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This is an intermediate level paddling and camping trip Tim and I are planning to Florida. As of now 5 people are going. Because of the need for arrangements I appreciate notice from anyone interested as soon as feasible. Much of this trip is designed to be flexible but there are arrangements with transports, how many cars, and the carrying of kayaks that will vary depending on how many people are going. I would appreciate emails from anyone seriously interested. People will need to pay their own way with campsite fees etc although the cost of gas will be split because of carpooling.

Sunday Jan 26 - leave home. Stay in hotel near destination (15 hour drive from Peoria - it's winter -could take longer). Tim and his wife have their RV and pickup and are able to carry some of our camping gear and one extra kayak of ours in their pickup. Rest of us carpool. My car can carry 2 kayaks. I plan to bring my kayak and a bicycle. We could possible bike or snorkel at various locations. Tentatively looking at people bringing their own kayaks. It is possible to rent. There is very little gradiant in rivers so 14 ' and bigger kayak optimal but 12 foot ok as we don't plan to race.

Monday Jan 27 - tues Jan 28 - St Joseph State Park in the panhandle. Spend 2 full days there. I did rent a cabin (4 beds in cabin - sleeps max 7) which we can split the cost of if people want to do that. Or you can tent. However this area could be cold. Might be - might not be in January but the cabin price is only $100/night split by however many people want to use it. Paddle local rivers. Enjoy beaches in a beautiful park. I'm ok with having the cabin by myself or sharing.

http://www.floridastateparks.org/stjoseph/

Wed Jan 29 through 31 Jan. Hillsborough State Park - 3 days camping (tent or rv if you are lucky enough to have one). Kayak several rivers and also go to Myakka state park and kayak that area. (Originally we were hoping for cabins at Myakka but they are all booked). We will base out of Hillsborough and go to several areas. We will probably paddle Myakka one day. Two sites at Hillsborough booked so far which fit the 5 of us already going. There is a maximum of 2 tents to a site. Only a few sites left if anyone else wants to come. There are hotels nearby (i.e. like a holiday inn about 25" from the park) so non-camping options are available if anyone wants to book them.

http://www.floridastateparks.org/hillsboroughriver/

http://www.myakkariver.org/index.php

Sat Feb 1 - Tues Feb 4 (approximate). Possible tent and RV camping Flamingo State Park in the Everglades. Paddle all around there and maybe up to the keys. Better location but not best amenities here. (facilities are at visitor's center). Another option is to base out of Homestead - it's nearby and there is a hostel with rooms and facilities if people prefer that instead of camping. Also could flex this a little after we get there. There should usually be rooms available in Homestead.

Flamingo State park - http://www.reserveamerica.com/camping/Flamingo/r/campgroundDetails.do?page=details&contractCode=NRSO&parkId=70976&topTabIndex=CampingSpot
Here is some info on accommodations in Homestead- http://www.evergladeshostel.com/accommodations/canoe-rentals-and-tours/

??? Tues Feb 4 -Thurs Feb 6 a few more days for the keys or elsewhere. Possibly either camping in parks in the keys or staying at lodgings there. We might get a cabin on Big Pine Key which is close to Bahia Honda. Bahia Honda and all the state parks in the keys are fully booked.

Friday Feb 7 - Sat Feb 8 ( or feb 8 -9) 2 day drive home.

On looking at the cost of gasoline it is cheaper to fly than drive unless you carpool. 2/car the cost is the same. Over 2 people per car and driving is cheaper. However there is the issue of camping gear and it's nice to have your own kayak and there is more flexibility driving. If anyone wants to fly and meet up with us let me know.

Here is a google map link to some of the areas we are looking at. Some of the rivers could be decided on site also. The only spots I have booked so far are St Joseph and Hillsborough but we plan to book the keys shortly. - as of this time all the other sites we looked at have plenty of availability for camping.

It is possible to do this trip without camping. Hillsborough is a beautiful state park with plenty of amenities but there are numerous hotels within a half hour drive. Hillsborough is close Tampa. The other section we might camp is at Flamingo in the Everglades. Homestead Florida is an hour commute away. However we would likely meet at the paddle location that day. Also still not determined where we will stay. The everglades by Flamingo is known for mosquitoes although we are going in winter when they should be less active. ''

Map of areas we are looking at.

http://goo.gl/maps/iVIwo

Original post -

Tim W. and I are trying to plan a trip to Florida for Jan or February. Options include the keys or maybe Everglades - the thousand islands. I am talking with a few other people to get more ideas. We were looking at a 1 - 3 week trip. Everything is still tentative but I would like to know if others would be interested. I am speaking with someone with IYAK who has organized a number of Florida trips for ideas and help also.
If you are interested let me know. We want to get together enough people to do this. We are looking at options that include RV and/or tent camping and may check out if hotels available too but probably it will be rv/tent camping primary. I'll post more when I know more but please again let me know if there is interest.

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