For a glorious, relaxing kayak trip you can’t beat Juniper Run National Forest in Ocala, sited in North Central Florida.

Heralded as one of the top 25 canoe runs in America by ReserveAmerica, this paddling trip promises gin-clear water that meanders under a dense canopy of old-growth forest. The upper portion of the run is narrow, with twists and turns, and gradually widens as you make your way downstream. 

Juniper Run is about seven miles in length. You'll launch from Juniper Springs Recreation Area and journey through the center of Juniper Prairie Wilderness before you reach the take-out off SR 19, well before the run flows into the St. Johns River at Lake George.

If you don't have your own boat, you can rent canoes at Juniper Springs. If you’re bringing your own canoe or kayak, a shuttle service is provided back to the parking area for a small fee. 

Juniper Springs Recreation Area opens at 8 a.m., and I'd recommend you get there as early as possible. You'll be one of the first boats on the run and can get off the water before noon.

Make sure to save time after your kayaking expedition to swim and explore the park’s trails. Don't miss walking out to Fern Hammock Springs, one of the most beautiful springs in Florida.

Places to Remember