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River Attractions  //  Relax and enjoy

The St. Johns River is one of Florida’s largest rivers and one of a relative few major north-flowing rivers in the world. It stretches just over 310 miles from it’s source in Indian County to it’s mouth at the Atlantic Ocean, east of Jacksonville. The river level drops a mere 30 feet during this course, making it one of the slowest flowing rivers around (with the exception of Downtown Jacksonville, where the river narrows significantly, creating quite strong currents). North of Palatka, the river averages about 2 miles across!

History

The river’s formation is somewhat unusual. More than 100,000 years ago, the area of land that now comprises the river was connected to the Atlantic Ocean for most, if not all, of its length, making the river nothing more than an extended system of lagoons and tributaries. As the ocean levels dropped, barrier islands and reef formations effectively walled off the system of lagoons from the ocean, and the river was formed. This unusual geologic past explains why a river of this size can form with such little drop in elevation from source to mouth.

The river’s original name was “Welaka”, meaning “River of Lakes”, a clear reference to it’s lake-like appearance in many places. When the Spanish controlled Florida, they called it “Rio de Corrientes” or “River of Currents”.

In 1578, a Catholic mission named “San Juan del Puerto” was founded near the mouth, and the river took on the name “Rio de San Juan”. This name was translated into English as the “St. Johns River”.

Attractions – heading north

  • Ocklawaha River- A very senic river, with great fishing. The river leads to the Rodman Dam and is not houseboat friendly. Small boats only, but worth the trip.
  • Seven Sisters – An absolutely beautiful archipelago, and a popular anchorage spot. Also home to Hermit’s Cove, a favorite stop for the River Adventures crew.
  • Buffalo Bluff Sand Bar – Just around the bend before the railroad bridge, the Sand Bar is a popular summer spot. Tricky channel marker placement makes getting stuck in the sand bar a real danger though. Ask us for details.
  • Corky Bells Restaurant – A recent addition to the riverfront, Corky Bells is a popular ficture in Palatka. It is a family friendly place with live outdoor music and great food right on the river.


Attractions – heading south

  • Lake George – Florida’s third largest lake (after Okechobe and Apopka) is large enough that you can see a horizon from Georgetown. Summer storms can be rough on the lake, but they never last long.
  • Silver Glen – The hands-down most popular destination for the River Adventures fleet. These natural springs are home to indian mounds, hiking trails, 72 degree crystal clear water, and during holidays, parties. The actual springs area is always family safe.
  • Astor, Florida – It’s a beautiful tour south from Lake George along the peaceful St. Johns River. Astor offers 3 restaurants along the waterfront including the popular Blackwater Inn. You can tie up and enjoy a great meal.
  • DeLand, Florida – The trip after Astor is ‘old Florida’. There are few houses and just nature at her best. Bring your camera and just enjoy the peace. There is another waterfront restaurant at the Hwy 44 bridge in DeLand.


Marinas:

LOCATION
PHONE
FUEL
PUMPOUT
SUPPLIES
NOTES
Crystal Cove Marina Palatka 386-325-1055 Yes Yes Beer, water, chips, restaurant overnight
Acosta Creek Welaka No No No
Georgetown Georgetown 386-467-2002 Yes Yes Beer, water, chips Home port!
Great Fun!