With a land area of 588 square miles, Baker County has lots to offer those looking for a canoe or kayak adventure. Forming the northern boundary of the county along the state line, lies the tea-stained waters of the St. Marys River and miles of undisturbed white sandbars. Well protected by wild life management areas, this remote region of Baker County highlights the "Real Florida" and is an excellent destination for resident canoers and visitors alike.
Paddling the St. Marys River
Originating in Okefenokee Swamp, the St. Marys River has long been known for its gentle curves, white sandy shoals and slow moving currents that make for easy paddling. A natural wilderness, the flatwoods and cypress swamps serves as a natural habitat for endangered or threatened wildlife including:
soft shell turtle
great blue heron
blue spotted sunfish
Plant enthusiasts can also see many native species canoeing the St. Marys such as long-needle pines, bald cypress, black gum, wild magnolias, red maples, poplar, black willows, river birch and American holly trees.
Canoeing Florida State Forest
Located approximately 12 miles north of Glen St. Mary, the John M. Bethea State Forest forms a critical corridor for area wildlife. Spread over 37,000 acres of northern Baker County, the State Forest links the Osceola National Forest to the south and the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge to the north with a three-mile shoreline along the St.Marys River. The property was acquired under the Conservation and Recreation Lands program and the Save Our Rivers program to permanently protect the river's critical watershed. When it's time to rest, primitive campsites are available and facilities can be found at the boat launch for St. Marys Shoals Park adjacent to the eastern border of the State Forest. For additional information about canoeing or kayaking in Baker County FL, contact the chamber of commerce at (904) 259-6433.
Baker County Chamber of Commerce 20 East Macclenny Ave. Macclenny, FL 32063 Phone: 904-259-6433