

And then there was Harrison complaining that, although he was supposed to steer because he was in the back, the boat kept going in the direction that J was paddling.

As they debated and complained with and about each other, J repeatedly said, “And this is the reason we’re not getting married.”

River Camps

We saw a flight of stairs on shore leading above the water level, and decided to stop there for lunch.

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A man walked out to greet us. He explained that he was the camphost. Apparently the stairs led up to a campground that was only accessible from the water, so that overnight boaters could stop at the campground for a place to stay during the night.

All of the sites were enclosed, with only tent sites, and the bathhouses had showers with running water. The camphost told us that there were five such campgrounds in the area along the Suwannee River - all part of the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail.

We ate there - and J caught a gecko - before heading back down to the river. This time J and and I switched spots so I was paddling and she was riding.

Kids launching

Kids launching

Kids paddling

Kids paddling

Our lunch stop

Our lunch stop

J playing with a small lizard on our lunch break.

J playing with a small lizard on our lunch break.

Miranda slathering up with sunscreen after lunch

Miranda slathering up with sunscreen after lunch

MsBoyink padding the Suwannee

MsBoyink padding the Suwannee

The historic Drew Bridge on the Suwannee River

The historic Drew Bridge on the Suwannee River

Limestone banks on the Suwannee River

Limestone banks on the Suwannee River

Front Steering

By this time, Harrison had figured out that the front paddler was supposed to do the steering and the back paddler was supposed to act as the ‘motor’. During the first ten minutes, I frequently called back to him, “Why isn’t my motor running?” He replied, “Your motor stalls sometimes.”

After a while, my motor began to run reliably, and the excursion went rather smoothly.

We saw a few anhingas - a bird Harrison and I had liked since the first time we saw it several years ago and thought it was a water snake.

We came across a path that was a bit more difficult than the paddle had been. Harrison called out, “Paddle right!” or “Paddle left!” to avoid the rocks/whirlpools/rapids/shoreline/tree/anything else we didn’t want to hit in the canoe.

J didn’t understand why he couldn’t have done that with her when they were paddling together.

Kayaking > Canoeing

We reached the boat launch back at the campground about an hour after lunch. It was a nice ride, but I definitely like kayaking better.

Editor’s Notes

We rented the canoes from the Suwannee River Rendezvous Resort and Campground in Mayo, Florida.

They have 4 hour and 6 hour trip options. We chose the 4 hour trip. We checked in at the Resort at 11:00AM and including:

  • Transport to the boat launch
  • Paddling
  • A one-hour stop for lunch

We were back at the resort around 3:30PM.

Total cost for renting the two canoes, paddles, life vests and cushions plus transport to the launch site for 5 people was $96.

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