From the St. Lucie River to the Indian River Lagoon, there’s no shortage of beautiful waterways to SUP, kayak, or canoe through. “Whether it’s sunrise, sunset, or a full moon adventure, there’s always something to do and nature to see on our waters,” says Charlotte L. Bireley, director of tourism and marketing for St. Lucie County. Gear up and hit the liquid trails for a day of casual paddling, wildlife sightings, or a more challenging adventure.
Manatee Observation and Education Center leads several guided kayak tours a month in partnership with Lisa’s Kayaks. Launch from Lisa’s in Fort Pierce and explore two miles of the 340-acre Fort Pierce Inlet State Park. Enjoy the peaceful 1.5-hour tour or rent a kayak or SUP from Lisa and find your own path through the calm backwater, without waves or wake from boats. Devoted paddlers can grab an annual pass and join the adventure club on group outings several times a week.
The Indian River Lagoon is among the country’s most biologically diverse estuaries. Drift through mangroves and greet manatees, sea turtles, and dolphins or spot osprey in the trees along with pelicans, herons, egrets, and roseate spoonbills. Bring your own kayak or paddleboard and launch at the east end of Cove Road for a two-hour roundtrip journey that winds through St. Lucie Inlet Preserve State Park. Alternatively, enter at the Stuart Causeway and explore nearby Bird Island. While you can’t actually land on the island because of its sanctuary status, you can paddle around and look for roosting wood storks. Keep an eye out for manatees, dolphins, rays, birds, and turtles—and during night tours, you may even spot bioluminescent comb jellies.
Launch from White City Park and head north on the St. Lucie River to face a narrow and twisty waterway that will test your paddling capabilities. This area is more creek-like than river, with the water becoming brackish and shallow depending on the tide and the flow from Ten Mile Creek. The waterway ends at a spillway on Gordy Road, about five miles upstream.