Kayaking On The Crystal River


It has been almost 30 years since I have last been in a Kayak. It is not exactly as I remember it. Let me explain.

The last time I went Kayaking was on one of those trip excursions you pay for while on a cruise ship. It was in Canada and while I can’t remember the exact location, we paddled our way around an island and wound up back on the beach we started from. When we returned to the starting point there was a BBQ and you had your choice of steak or fish. I remember having a blast. I had no issues at all with the Kayak.

Kayak Launch Sign

So fast forward 30 years later. Chris and I are planning a kayak trip with her daughters on the Crystal River here in Florida. We were staying at the KOA in Lake Panasoffkee. The word on the street is we will see manatees. Cool right? I thought so. we have been actually talking about adding kayaking to our adventures along with hiking and motorcycling. But first, we need to make sure it’s something we both would enjoy on a regular basis. After researching kayak companies, we chose Crystal River Kayak Company because they seemed to get good reviews online.

So now we have a company and we set a date. We were very excited as the day came and the next thing you know we were checking in and getting our rentals. Before you take out one of their canoes or kayaks, you must watch a video on manatees. We had done that online before we went so we were good to go. Ok, waivers signed, fees paid, and wristband on. Off to the docks. Chris was a little nervous but I assured her it would be fun. I told her kayaks are extremely hard to flip so she had nothing to worry about. At least that’s what I remembered from 30 years ago…lol

Caution Sign

Her daughters all boarded their kayaks first, then Chris, and finally me. As I floated away from the dock, I leaned over to reach into my pocket to get my phone out. After all, I love taking pictures. Well, this is where it went sour. As I leaned over, the kayak came with me and neither of us stopped. Next thing you know, I am swimming with the manatees not kayaking with them…lol. The water was not that deep and it was fairly warm. Honestly, it was kind of refreshing.

Everyone Had A Good Laugh

Anyway, as I stood up and grabbed the kayak, I looked over at the dock and the two guys had a big grin on their face and I could hear Chris laughing from her kayak a little way down the river. Next thing you know, I burst out laughing and so did the two guys on the dock. I was laughing so hard, I couldn’t pull myself onto the dock by myself. One of the workers gave me a hand up and next thing you know we were all laughing on the dock. So much for kayaks being almost impossible to flip. I did it in about 30 seconds!!!…lol.

Starting Dock

Thank god I had put my phone in a plastic baggie before I put it in my pocket or it would have been a very expensive kayak trip. A little water got in the baggie but not enough to damage the phone. The employees asked me if I wanted to leave my phone and key with them in case it happened again. I agreed that might be a good idea. So at this point, I want to thank Chris’s daughters for all the cool pics. If it were not for them, you would be getting a text-only adventure here…lol. Lot’s to learn about kayaking and water activities in general for me.

We rented the kayaks for 2 hours and the rest of the time on the river was awesome. When I caught up to the rest of the group, we all had a good laugh and paddled on. The weather was perfect for paddling. The water was crowded with lots of other kayaks, swimmers, and manatee tour boats but we all watched out for each other and made our way around incident-free.

Paddlecraft Safety Sign

Since it was late in the season, the manatees had already begun to head back to the gulf. There were still a few of them hanging around and at one point we had one kind of playing with us. We would stay back and he would follow us. It was very cool. At one point he (or she) was pushing on Chris’s daughter’s kayak. As time wound down, we paddled our way back to the dock. There were many private houses and docks along the way and it was pretty cool to check them all out.

Our overall experience was a very good one and I would definitely recommend this trip if you are anywhere near Crystal River Florida. I believe this company does guided tours, and many other things too. I have put a link to their website at the top of this page.

Date of Adventure: March 2017


Check Out Our Slideshow Below Featuring 34 Photos Of Kayaking The Crystal River

TAOW Crystal River Kayak

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