Kayaking Advice for South Walton Florida

Discussion in 'Sports and Recreation' started by iwishiwasthere, Jan 10, 2016.

  1. iwishiwasthere

    iwishiwasthere Beach Fanatic

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    I will be down the end of March. Where are the best places to kayak? I like the idea of the dune lakes, but I am not sure if some are better than others. Thanks for any help!
     
  2. Kurt Lischka

    Kurt Lischka Admin Staff Member

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    Western Lake is fantastic. State Park, WaterColor, the beach, nooks & crannies, easy in and out at public boat ramp just down from the Red Bar. Or there's a launch in the state Park.

    Don't forget life jacket and whistle. Sunscreen and a hat.
     
  3. SoWalSitter

    SoWalSitter Beach Comber

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    Holmes Creek in Washington County has pretty springs on it. The most popular is Cypress Springs. I've attached a photo. March is a good time to go as its not too crowded during that time. You can look up Snaggy Bend Outfitters (Vernon, FL) on Facebook and Google to get an address. The drive takes about 45 minutes from the intersection of 331 and 98 in South Walton.
     

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  4. iwishiwasthere

    iwishiwasthere Beach Fanatic

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    Thanks. I had not thought about the whistle ,but will bring one!!,
     
  5. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    Check with State Parks in the area. Grayton Beach State Park has canoes for rental on Western Lake, and the same at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park. Kayaks are available at St Andrews State Park in Panama City Beach - a gorgeous spot to explore.

    Camp Helen State Park has kayaks for rent again this season... a great place to paddle on Lake Powell - the largest coastal dune lake in the area.

    Kayak rentals are currently available by Reservation Only through the Friends Website @ www.friendsofcamphelen.org/. Rentals will be available at the Park March 23 - April 10th for Spring Break Season. After that we will go back to the Reservations Only through the website until May 26th when we will resume rentals at the Park.

    [​IMG]

    You'll love exploring our state parks with extensive preserved coastal dunes, lakes, beaches and trails. Hike, bike, paddle and take it all in.

    Read more about Florida State Parks at SoWal Parks Guide!
     
  6. TimeIsFree

    TimeIsFree Beach Comber

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    For access on the Eastern Side of Lake Powell, you can go east into Bay County about 2 miles from Camp Helen on Hwy 98 and turn left onto the road into The Wild Herron development. 2 blocks north of 98 is a bridge over the lake.

    Just across the bridge on the right side you can walk down and put in. It's a bit overgrown right now but not too bad. Once in the water you can paddle west into the main part of the lake. But I prefer heading east into the marsh area . It winds back quite a ways, maybe a half mile ? I enjoy being on the small winding path with woods and marsh grass on both sides. Lots of birds, some osprey.

    It gets narrower and narrower the farther back you go, eventually you are in the creek and into the trees. The creek is only a couple of feet wider than your kayak when you get way back there. Near the trees there is a long skinny channel which turns left and you go another short ways into the trees. Saw a small gator back there the first Tim I went and it was paddle length away, went under and swam away from me. I paddled my butt outta there pretty quick! Haven't seen Any other gators since.

    I always park on the bridge and have never had an issue. People crab from the bridge as well. The road is public and not inside Wild Herron. You could access this area from the official Lake Powell boat ramp behind the Publix shopping center, but it is quite a paddle east, esp if there is wind.

    I hope everyone has had a great Memorial Day and may you have a great next paddle!
     
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  7. TimeIsFree

    TimeIsFree Beach Comber

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    Hello again. Another Lake Powell paddling access point is the South Walton Co Fishing Pier just to the left of 682 N. Walton Lakeshore Dr., which is west of the Camp Helen entrance. The pier is small but has 5 parking spaces (2 on the pier side of road and 3 on opposite side).

    I've paddled to the left and was able to wind back pretty far but not as far as the creek on the eastern side in the above post. There are a couple other inlets of the lake to expire from here as well.

    This is from my morning walk to the outfall of Lake Powell. This boat made it into the gulf but if the water was a bit lower he'd not have made it. The current is flowing pretty strong into the Lake right now.
     

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  8. Heather Bennett

    Heather Bennett Beach Comber

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    I learned in an outdoors class to blow 3 times if in distress, someone should answer you with 2.
     
  9. Heather Bennett

    Heather Bennett Beach Comber

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    Does anyone have any companies they would suggest for guided kayak tours?
     
  10. Truman

    Truman Beach Fanatic

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    www.friedfishexcursions.com - William Pentel
     
  11. TimeIsFree

    TimeIsFree Beach Comber

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    Checked this spot yesterday and the overgrowth is now cut back, so a nice path again to the water.

    Really surprised no one has checked this out and given thoughts... oh well!

    heading out now to paddle the outflow of Lake Powell. Bay County Beach Access 98 is within Pinnacle Port, so you have to ask for a pass at the gate, but it's a pretty short portage from parking lot to the beach, and short paddle to the outfall, which is still open btw, i checked it yesterday a.m.

    hope to get onto the artificial reef off Grayton Beach SP today. been loving the calm clear water so far this week. there's a nice channel on our beach between shore & 1st sandbar, so snorkeling has been great without even having to get in the car!

    Eat a Peach for Peace!
     
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  12. TimeIsFree

    TimeIsFree Beach Comber

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    bumping thread. heading down in few days and am pumped to take a peek at my favorite spots to paddle!!!!

    anyone else tried the bridge into Wild Heron?
     
  13. ashley2surf

    ashley2surf Beach Comber

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    I own The Rental Shop 30A. We do bike, kayak, and paddle board rentals. Im not sure about Wild Heron, however I think a great spot is at the boat ramp in Grayton Beach. Its basically at the end of the road by The Red Bar restaurant off Banfill street. Get in the water and head straight to the little cove area. It is fun to explore and goes within the state park. You will end up in Western Lake, and can go under highway 30a behind Watercolor. You can also kayak and paddle board through the lagoon area at Grayton Beach if you paddle right when you first get in the water. Not sure if this helps but its one of my go to spots. It can give someone hours of fun and exploring and blocks out the wind if the ocean is choppy.
     
  14. Bluznbeach

    Bluznbeach Beach Lover

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    If you're going to Lake Powell, there's a public boat ramp off 98 east of Camp Helen and Carillon Beach. Go past Winn-Dixie and Publix, take a U-turn, and turn right on Lake Powell Drive. It's usually not crowded and has bathrooms. From there, you can paddle anywhere on the lake.
     
  15. TimeIsFree

    TimeIsFree Beach Comber

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    bumping again.

    hey BluznBeach, yes, i know there's the public boat ramp on Lake Powell, but i don't care for the long paddle to the backwaters, and when the wind is blowing the wrong way, and makes for a terrible paddle back to the ramp. putting in at the Wild Heron bridge allows instant access to the best part of the lake.

    when i paddled this section last summer, the rains had cleared the channel / creek at the end even more, and i got WAY back there. it was a blast seeing how far i could get. i hope it's still opened up when i get back there this May.

    Safe paddles, and post your experiences!
     
  16. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    It may have changed but don't think you can bring your own kayaks to our state parks. But they have rentals...
     
  17. soappedaler

    soappedaler Beach Fanatic

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    You can bring them to the beach in all state parks. You can use them in Western Lake and Deer Lake, the only place you can't bring your own but can rent them is Campbell Lake in Topsail. This Lake is pristine, no invasive plants like the other lakes, by keeping outside boats out they lessen the chance of invasives entering Campbell Lake.
    I have kayaked to the reef at Topsail then snorkeled briefly, it's hard to snorkel and tow the kayak. Snorkeled the reef at Grayton and just swam out, also towed an orange inflatable boat to the reef while swimming, that was harder than just swimming.
     
  18. TimeIsFree

    TimeIsFree Beach Comber

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    My daughter and I are itching to paddle out to the reefs off Inlet Beach & Grayton and go snorkeling. The times we've been down there the last two years, the weather never cooperated!?!?! I have an anchor to keep the kayak in place. Looking at the pics from the reef website last week really got us pumped.

    Have kept maintaining the small path off the Wild Heron bridge each time I've been down there. I always do an early morning check & clip as part of my typical ritual for my first morning waking up on the Emerald Coast. Clip the prickers and grass so whenever I get the boat squared away, I can put it right in on my return.

    Gotta get back down soon!!
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2020
  19. TimeIsFree

    TimeIsFree Beach Comber

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    Made it! Having a grayt time down here this week. Paddling everyday in my spots. Major work the first morning to cut back the path at the Wild Heron bridge, but it's there now!

    Paddled that eastern creek of Lake Powell further than ever as the lake outfall is not open and the water is very high. there were a couple spots i had to duck and pull myself under some branches, but i was able to come out of the trees, and ended up under the power lines that run there, which is almost behind the firestation on 89!!! Way back there!! Great paddle, and I could have gone home a happy camper after that one, but that was only day one ;- )

    Headed west next morning for the Grayton boat ramp; got the last parking spot! awesome paddle as usual, and since the water was high in Western Lake, was able to paddle thru the marsh grass and explore that area directly across the lake from the boat ramp. great funn!!

    cruised over to Gratyon Beach SP to look around, and saw a couple with my same Advanced Elements inflatable kayaks getting ready to put in. Stopped and chatted with them for awhile about our boats, and such. Nice couple, i forget their names, but maybe you'll see this. I let them know about the bridge for Lake Powell. Hopefully they will czech it out.

    Still not having the right conditions to get out on the Inlet Beach artificial reef (Grouper). so bummed... while i was scouting it out yesterday, there was a guy out there in a kayak who looked to be right over it. gave me a better idea of what 920' from the beach looks like. it's just a bit too far to swim out with no boat for us to use as base while snorkeling i think. it seems the reef starts just about where the light blue from the second sandbar starts to darken. when it's flat, i will snorkel out that far on our beach, but it freaks my wife out that i'd be out there that far w/ our daughter (who is fine with it, as long as she's w/ Dad 8-)

    Eat A Peach for BeachFunn
     
  20. Kurt Lischka

    Kurt Lischka Admin Staff Member

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    Thanks for the report - lots of great kayak spots still to explore in SoWal! The bayous are calling.

    The Grouper Reef is 970 feet from shore. You're right about wanting a boat, especially with a kid.

    190516-inlet-024-sowal-2000.jpg



    Cessna Landing on Hogtown Bayou

    200416-cessna-landing-012-sowal-2000.jpg



    The Turtle Reef at Grayton Beach State Park is 783 feet from shore.

    190627-grayton-021-sowal-2000.jpg


    The Dolphin Reef in Miramar Beach is the closest to the beach at 715 feet from shore.

    190517-miramar-021-sowal-2000.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2020

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