Stop : Black Creek Marina Anchorage
After an unsuccessful diagnosis at Jacksonville Marine in Doctors Lake, we decided we werent letting the engine interfere with our adventure. Instead of investing more time trying to find someone who could diagnose it, we instead found Isle of Palms in Green Cove Springs.
They were willing to take or old engine in on consignment, and had 3 outboards ready to go for us.
We made arrangements to anchor off of Black Creek Marina and use their dinghy dock to facilitate the swap. It was handled in just a few hours and done. We were back on our way.
A working dinghy is very much part of this cruise with as much anchoring out as wed be doing, and there are lots of places to explore!
There was a fresh vegetable stand near the marina parking lot, so we stocked up on some produce for the days ahead.
The anchorage was well protected from the building fetch coming in from the north but it was also in sight of the main bridge. Fine for our purposes here for shore access, but not ideal for tranquility.
Where To Explore: St Johns River Taxi
Why use a bridge when you can take a river taxi? Hop aboard theST. JOHNS RIVER TAXIat Friendship Fountain on the Southbank for a fun cruise to the Jacksonville Landing on the Northbank. If you have the time and inclination, take the river taxi at night theres nothing quite like the view of Downtown from the water.
With football season coming up, you can miss Jaguars game-day traffic by cruising across the river to Metropolitan Park. Sunset Cruises with entertainment are offered Thursdays through Sundays. Guided boat trips to the Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens are offered every Saturday morning.
St. Johns River Taxi and Tours
River TaxiSundays, Tuesdays-Thursdays: 11am-9pm Fridays, Saturdays and Holidays 11am-11pm. Closed Mondays.Regular Round-trip fare: Adults $7, Children 3-12 yrs $5, Children under 3 yrs, Free.Special events or games at Everbank Field:Adults, $5 Children 3-12 yrs, $4 Children under 3 yrs Free.
Sunset Cruises from Friendship Fountain with one stop at the Landing, Thursdays-Sundays, 7:30pm-8:45pm, $20. Reserve online.
Zoo Excursions from downtown, Saturdays, departs 10am. 10:45am arrival at the Zoo, return trip departs from the Zoo 3:45pm and arrives downtown 4:30pm. Cost includes zoo admission. $30 child 12 or younger, or a zoo member, $40 adults. Must reserve online, select a dock for pick up at time of reservation.
St Johns River Cruise
Took the 2 hour pontoon boat river cruise. The cruise was very relaxing and informative. The entire cruise is narrated, the guide tells you about the river, the wildlife and plant life that you see along the river. The cruise was well worth the $25 cost. The Captain and narrator did a great job. Saw quite a few alligators and various water birds.
Isn’t this Blue Springs now a State Park? the campsites are not yet ready, but the state is setting it up for full hookup and primative
This is an easily accessible park with adequate paring, boat tours out to the St. John’s River, set on a tributary that you can walk along on a very safe railed wide wooden board walk. Rustic. Despite the boardwalk it is so natural. Easiest way to see natural Florida without getting your feet wet. Without the boat trips it is about a one hour adventure. They also have campgrounds, swimming, trails, bathrooms, snack bar…..
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Now And Zen Sailing Charters
Cruise off into the sunset on a 42ft catamaran! Now and Zen sailing offers charters for overnight, weekend or weekday cruises. Enjoy this 5-star luxury experience in Jacksonville while exploring our amazing waterways. Whether you are celebrating a birthday, anniversary or vacation, Now and Zen is the perfect way to celebrate!
Stop : Deep Creek Anchorage
After finishing up our business in Green Cove Springs, it was time to head on. Next up we eyed an anchorage in Deep Creek about 18nm further south.
Getting there, wed pass under the Shands Bridge which is a fixed bridge at 45. This limited taller masted vessels from proceeding south of here at current time, although there are plans in the future to replace the bridge with a taller one.
The Deep Creek anchorage didnt have much information on it, and no recent reviews had been posted. We had conflicting charts that showed no depth at all to ample depths at the creek entrance. And the charts did show some submerged pilings to navigate around, so we proceeded with extreme caution.
All and all, it was an easy entry under the power lines with plenty of depth. We found anchorage at the first bend and enjoyed a rainy evening.
In the morning, we had swung around a bit closer to shore than anticipated and our depth gauge was reading 2. A bit of mud kicked up as we pulled out, but all was well.
And we continued on south to our next stop
Which well cover in the next segment.
Well, its not too much of a spoiler, we already shared in this post about our change in plans: Letting Serendipity Do the Steering
While we intended to turn around at Sanford and come back down the St. Johns were still here. Serendipity kept us here, and we fell in love with this little town and are enjoying life here .
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Welcome To Our Eco Tours
St. John’s River Eco Tours operate the most eco-friendly sightseeing boat cruise on the St. Johns River. We operate from the Highbanks Marina & Camp Resort in Debary, Florida. We offer several boat tours daily, exploring the river, observing the wildlife, and experiencing a section of the St. Johns that is little changed from the days when early explorers visited these enchanting waters.
Conveniently located approximately 40 minutes from Daytona and Orlando, our boat tours are a refreshing change from the usual tourist paths. So whether you’re a birdwatcher, a fan of alligators or manatees, a nature photographer, or are just looking for something a little different, our St. Johns riverboat tours may be just what you are looking for.
River Rising: Brewing Up Solutions With Public Trust
Join us at Tabula Rasa Brewing as we talk with John November, Executive Director of Public Trust for Conservation, about the importance of the Clean Water Act and how it can be used to help protect and clean up the St. Johns River. In recognition of the 50th anniversary of this landmark legislation, we
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Reopening Jacksonville: River Taxi Resumes Cruises On The St Johns
Jacksonvilles River Taxi sails back into action this weekend after being docked for the past two months during the coronavirus pandemic shutdown.
River Taxi and Tours will resume limited operations downtown with numerous river cruises starting Friday, although regular service is still suspended. This weekends service includes narrated Dolphin and History Tours, Sunset Cruises and Neighborhood trips into historic Riverside, Ortega and San Marco.
All cruises will offer one stop at Friendship Fountain on the citys Southbank, as well as one on the Northbank at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront hotel on Coastline Drive.
The crew will sanitize the boats before and after each scheduled cruise. Seating will be reduced to 50 percent to allow for social distancing. Cruises will eventually be offered from the Riverside Arts Market dock every Saturday.
The weekend schedule is posted at rivertaxiandtours.com, but it may be adjusted for weather, or if the minimum cruising capacity has not been met. Reservations are required, and tickets may be purchased on the website.
River Taxi will soon launch a Cruise and Save program to promote downtown hospitality businesses and link them to the river through themed events and discounts. And more specialty cruises are planned, including a dog-friendly trip to Exchange Island, a Poker Run Cruise, and a brewery trip.
Dan Scanlan: 359-4549
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Take A Charming Trip On An Authentic Paddlewheel Ship With St Johns River Cruises
Big wheel keep on turnin
Barbara-Lee keep on burnin
Rollin rollin, rollin on the river
Go ahead and sing along if you like. Itll get you in the mood for a truly wonderful cruise on the Rivership Barbara-Lee, an authentic, 105-foot sternwheeler paddleboat that operates out of downtown Sanford. The ship is not steam-powered so there wont be a whole lot of burnin going on but it does have big, red paddle wheels that propel it northward through Lake Monroe, up the St. Johns River, then south back to Sanford, a round trip of about 25 miles. In all, its a relaxing excursion that one TripAdvisor reviewer called by far one of the most wonderful evenings and afternoons you can spend in Florida.
Ready to eat and drink? The Barbara-Lee offers lunch and dinner cruises, most of which take three hours. All food is prepared by an experienced chef on board and provided with superb service. You can choose from five entrees prime rib chicken parmesan, marsala or tropical salmon filet roasted vegetable lasagna and an entree Caesar salad topped with chicken breast or salmon filet. Meals come with sides, and guests can enjoy an array of appetizers. And dont worry, you wont miss out on dessert. Soft drinks are free, and the beer, wine, and craft cocktails are nicely priced. This rivership experience gets very high marks.
Lately, the St. Johns Rivership schedule has varied, so check here for available cruises. As always, reservations are required.
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Flow Rates And Water Quality
As distance between the mouth of the St. Johns and the middle and upper basins increases, the salinity in the river gradually decreases. Marine water measures at 35 parts per thousand or more while fresh water measures below 2 ppt. What ranges in between is characterized as brackish water. Near the center of Jacksonville, average measures have been collected at 11.40 ppt. Farther south at the Buckman Bridge, joining the south side of Jacksonville to Orange Park, it decreases to 2.9 ppt and falls again to 0.81 ppt at the Shands Bridge near Green Cove Springs.
Like all blackwater streams in Florida, the color of most of the St. Johns is black, owing to the tannins in leaf litter and decaying aquatic plants. Spring fed streams, on the other hand, are remarkably clear and visibility is very high, even when the river bottom is dozens of feet below.
Back In Time On The St Johns River
A cruising couple takes a detour from The Great Loop to explore this alluring northeastern Florida waterway that offers bustling metropolitan ports and quiet jungle passages.
Lets take a 310-mile journey on an American Heritage River, and step back into history to imagine Floridas colonial-era British and American pioneer settlers. One of the few major north-flowing rivers in North America, the St. Johns headwaters emerge at Blue Cypress Lake in Indian River County near Vero Beach to its mouth, where it empties into the Atlantic east of Jacksonville.
The river, the longest in Florida, has three distinct phases wide, deep, metropolitan, and commercial then a broad, deep estuary with woodlands and small towns and finally, narrow, deep, and twisting with subtropical vegetation and trees growing to the waters edge. Its headwaters are just 27 feet higher in elevation than where it ends, so the slow drop rate of 1 inch per mile makes it one of the laziest rivers in the world, according to St. Johns Riverkeeper, a nonprofit whose mission is to protect and advocate for the river. Wed heard intriguing stories about this river, so we planned a side trip on our Great Loop adventure aboard our 52-foot Halvorsen trawler, Monarch.
St. Johns River and its chain of lakes.
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Cruises On The Historicst Johns River
My wife and I had such a wonderful time. Boat is really neat…we really enjoyed watching the paddle wheels and imagine how folks traveled the river in the days just after the Cival War. Food was good with excellent service. The live music was very good. Singer was talented and fun. We are looking forward to another Sunday luncheon cruise.
the best of florida.
The St. Johns Rivership Co. offers more than cruises. We provide a different way to experience Florida. To appreciate its wildlife, its beauty and its warmth. All while indulging in chef-prepared cuisine, live onboard entertainment and endless hospitality in climate-controlled comfort.
Family-owned and operated, the St. Johns Rivership Co. is the latest in a long line of sternwheelers that have been serving and sailing the St. Johns River for centuries.
From our homeport on Lake Monroe in Historic Downtown Sanford, the Barbara-Lee cruises the St. Johns River while providing a one-of-a-kind cruise.
Dont wait to experience the warmer, wondrous side of Florida. Book your reservations today!
A St. Johns Rivership Co. representative will be happy to give a presentation on all our cruises and services. Simply contact our Cruise Specialists by calling 321.441.3030 or e-mailing
To Book Your Fun Trip With All Around You Need To Call Our Tour Office Mon
On the day of your trip we have several Pick-Up Locations throughout Manatee, Sarasota & Charlotte Counties for you to drive to and park your car. We will pick you up at one of these locations and drop you back off there when your tour has ended. You can pick the location that is most convenient for you.
Pick-Up and Drop-Off times Vary based on your destination and we will give you those times when you call to book your fun All Around tour!
- Round Trip Motorcoach Transportation
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St Johns Rivership Co Sanford Waterfront
The Rivership Barbara Lee is an authentic, sternwheel paddleboat that leaves regularly from its homeport on Lake Monroe on Sanfords waterfront. The double-decker paddleboat cruises Lake Monroe and the St. Johns River with the luxury of comfortable seating and a full-kitchen and restaurant. With a variety of types of tours the Barbara-Lee offers a unique way to experience the river.
See The Real Florida Join Us For A River Escape Luncheon Cruise On The Historic St Johns River
We will board the Barbara-Lee, the only authentic sternwheeler sailing the St. Johns. Featuring ornate wrought iron railings and massive wooden paddle wheels, the Barbara-Lee boasts 5 decks and all enclosed decks are climate controlled for your comfort. Once aboard, you will enjoy live entertainment, a scrumptious 3 course chef prepared meal and a different way to experience Florida.
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Blue Heron River Tours Now Offers Small Group Charters Any Day Of The Week This Is The Perfect Opportunity For Your Small Club Photo Group Or Family Reunion To Enjoy Our Tour Privately Our Small Group Charters Are Offered At Our Normal Adult/senior Price Call 386 873 4843 For Information Or Reservations
Don’t forget to visit our Sightings page!Visit our sightings page for updates of our adventures on the St. Johns River! We will be constantly posting new information about the activity on the river. If you have pictures from our tour that you would like to see on the site, don’t be afraid to send them in! To visit our Sightings page, or use the navigation bar to the left.
Blue Heron River Tour gift certificates are always available!If you are looking for a special gift any time of the year, Blue Heron River Tour gift certificates are always perfect for that difficult to buy for friend or relative.
Looking for the best boat tour in Central Florida?Give us a call at 386 873 4843 or make a Reservation Online! Located midway between Orlando and Daytona Beach, FL.
Cruise The Unspoiled St Johns River On A Luxury Paddle
When rivers were America’s superhighways, the St. Johns River was Florida’s. When it was first mapped by Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon, the St. Johns connected the peninsula’s wild interior to the Atlantic Ocean and it still does today. The St. Johns Rivership Company invites you to board the Barbara Lee, a replica of the paddle-wheelers that plied these waters back around the start of the 20th century, and you’ll enjoy top-notch food, music and dancing as you cruise through the river’s cypress-stained water. When you look over the railings, you’ll see stretches of pristine, undeveloped wilderness that look much the same today as they always have.
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A Cruise Up Floridas St Johns River
The sun sets on a wide expanse of the St Johns River
The chart showed 45ft of vertical clearance, and I knew the boat should be able to pass under the bridge. Still, there was that nagging voice in my head that wouldnt let me be. What if your air draft calculations were wrong? it said. And if youre just a little too high the mast will come down on you like a telephone pole in a hurricane. Fortunately, First Draft, my friend Richie Levines Catalina 25, put her shoulder down and sailed under the low bridge with several feet to spare. I exhaled in relief. Phew! What other challenges lay ahead?
Richie and I were partway through a voyage Id long wanted to make: southbound on Floridas St. Johns River, setting out from the Ortega River near Jacksonville and heading toward the end of the navigable water at Sanford, on Lake Monroe, 163 miles above the rivers mouth. I had been wanting to do this for years, as it promised to be a fascinating trip full of incredible scenery. I say promised because I had almost no advanced information about the upper river and knew no one who had ever been there. Adding to the mystery was the dearth of cruising guides for these waters. I wasnt even sure if a sailboat with any kind of draft could make it to the end.
That was okay with me, though. A great part of sailings allure, after all, is traveling to exotic, hard-to-reach places that are off lifes beaten path.
The farther you go upstream, the narrower the river gets
Map by Pip Hurn