Kayaking in Florida
Hogtown Bayou

Nick and I took the kayak out last weekend. Kayaking in Florida, especially here in the Northwest region, is an eco-adventure second to none. 

I have to admit I’m not really a kayaker, which is why we have a two-seater. This way the human engine that sits behind me can power-paddle me where I need to go when my puny muscles give out. It’s also why we have a very wide and stable kayak. I’m not very keen on rolling over. Sailing is another thing I don't do well, but we'll get into that later.

This day, like so many of them, was a gorgeous day in South Walton and the polished glass of the water’s surface reflected the brilliant Northwest Florida sun. 

We launched at Cessna Landing in Hogtown Bayou, on the Choctawhatchee Bay, paddled west past the sailboats anchored in the channel and headed across the open water toward Hewitt Bayou. We like to paddle back into the bayous, traveling as far as we can until the finger of water narrows to where we have just enough room to turn around. It’s peaceful here. We occasionally disturb an osprey or a kingfisher, and we apologize to them as we paddle past as quietly as we can.

One of the many places to Explore on Hogtown Bayou

Paddling a peaceful backwater off Hogtown Bayou.

That’s one of the most magnificent things about Northwest Florida to my mind; the variety of unspoiled nature that lends itself to kayaking. The bays, bayous, creeks and rivers all offer a chance to paddle into unknown waters, to romanticize about the explorers who came before us and to see the area as they might have seen it.

A bald eagle surveys the bayou from his perch

We spotted a bald eagle in the trees.

We’ve seen things we would never have seen from the inside of a car. We’ve seen eagles in flight, but to me the most exciting experience is when we get in the middle of a pod of dolphins. They come so close to the kayak, totally uncaring that we’re spellbound by their beauty and speed. It’s then that I have a tough time keeping Nick in the boat. He wants so desperately to jump in and swim with them, but he knows they would leave him behind in a New York minute, even though he’s a strong swimmer.

Nick paddling in Northwest Florida

Nick is happiest when he's on the water.

So, if you're looking to go kayaking in Florida, kayaks and canoes are easy and inexpensive to rent if you don’t own your own, and provide hours of incredible pleasure and nature education. I highly recommend a kayak adventure this weekend, but make sure you have plenty of fuel for your engine. I feed mine fruit and sandwiches.

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It's a beautiful day in Northwest Florida. Come on down.

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