Dr. Frank Gunderson Lists 5 Excellent Kayaking Destinations in Florida

Dr. Frank Gunderson is not just an FSU professor but he is also a Florida local with a passion for exploring the state’s waters via Kayak. There are countless kayak destinations to explore across the state, from the crystal clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico to the Everglades and the vast Atlantic Ocean. He recently outlined the five he believes are the best of the best.

Rock Springs

Rock Springs is a famous Florida kayaking and paddleboarding destination for its unrivaled crystal clear waters formed by artesian springs. It’s home to a variety of freshwater creatures, including otters, alligators, turtles, and an abundance of fish. It’s also a gentle paddle destination for the light flow of the waterway, so it’s perfect for the whole family. Rock Springs is in Apopka, Florida. 

Crystal River

Dr. Frank Gunderson says that Crystal River is another Florida favorite for ridiculously clear waters and unique wildlife. The Crystal River flows into three freshwater springs and is a haven for manatees. The manatees enjoy the naturally warm waters in the winter months, so kayaking is only permitted from April 1 to November 14. Crystal River’s turquoise waters are often considered the prettiest in the state. 

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

The Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge spans 140,000 acres in Titusville, Florida. It’s an ideal kayaking destination for spotting dolphins, manatees, and alligators. It’s also a favorite for viewing the billions of bioluminescent plankton that glow in the dark at night. Disturb the waters with your paddle, and you’re in for a breathtaking sight that’s most visible on dark nights. 

Pine Island

Pine Island is home to the start of the Great Calusa Blueway — a paddling trail that stretches 190 miles. This unique paddling experience takes kayakers along a trail marked with brown signs. Dr. Frank Gunderson notes that the waters are shallow and access mangrove islands, beaches, and estuaries that can only be accessed by kayak or paddleboard. 

Tarpon Springs 

Tarpon Springs in Tampa Bay is one of the best places to spot Florida wildlife, including manatees, stingrays, dolphins, and plenty of Tarpon. The waterway also passes historic homes dating back to the 1900s, so there’s always something to keep paddlers entertained. The town is known for its Greek Restaurants and waterfront shops, so plan a little extra time to explore.

Adventures With Frank Gunderson 

When Dr. Frank Gunderson isn’t teaching others as a distinguished music professor, he is a world traveler. His job and philanthropy have taken him across the country and around the world as far as East Africa. He kayaked countless destinations but is always eager to return home to the crystal clear waters of Florida’s streams and estuaries.

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