On father-son fishing trips, Bart Swab’s dad taught him not only how to cast his line but also how to treat the aquatic ecosystem surrounding him with respect. Now a licensed and insured guide, Swab helps other fisherman appreciate the open water’s beauty, helming kayak trips through Florida’s pristine saltwater marshes. After arming prospective kayakers with safety tips and familiarizing them with their fishing equipment, Swab guides lead paddlers into the water. They maintain a 3-inch draft that allows students in kayaks to sneak up on fish without having to glue sequins to their skin to look like scales. Kayakers can also gaze through binoculars at the diverse fauna roaming the area’s shores. Trips range from a half day to a full day, and for a more structured route, participants can opt for destination trips to seasonal hot spots, where they can search out fish such as black drum, sheepshead, and tarpon.
At the north edge of the Guana River Wildlife Management Area, outdoor adventurers can find everything they need for paddling, wading, and fishing in and around the local waters. There, North Guana Outpost offers direct access to the Guana River, a short walk to an oceanfront beach, and a 2-mile jaunt to the Intracoastal Waterway.
The store stocks equipment and clothing for water activities—including standup paddleboards and kayaks—from brands including Costa Del Mar, Yeti, Columbia, and Salty Crew. The team also helps visitors enjoy local vistas and spot native wildlife through sunset tours, guided estuary exploration, birding tours, and Paddle Pilates.
With help from a staff of paddleboarders, surfers, environmental scientists, and a dog named Dillon, Kayak Amelia founders Jody and Ray Hetchka combine their love for outdoor sports with environmental conservation. Ray, a certified naturalist and self-described tree hugger, peppers guided kayak, bicycle, and paddleboard eco tours with facts on flora, fauna, and all the best smells circulating throughout the island's delicate ecosystem. In addition to guided tours, Kayak Amelia teaches paddleboard and kayak lessons, and leads fishing trips and overnight kayak excursions. Guests can sign up for tours, or rent equipment for the day, at Kayak Amelia's storefront, Y.B. Green's General Store, which carries eco-friendly gifts such as beeswax candles, carved bone necklaces, and clay-dyed clothing.
First Coast Outfitters' ACA certified instructors aren't just passionate about paddling, but their surroundings as well. As fervent naturalists, they share their enthusiasm with guests during tours through the Pellicer Creek Aquatic Preserve, Fort George River, and other local waterways. Cast a line from the kayak during fishing trips, or head out on excursions suited for the whole family, including angsty teenage mutant ninja turtles.
Situated near the flourishing wildlife of Big Pottsburg Creek, All Wet Sports stocks an arsenal of boards, boats, and apparel for careening across both land and sea. Kayaks, surfboards, and skateboards line the shop’s walls for purchase or rent, and more challenging activities such as windsurfing, kiteboarding, wakeboarding, and standup paddleboarding are made understandable for eager adventurers by a crew of deft instructors. On their chosen mode of transport, customers venture into the placid waters of Big Pottsburg Creek, teeming with such inhabitants as ospreys, manatees, and unemployed Disney characters.
Leave the vacation planning to Jacksonville's Nautical Escapes Outfitters and enjoy a fun and relaxing getaway.
At Nautical Escapes Outfitters, you can safely park just around the corner.
So get out there and travel! Just give Nautical Escapes Outfitters in Jacksonville a call first.