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Official Guide to the Loxahatchee River and Jupiter Outdoors  

 Loxahatchee River .net -- Your Coastal Connection!

Canoe  Jupiter, FL
and the Loxahatchee River 

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Riverbend Park Canoe Rentals
Riverbend Park Rentals - Copyright © 2008


The Loxahatchee River offers paddling enthusiasts many miles of canoe runs that vary from narrow winding fresh water creeks and brackish water estuaries, to mangrove-lined salt water bays.  Aside from our famous "Wild and Scenic" river, our South Florida locale contains a mixture of marshes, rivers, lakes, and waterways that stretch for miles.  Many of these waterways have excellent public access from one of the many county or state parks.


Loxahatchee River Canoe Trail

Loxahatchee River Information

Florida's Designated Paddling Trails


Canoe Options:
Whether you're new to the sport of canoeing, an intermediate or expert, you will love the diversity of our river systems.  There are many options for the day paddler -- which range from two-hour to six-hour trips down the Loxahatchee River (times vary based on water level, current, winds and tide).

If you have your own canoe, you can launch for free at Riverbend Park; or for a small fee at Jonathan Dickinson State Park.  Canoe and kayak rentals are available at both locations for self-guided tours of various parts of the river system.

The two park locations are as follows:

Riverbend Park - Indiantown Road (SR 706) 1.5 miles west of the Florida Turnpike; entrance on the south side of Indiantown Road.

Jonathan Dickinson State Park - Take Indiantown Road (SR 706) east to US-1, north to park entrance; on the west-side of US-1. (8 miles)

Other locations may offer access to the river, but we are only covering the actual park locations that pertain to Loxahatchee River Canoe Trail.

Paddle the Loxahatchee River (Riverbend Park):
When paddling the Loxahatchee River from Riverbend Park, there is always a slight current taking you down the river towards the two dams. This current helps push you along, but remember that for every hour you paddle downstream, it will take you one hour and fifteen minutes to return. Once you pass the second dam, you will begin to feel the slight affects of the tidal waters of the Loxahatchee. The further you paddle towards Jonathan Dickinson State Park, the more you will feel the affects of the tide. This is usually not a problem, but it's always a nice bonus if the tide is outgoing, which will help carry you along your way to the boat ramp at Jonathan Dickinson State Park.

Canoeing in Open Water:
If in open/rough water, a larger canoe, with high sides is the way to go. Be cautious, wear proper U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets, and use common sense. Do not canoe in areas of heavy boat traffic, and better yet; canoe only in established "no wake" zones.

Take a bucket, or hand bilge pump, just incase you take a wave over the side.  Definitely, keep all of your important gear and valuables in some sort of floating dry-bag.

Be sure to check if the tide is incoming or outgoing, this will affect you if the wind and tide are both pushing you the opposite direction you want to go.  Some currents in our area, especially close to inlets, can have extreme currents that could easily tire out a paddler. You can play these currents and tides to your advantage with a little advance planning. A "float-plan" is always a good idea. This plan will detail your trip and you should leave a copy for a friend or family member -- for safety.

Canoe Basics:
Before you run out and purchase that new canoe, you should do a little research and be sure your spending your money wisely.  There is a vast (price and equipment) difference as you begin looking around at these human-powered watercraft.

Some of the topics we will cover in this, and future articles include:

  • Canoe Design:
  • Canoe Size (length, width, rocker, bow, stern):
  • Canoe Materials (common):
    Fiberglass - Inexpensive, heavy, and not very durable.  Prone to crack & fade.
    Aluminum - Durable, noisy, heavy, not suitable for rocky waterways.
    Kevlar - Expensive, but very light and durable.
    ABS - Durable, light, able to slide over rocks, good for whitewater runs.
    Polyethylene - Extremely durable, well suited for a variety of conditions.
    Wood - Expensive, paddles easily, not as durable as more modern materials. 
  • Comfort Features:
  • Clothing:
    Always try to wear clothing that is lightweight and comfortable, depending on the local weather conditions.  The newer SPF clothing will help protect you from the damaging rays of the sun.  Bring a hat and water shoes; also a dry bag for your towel, etc.
  • Safety items:
    Life vests, whistle, first-aid kit, bailer, and water.  Anchor, compass, and GPS optional. 
  • Wind, Water, Tides, and Currents:
    It's always a good idea to check the local conditions before you head out in the open water.  When paddling in large, open, bodies of water you will be affected by the wind, water conditions, tides (saltwater), and currents.
  • Lessons:
    There are many paddle sport outfitters in the area that will provide instruction.
  • Launching:
    Portable kayak/canoe dolly -- well worth the investment.  Good ones can be found for around $80.  Depending on the weight of your boats, you may be able to stack two on top of each other when wheeling them on the dolly.  Be sure to buy the dolly that includes a tie-down strap.  You should also take into consideration the type of substrate you will be portaging your boat over, between your vehicle and the launch site.  Some dolly's fold flat and have removable wheels for storage in your watercraft.
  • Essentials:
    Besides life vests, whistle, and dry bag -- load up on sunscreen, water, snacks; other options include bug spray, camera, phone, water shoes, rope.

Our recommendation is to "try" before you "buy" whenever possible. 


NEW: Kayak/Canoe Launch Site Map:

Glossary of Canoe terms:
(coming soon)





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