This is Segment 22, Region K. The Indian River Lagoon is considered to be North America's most diverse estuary. Overlapping tropical and subtropical climates have created an ecosystem that supports more than 4,300 plants and animals. Another prime paddling area is Mosquito Lagoon, a place of unspoiled islands and tidal creeks that is sheltered from the Atlantic by Cape Canaveral and Merritt Island. This estuary is a vital nursery for fish, oysters, clams, shrimp and other sea life and, not surprisingly, it's one of Florida's most famous fishing grounds.
The famous St. Johns River begins in this segment and winds north through vast wetlands. At 310 miles, this is the longest river in Florida and one of the few in the country that flows north. While people have paddled the wild upper reaches of the St. Johns, there is no handy guidebook at the moment to help paddlers navigate.
The circumnavigational trail in this segment starts at Melbourne's Front Street Park and the first stretch involves paddling a relatively wide and straight part of Indian River Lagoon to Island #35, some 18 miles to the north.
The next overnight stop for long distance paddlers is Brevard County's Manatee Hammock Campground and then it's back in the boat and on to Titusville. Be sure to load up on freshwater, as there is no available source for the next two days.
Past Merritt Island and the John F Kennedy Space Center you'll reach Haulover Canal. This is the point where you'll need to cross into the Mosquito Lagoon and Canaveral National Seashore. Be sure to stop at the Eldora Statehouse and Shipyard Island. The terminus of this segment is Smyrna Dunes Park, 13 miles north of Shipyard Island.
81-82 miles of Circumnavigational Trail
Upper St. Johns River
- Boat traffic can be heavy along the Intracoastal Waterway, especially on weekends and holidays
- Paddling along the high energy East Coast shoreline is not recommended due to safety considerations. Conditions can change abruptly and there are few inlets to allow paddlers to move to more sheltered waters.
- At Ponce Inlet, proceed with caution as currents are heavy and breakers will likely be encountered as you near the Atlantic
- Access to certain areas near the John F Kennedy Space Center are restricted
Primary Campsites & Distances Between on Circumnavigational Trail
- Front Street Park in Melbourne to Island #35, 18 miles
- Island #35 to Manatee Hammock Campground, 13.5 miles
- Manatee Hammock Campground to Titusville railroad bridge, 10.5 miles
- Titusville railroad bridge to River Breeze Park, 20 miles
- River Breeze Park to Shipyard Island, 6 miles
- Shipyard Island to Smyrna Dunes Park, 13-14 miles
- Police, Fire and Medical Emergencies: 911
- Brevard County Sheriff: 321-264-5100, 321-633-7162
- Volusia County Sheriff: 386-423-3888
- Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission Hotline: 1-888-404-3922
External Site Links