Waccasassa and Wekiva Rivers, Otter Creek... Wild and Remote Paddling in North Florida
The Waccasassa River and Wekiva River (not to be confused with the Wekiva River near Orlando), and Otter Creek present a remote, scenic paddling experience with few paddlers or other boaters encountered. With their beauty and variety of habitats from swamp to forest, cypress (including some old giants), many flowers, birds and wildlife, these rank among our top paddling destinations in Florida. (Detailed map and photos below.)
Access is from the boat ramp at Waccasassa River Park (parking, restrooms, and picnic tables) on CR 326 off US 19 at Gulf Hammock. The best paddling is from Waccasassa River Park upstream, very scenic with few motorboats (we didn't see any). About 2/3 mile upstream from the launch, the river splits - take the left hand fork to continue on the Waccasassa, and the right hand fork for the Wekiva. Downstream from the launch about 1.5 miles is Otter Creek. Due to the remote location, be sure to bring plenty of water and food.
Downriver from the CR 326 boat ramp, the Waccasassa widens as it approaches Waccasassa Bay. Most of the motorboats from the launch go downriver, the fishermen heading to the Bay and Gulf.
Waccasassa Bay State Preserve, accessible only by boat, is an important refuge for black bear, bald eagles, and endangered species such as manatees, and provides breeding areas for many fish and shellfish. Fishing is popular on both saltwater and freshwater within the preserve.
More information on paddling on the Waccasassa and Wekiva Rivers and Otter Creek in Levy County (opens in a new window):
Paddling in Florida - Kayak, Canoe