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Paddle Spruce Creek, Daytona Beach, New Smyrna Beach, kayak, canoe, FloridaPaddle Spruce Creek, Daytona Beach, New Smyrna Beach, kayak, canoe, Florida

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Reported: Nov. 2011; latest update: Nov. 2016

Spruce Creek... Paddling near Daytona and New Smyrna Beaches

Spruce Creek, an Outstanding Florida Waterway, is a natural blackwater river - tannic acid from swampy vegetation stains the water black at its inception at the upper creek. The upper creek is scenic and tree lined with freshwater vegetation. As it approaches I-95, the creek widens, becomes brackish salwater, and lined by marsh and mudflats. At Strickland Bay, it is wide and open. Strickland Bay converges with Turnbull Bay and accesses the Indian River/Intracoastal Waterway. Mostly an easy paddle, with a couple more technical areas upstream where it narrows and subject to obstacles in the water. The creek has a remote feel, especially upstream and as it passes through Spruce Creek Preserve, but development is not far away - homes and docks are seen along much of the creek. (Detailed map and photos below.)



View Larger Map
Distance: Varies. Official trail is 8 miles, but most paddling is out and back from launch
Location: Volusia County (Port Orange)
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Tidal: Yes, especially closer to the coast
Launch points: Spruce Creek Park (I-95 Exit 256, east one mile); Strickland Bay bridge (US 1, 5 miles north of New Smyrna Beach); Cracker Creek (Taylor Road, Port Orange) (See map, left)
Kayak/Canoe Rentals: Port Orange (links, above right)
Nearby points of interest: Gamble Place, New Smyrna Beach, Daytona Beach

Notable along the creek is Spruce Creek Mound, a center for the Timucua Indians indigenous to the area. Spruce Creek Park has a boardwalk, nature trails, observation tower, fishing pier, playground, and picnicking. Spruce Creek Preserve has a boardwalk, walking and mountain biking trails, and observation tower. The Russell Property is a public park that can be accessed only from the creek (at this writing).

Lots of wildlife including waterbirds, alligators.

Paddling at Spruce Creek
(tap or hover over photo for larger view)
Cracker Creek upstream
We launched for a modest fee at Cracker Creek and paddled a short distance upstream
until stopped by logs. Paddling here is subject to water levels, plus a recent hurricane had deposited a lot of debris yet to be cleared.
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Launch at
Cracker Creek
Paddling upstream, until stopped by logs
Cracker Creek to I-95 bridge
From Cracker Creek, we then paddled downstream to the I-95 bridge. Upriver the creek is narrow and shady with some canopy. As we approached I-95, it widened, the water became brackish, and the shoreline marshy.
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Downstream from Cracker Creek Russell Property dock Encounter with Cracker Creek eco-
tour boat
Bridge at
Williamson Blvd.
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Along the creek - creek widening Alligator sunning
on the beach
I-95 bridge Past the bridge,
marsh and private docks
Return to
Cracker Creek
Strickland Bay
Members of our group rented from Salty Dawg Outfitters, while we launched our own kayaks for a fee. We paddled around Strickland Bay, open water with some cuts along the shoreline. On a later visit, we discovered the dock had been wiped out by a recent hurricane. At low tide, watch out for the oyster bars.
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Paddling on Strickland Bay Launch after the hurricane, dock gone
Spruce Creek Park
We visited the launch to plan for a future trip. Muddy at low tide.
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To the staging area Launch area Channel to creek along the boardwalk Spruce Creek

More information on paddling at Spruce Creek (opens in a new window):

- Florida Office of Greenways and Trails - Spruce Creek Paddling Trail

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Paddling in Florida - Kayak, Canoe
Spruce Creek

Outfitters/Rentals

Cracker Creek

Kayak Atlantic Waters

Salty Dawg Outfitters


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