Experience Wildlife Up Close: Self-Guided Kayaking and Paddleboarding Tours for Nature Lovers in Jacksonville, FL - Ortega Outdoors

Experience Wildlife Up Close: Self-Guided Kayaking and Paddleboarding Tours for Nature Lovers in Jacksonville, FL

Jacksonville, Florida, is a haven for nature lovers looking to explore its diverse ecosystems and abundant wildlife. Kayaking and paddleboarding offer unique opportunities to observe the area's stunning flora and fauna up close.  Here are our top 5 favorite spots other than our very own Fishing Creek we launch from.

The Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve: A Wildlife Sanctuary

The Timucuan Preserve, located in Northeast Jacksonville, is a vast protected area that boasts an array of wildlife, including dolphins, manatees, sea turtles, and countless bird species. Launch your vessel at the Fort George Island Visitor Center and explore the serene waters of the Fort George River at your own pace.

Guana River Wildlife Management Area: A Birdwatcher's Paradise

Situated between Jacksonville and St. Augustine, the Guana River Wildlife Management Area is a must-visit destination for birdwatching enthusiasts. The area is home to over 200 bird species, including ospreys, egrets, and herons. Set off on a self-guided paddle from the Guana Dam Recreation Area to explore this birdwatcher's paradise.

Sisters Creek: A Paddler's Dream

Sisters Creek, a beautiful tidal creek near the St. Johns River, offers calm waters and stunning marshland views, making it perfect for kayaking and paddleboarding. Paddle through winding waterways and keep an eye out for a variety of wildlife, including dolphins, manatees, and marsh birds. Launch your kayak or paddleboard at the Sisters Creek Marina and explore this picturesque area at your leisure.

Kingsley Plantation: History Meets Nature

For a unique blend of history and nature, head to Kingsley Plantation on Fort George Island. Paddle along the Fort George River, where you'll encounter various bird species and possibly even dolphins and manatees. Embark on a self-guided tour to explore this fascinating destination and immerse yourself in the area's rich history.

Big Talbot Island State Park: Unspoiled Beauty

Big Talbot Island State Park, located just northeast of Jacksonville, is a nature lover's dream. The park's untouched shoreline and diverse ecosystems provide an ideal habitat for wildlife, such as shorebirds, sea turtles, and even alligators. Launch your kayak or paddleboard at the park's kayak launch site and explore the salt marshes, tidal creeks, and maritime forests that make this area truly unique.


Jacksonville, Florida, offers countless opportunities for nature enthusiasts to experience wildlife up close through self-guided kayaking and paddleboarding. These picturesque locations promise a memorable experience on the water. So grab your paddle, rent a kayak or paddleboard, and immerse yourself in the natural beauty that Jacksonville has to offer.


If you would be interested in any of these amazing spots and are in need of a kayak or paddleboard, please visit our paddle-sports section at https://ortegaoutdoors.com/collections/paddle-sports