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Exploring Nature’s Nurseries on Weeki Wachee’s Coastal Paddling Trail



The waterways on Florida’s Adventure Coast hold plenty of options for paddlers, from the wild Withlacoochee to the crystal-clear waters of Weeki Wachee. There is another trail however, that remains relatively unknown on Florida’s Adventure Coast, offering a unique “old Florida” paddling experience: the Bayport-Linda Pedersen Coastal Paddling Trail.



Linda Pederson Kayak Ramp


On this waterway, saltmarsh and tidal estuaries connect spring-fed rivers flowing west, with wide vistas of swaying cordgrass, cabbage palms and mangroves leading out to the Gulf of Mexico. Estuaries provide shelter for many species in the early parts of their lives, thanks to freshwater and saltwater mixing to create a unique habitat dubbed “the nursery of the sea.” Keep an eye out for bald eagles and osprey, as well as wading birds searching for food along the shoreline. Other wildlife known to make appearances include manatee, dolphins, and river otters.



Courtesy: Florida Hikes


From your kayak, canoe, or paddleboard, immerse yourself in this vibrant coastal ecosystem that is rich in wildlife. The 1.7-mile paddling route that connects Bayport Park and Linda Pedersen Park can be accessed from either of the two parks; both locations offer kayak/canoe launches, parking, restrooms, and picnic tables among other amenities.


Local businesses like KayaKing and SUP Weeki offer rentals for those who do not own a kayak, although this trail is recommended for those with a little paddling experience; there will be a current, and these waterways are affected by the tides of the Gulf. For those who are new to kayaking, Get Up and Go Kayaking offers a great option to explore the coastal environments found on the trail while paddling on a group tour with guides who are familiar with the area.


Sunset kayaking


Before you start your adventure, download, or print our Coastal Paddling Trail guide to view the map and check the safety guidelines. Once you have launched from either Bayport or Linda Pedersen Park, simply follow the markers which are numbered along the trail, in sequential order starting from Bayport. Paddlers can choose to travel one way at 1.7 miles or paddle out-and-back for a scenic 3.4-mile round-trip. For an extra challenge, advanced paddlers will enjoy adding on the 1.4-mile Redfish Bayou Loop, extending their trip to 4.8 miles. Note: Redfish Bayou is not recommended for inexperienced paddlers.


When you’ve finished your paddling adventure, choose to end the day by exploring Bayport Park, with its fishing pier and historic markers, or climb the observation tower at Linda Pedersen Park for an amazing view! See what our friends John and Sandra have to say about the Bayport Linda Pederson Coastal Paddling Trail.


There are many adventures to choose from whether on land or on water. No matter how you choose to enjoy the pristine environment of Florida’s Adventure Coast, visit responsibly. We all have a part to play in keeping our trails, preserves, lakes, rivers, and beaches clean, safe, and sustainable.







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