Trip Ideas

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Want to go see some HUGE prehistoric dinosours - the Florida Gator! Kayak in the mangrove maze looking for the Pterodactyl like giant White Pelicans? Maybe you would like to go find the rare Florida Manatee - or a Florida Panther! Trap Blue crabs - Go swim in the natural Florida Spring, collect seashells and other beach finds on the spoil islands where the best beach treasures are found. Do you enjoy looking at all the beautiful Florida birds and taking pictures?  Did you hear about those Gatorfrogs? Dolphins - sure ... Want to go snorkeling? Have I got a place for you kids! Rainbow Spring!

Manatees!
Help Us Help Them Promotion for Clearwater Marine Aquarium New Manatee Springs Rescue & Rehabilitation 10 million dollar project.
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Kayak with the Manatees SEASONAL Dec 15th - April 15th. Local trips - observation only.

A small portion of your fee will go to Clearwater Marine Aquariums new Manatee Rescue Exabit and work. Ask about a bonus free side trip to TECO Power Plant Manatee Viewing Center available on Frog Creek - Terra Ceia Preserve, Little Manatee River - and Hunt for Blue Crab trips over the Sunshine Skyway.

Gator Frog Hunt
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Oh no kids! Did you hear about these Gator Frogs that escaped the mad genetic scientist lab? Thjere is concern they could grow to be the size of a big gator ! Can you imagine a 14 foot frog? That is why there is a reward offered. So you kids keep your eyes peeled - and if you spot one....I have my net. We can capture it and split the reward money. Then we will be dancing like Tennessee frogs!

Peace River Dinos Fossil Hunting trip. The Peace River where we go is 1.5 hours drive. So full day only ... Mom is going to pack a picnic or we can stop at Publix to pick up subs and Jello Pudding. I always supply cold drinks. We launch at my secret spot and then travel by kayak to where prehistoric dinosaurs bones have been found - yet some are sure to remain. Often Megladon and other shark teeth have been found here.

Fossils & Shark Teeth Hunt on Peace River
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Joogsquad friends Jack & Merrick know where to go...do you not think "for the kids" I don't know? Never any guarantees kids - but we usually get lucky. No - I am not going to betray my buddies trust and disclose a few different locations good to look where we will be kayaking and sifting sand along the way looking for shark teeth! Here is some info on the

Peace River Shark Teeth Hunting Kayak Expedition.

Coming Soon! MEGLADON RANCH!
Clicky Here! 

Beach Treasures
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Just look at this list:

https://www.anyplaceamerica.com/directory/fl/pinellas-county-12103/islands/     

Decisions Decisions Decisions...

it does not matter where we go locally the price is still the same. Up to 6 persons. $300, for 1/2 day. 4-5 hours or Full Day  6 to 8 hours $425 - $450 the price is still the same. 3 people = $100 each - 6 people $50. so the more the merrier. Limit 6 After kayaking to our destination of a targeted island we will spend some toime beachcombing for shells and other treasures. Maybe have a picnic lunch on the beach. Its your vacation - your day - you tell me what you would like. Sure you can snorkel too.

Islands of Adventure
Family Vacation
Frog Creek
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Yep! Frog Creek is where those Gator Frogs escaped. Located 5 minutes over the Sunshine Skyway - getting there is only 1/2 the fun. This brings us to Manatee county. Why do you think it is called Manatee County? The TECO Power plant Manatee Viewing Center is 15 minutes away. Rather then me tell you about Frog Creek here is Bonnies article & opinion.

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Frog Creek flows into the Terra Ceia Preserve - a big mangrove maze with mangrove tunnels. The mucky mangrove bottom is the perfect home for Blue Crabs. The kids can learn how to catch one as I will demonstrate using only a piece of string and an old chicken bone. Did I mention there is a rope swing here too? No lines or waiting your turn here. If you dont know KC is the master on the rope swing - he can teach you.

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Video courtesy Frog Creek Kayaking. Mrs. Debbie allows us to launch from her RV Campground kids because we always leave it cleaner then we found it. Picking up any trash we see along our kayaking adventure here.

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Clyde Butcher
Black & White Photography

Who is this guy? It is my photography friend Clyde Butcher. I met him because we both were searching for the perfect photo in Myakka River State Park. That is how this works ... like minded people - meet in like minded spaces. This is not a destination... but learning about painting with light. No digital cameras here - this trip includes use of my vintage Kodak camera with film. No color. Light and shadow, learn to take really good pictures. The old fashioned way. The hard part is finding the perfect shot, lets explore and see what we can capture in the lens. Afterwards, we will end up with a really nice B&W photo from our kayak adventure of the landscape. Plus who knows, we might run into Mr. Butcher again. I also know where his studio is in Venice, Fl.  Mr. Butchers health has been sketchy of late so he only shows up randomly when he feels good.

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For the Birds

Our kayak adventure may begin with an urgent trip to the Seabird Sanctuary in Indian Shores on the way as there is a report of a night heron hung up in some fishing line in the mangroves we are headed to. We have to pick up our Junior Rescue T shirts for the children and grab a rescue cage. Hopefully, the heron will free itself, but we are going to keep a sharp eye for it. How many other birds will we discover today? Sometimes we do find a injured or sick bird - So we will bring it here.

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Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge

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The Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge is comprised of over 31,000 acres of saltwater bays, estuaries and brackish marshes at the mouth of the Chassahowitzka River. Starting at the 7 Sisters Springs heading down the Chaz are a multitude of side creeks and springs all flowing into the main river before entering the Gulf of Mexico. We could go kayaking everyday here for a month and we still would not see it all. The refuge was established primarily to protect waterfowl habitat and is home to over 250 species of birds, over 50 species of reptiles and amphibians, and at least 25 different species of mammals, including the endangered Manatee.

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Rather then have a customer complain later they did not see Manatees, Dolphins, Alligators, River Otters, Raccoons, Deer, Turkeys, Osprey, Eagles, Herons, Pelicans ALL at the same time like the video showed in 3 hours kayaking I will let my kayak pal Cliff tell you about the place. I don't want to be accused of posting deceptive video. While all could be seen - what we see is always a mystery. But we always see something!

Kayak Cliff has a great channel sharing his kayak adventures. Snapper Hole is what I call " Big Mommas Cove" She has been my star attraction the past 4 seasons, always returning to her same spot under her tree.Then there is Hashtag so named by his distinctive prop scars and Abacus.Big Momma is a very special manatee to me as she has given birth to at least 3 calves here. Baby manatees stay with their Mom up to 2 years. This is how they learn their migration routes, feeding areas etc... and why you will see the same manatees in the same spots year after year. Here is a great article by Bonnie Gross of the Florida Rambler. Click below.

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Coming Back Soon!

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Great Restaurants

    

But where are we going to eat? Some of my kayak adventures end up at Great Restaurants. Linger Lodge is nearing completion of their renovations. Here we explore the Braden River. Florida Cracker Kitchen is located overlooking Monkey Island on the Homosassa River - The entire resort is being redone. But soon - nice new kayak launch. The upstairs pizza bar/ Monkey Bar  a great option & family friendly.

Meanwhile, I have some other spots. Once upon a time, I attempted to average in and include your meal and drinks in my tour package cost. It just didn't work out. So to be clear - I don't charge you to hang out and enjoy a meal - but the meal check and bar tab is on you.

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Same owner of the #1 Breakfast spot on Clearwater Beach past 30+ years. Mr. John & his son always give us a Clearwater Beach Welcome. This is located overlooking the Weeki Wachee just across from Rodgers park where we end our trip.

 

On Clearwater Beach - Also be sure to stop in and see Miss Vicky - Dee - or Noelle at the Beach Shanty Cafe - just across the street from the Hilton. Ask for the "Coconut Special" and you will get pancakes with really good special homemade Coconut Syrup. Click the photo to visit their website and check out the menu.

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Click on the fish to catch their website for Menu Options and More Info.

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This full day only trip is one of my favorites and is the home of ( Mr. Hanky ) HUGE GATOR!!!  I won't disclose my routes north or south of the launch site here, either way is a flip of the coin. After a nice scenic paddle on the Wild & Scenic Myakka River most choose to hang out and have lunch. * Your meal and beer are on you - drink all you want I am driving.

Snook Haven features an extensive smokehouse-style menu. Prep  on-site and smoked daily. Out comes juicy, flavorful and fulfilling meats, including popular options like pulled pork, pulled chicken, beef brisket, ribs and wings. Dench them in house-made and well-loved BBQ sauces. Original, Sweet, Spicy Whiskey and Carolina Mustard sauce blends will cater to any taste.

So Much (Strange) History

     Seeking to unload contraband during the Prohibition era of the late 1920s and early 1930s, a league of smugglers discovered a hidden refuge along the shores of the Myakka River. Just upstream from the Gulf of Mexico and located on a remote peninsula, Snook Haven’s concealed grounds became the ideal place for the property’s initial occupants to land and ship their illegal stock to a thirsty Floridian population. With additions of a still to produce moonshine and a mule path to distribute the felonious goods, Snook Haven’s most colorful role as a community watering hole was set in motion. 

     Sometime during this period, a Hollywood studio location scout stumbled upon Snook Haven. Its picturesque “Old Florida” landscape designated it as the perfect stateside location for filming exotic jungle movies. The area became a staging site for film crews shooting multiple films, including the 1931 French Foreign Legion classic “Prestige” and 1938’s “Tarzan’s Revenge”

Place of The Sleeping Turtles

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Shhhh. The turtles are Sleeping. We just don't talk here. I know where it is and where we are going. On the Wild & Scenic Myakka River.

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Aripeka

Aripeka poulation 287 is a place you may never find if you didn't know it existed. About an hours drive north of Clearwater Beach. Lost on an Old Florida back road on Floridas Nature Coast. Here we launch from Norfleets - there are 3 springs we can reach by kayak - but I am not telling everyone here how to find them. Yes! lots of Blue Crabs for the kids to learn to catch here. If weather permits we can also venture out into the Gulf and explore the marshy islands.Home of Aripeka Stone Crab Co. where I heard a rumor about a Mermaid. There is also a super nice vacation rental here.

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Aripeka Island Plantation Available for your whole family.

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Click here to take a tour.

Secret Beach

From Clearwater Beach - my most popular trip. !/2 and full day available. The full day is best as it affords time to explore a spoil island - enter the mangrove tunnels and take a little hike break from the kayaks on Caladesi island- explore the Scharrer Family ruins, 

 

Next we go up a shallow bay into a small lagoon where we park the kayaks on a bay side beach. 20 steps away is the most beautiful stretch of beach you ever seen. You will want some beach time here for a picnic , shelling and splashing in the surf - all without the crowds.

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More to come as time affords - update in progress. Removed from destinations options is the Weeki Wachee from The State Park Head Spring trip. This river is being destroyed by a greedy fat cat State Park vendor - exploited for profit. As many as 400 kayakers a day were being sent down river. 400 X $50.00 = $20k daily.  The Weeki Wachee Gardens Home Owners fed up with the floating drunk fest behind their homes took the contracted vendor to court. Ruling - can only go 1/2 way down river from head spring. No more then 250 kayaks / canoes per day can launch. No floaties, No disposable container of any kind. Plus more strict enforcement of existing regulations. The best way to help preserve this spring fed river is to simply not go and leave it alone. I will close this update with the video below - just me.... on the Weeki Wachee.