This weekend, we took a relaxing RV camping trip to Tomoka State Park in Ormond Beach. While there, we decided to rent a canoe for a couple of hours. The camp store, Tomoka Outpost, rents both kayaks and canoes. We opted for a canoe, so that we could all go in it together (the four of us). The canoe holds up to 650 pounds, so we liked the idea of the whole family being in one vessel. It was $25 to rent the canoe for two hours.
We paddled out for 2 miles, with surrounding marsh and trees being beautiful. We enjoyed taking our time and watching the birds and viewing the scenery. On the way back, we went down one of the little side areas near the marsh that opened up. It was more narrow and very pretty. There were quite a few other boaters and kayaks out on the water that morning. I would have loved to have seen some dolphin or manatee, since they are often spotted there, but we didn't see any. We did see some various birds and fish.
Don, the guy who helps the people in and out of the kayaks and canoes, was very friendly and helpful. Later, we had sat there in the shade near the river on the rocking chairs they have out, just admiring the view. We also saw how hard he works all day doing what he does. Lots of people were renting kayaks and canoes that day, with it being a Saturday.
This is a great way to spend a couple of hours of family time. You can rent single kayaks, tandem, or you can opt for the family going in a canoe (depending on the weight/number of people you have). If you go, be sure to keep the weather in mind, so you take sunscreen and don't get caught in a thunderstorm. Take something to drink, and be sure to put your phone/camera in a waterproof zip bag. While you don't have to wear the life jackets, we do, just to be on the safe side. The life jackets come with the rental.
If you are taking little kids in the canoe or kayak, have them where their life jacket, and teach them to try to sit still, so they don't rock the boat back and forth. Be sure to have them wear sunscreen and/or a hat for sun protection. The park also has nice picnic tables and pavilions, so you could pack a lunch to have after your paddle trip. There is also a short nature trail and you can check out the large carved statue, and you may even want to check out the Woodham Woods Trail (paved trail) at the entrance of the park. You can spend the day here, enjoying the park and making great family memories. Additionally, if it's hiking season (in Florida it's generally October through April, depending on the temperatures), you will find some great hikes just down the road at the Bulow Woods, and can check out the Fairchild Oak.
Two thumbs up for renting the canoe at Tomoka State Park and gliding down the Tomoka River. We enjoyed it and will do it again for sure!