Six Kayak Tours to Explore the Wild Side of Orlando
Orlando is home to some amazing kayak tours. You can see the graceful manatees spending their winters in the springs or glowing bioluminescence in the bays during the summer. You can spot animals from alligators to zebra finches including wild monkeys and bears. From cypress swamps to million dollar mansions, you can see a little of everything when kayaking in Orlando.
When the first visitors arrived in Florida, they weren’t searching for golden beaches or bustling amusement parks. They were looking for the mysterious Fountain of Youth that will restore their energy and vigor by bathing in the water. They never found those mystic waters, but perhaps they are there waiting for you. If you need a break from the beach crowds and endless lines at theme parks, may we suggest you recharge with one of these six kayak tours to explore the wild side of Orlando? You will have your choice of professional outfitters to make sure you travel safely and see all that you can see.
## **Paddle With the Manatees Near Orlando**
**Blue Springs Park** is a half hour drive north of Orlando and is home to the state’s largest population of manatees. From November to March, hundreds of these gentle giants converge at the spring. You can paddle to the entrance of the spring run and explore the ecology that draws the manatees to this area. Then, you park the kayaks and proceed on foot along the stream. You’ll clearly see the manatees through the crystal clear blue waters.
In addition to the manatees, you could explore Hontoon Island, which is loaded with Indian artifacts and a large owl population. Along the way the way you might see alligators basking in the sun or otters playing in the river.
## **Bioluminescence Kayaking in Orlando**
Single-celled organisms called dinoflagellates create a spark of light when they are disturbed. During the summer months, large colonies of these little guys grow in Indian River. It’s best to go on a moonless night so the living lights look brighter, but tours run all summer.
Your group leader will choose the best launch spot to see the night light action. Then, you paddle out into the darkness. You’ll start to notice blueish white trails coming from the kayaks and the paddles as they dip into the water. Soon, your world is colored by anything that disturbs the water from passing fish to kayakers, to swimming manatees or dolphins. It’s a magic kingdom in [Florida](https://www.skyscanner.com/transport/flights/us/orlb/cheapest-flights-from-united-states-to-orlando.html?adults=1&children=0&adultsv2=1&childrenv2=&infants=0&cabinclass=economy&rtn=1&preferdirects=false&outboundaltsenabled=false&inboundaltsenabled=false&ref=home) you are not soon to forget. For a double magical treat, you can combine summer meteor showers, like the Perseids, with a bioluminescence paddle.
## **Canoe an Urban Chain of Lakes**
[Orlando](https://www.skyscanner.com/transport/flights/us/orlb/cheapest-flights-from-united-states-to-orlando.html?adults=1&children=0&adultsv2=1&childrenv2=&infants=0&cabinclass=economy&rtn=1&preferdirects=false&outboundaltsenabled=false&inboundaltsenabled=false&ref=home) grew from citrus farmers utilizing the many springs and lakes of the region. Today, these lakes are lined by million dollar southern mansions and often connected by navigable canals. Perhaps the most notable of these waterways is the Winter Park chain of lakes.
Tours pass from lake to lake in a unique urban adventure. You can see lavish old homes and tour lakeside parks. Most tours are half days, but on full moons, companies will even take you on a moonlit circuit. It’s an easy way to get out on the water and a great alternative for a night paddle when moonlight would otherwise compete with the bio-luminescence of other tours.
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## **Explore a Cypress Forest on the Econlockhatchee River**
Who can visit Orlando without thinking about Disney? Do you remember the Pirates of the Caribbean ride? A banjo softly strums Oh Susanna and you drift through the bayou. Cypress trees line the waterway, covered in a thick layer of Spanish moss. The Econlockhatchee is something like that, without the animated pirates. It’s a little dark and mysterious and a lot of fun.
The river travels eight miles through the Little-Big Econ State Forest. Along the way, you can see the waterway change from its tight and windy headwaters to a lazy flat river. Alligators and abundant wildlife enhance the feeling that you have escaped the modern world and found something wet and wild.
![Cypress Swamp](https://content.skyscnr.com/c10cd1308778f7d5603042aa3306b096/GettyImages-180222819.jpg “Cypress Swamp”)
## **Tour The Wekiva River**
The Wekiva offers scenic paddling, great nature watching, and the chance to experience paddling on the clear springs and black water swamps. What’s really amazing is all of this is just north of Orlando in a town called Sanford.
Wekiva runs through the Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park, which is adjacent to the Ocala National Forest. This is one of the few rivers in Florida that is surrounded by so much open space. There is abundant wildlife and even a chance to spot large mammals, like bears. Ocala National Forest has the largest bear population in Florida with over 1200 animals living in the forest.
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## **Scull The Silver River**
The Silver River has a unique animal attraction – monkeys. In 1938, Colonel Tooey, a local promoter, brought a colony of rhesus macaques to a nearby island to enhance his Jungle Cruise ride. Today, more than 200 monkeys inhabit Silver Springs Park.
You might recognize this river from the old Tarzan movies, which were shot in this area. If exploring the lands of the King of the Beasts and seeing wild monkeys don’t excite you, perhaps you just need to stick with animated jungle creatures on theme park rides.
## **Why Kayak in Orlando?**
[Florida](https://www.skyscanner.com?associateid=INF_TRA_16826_00001&utm_source=colemanconcierge&utm_medium=influencer&utm_campaign=us-travel) is America’s tropics. Plants and animals can be found here that you’ll see nowhere else in the states. From backwater swamps to crystal clear springs, you will see the wild side of Florida. You can get out of the lines and traffic and find a little peace and a little adventure.
We are Jenn and Ed, aka Coleman Concierge. Let us serve as your guide to help you and inspire you to get out, expand your work and seek adventure, even in your own backyard. Along with our perspective and personality, we strive to provide tools and tips for you to experience heightened adventure in your own life.