Prairie Creek and Shell Creek are the two prettiest paddles within an hour of Sarasota / Venice. imho. We'll pass about 4 houses near the launch, then no houses are seen or traffic heard for the rest of this gorgeous trip. The parking is not great and the launch is not easy....it drops off sharply and the launch surface is concrete (if you have an old piece of carpet, please bring it and leave it there for others to use).
We'll paddle upstream on the narrow creek for about 4 miles or until we run out of water. There is usually a sandy place to take a break after about 3 miles. Sometimes, you don't see any alligators, but once I saw 8 during the paddle (mainly small ones).
All trips are for experienced and energetic paddlers only. You need to have a lot of time on the water before paddling with us.
Please arrive about 9:30 and be in the water and ready to paddle at 10:00.
DIRECTIONS: From I-75 in Punta Gorda, take Exit 164 and go north (actually east) on Hwy. 17 toward Arcadia. Go about 4.5 miles and look right for the mint green Royal Thai Restaurant. Go just beyond a large yellowish “Shell Creek Park” billboard and turn right onto Washington Loop Rd (CR 764). (At about 5 miles, there is an entrance on the left to Hathaway Park.THIS IS NOT THE LAUNCH, but just inside, on the left, are bathrooms. There are NO facilities at the launch.) Keep driving beyond Hathaway Park, and the road curves north, then west. After the second curve, go about one-quarter of a mile on the straight of way, and you will see a green and white highway sign “Prairie Creek” on the first bridge. This is the launch.
Before the bridge, either park on the grassy shoulder of the road, on the right, and carry your kayak down to the launch..... or drive down a little sand road (or down the slope) to unload at the launch.
People ask for NEW places to paddle, so I am listing this one...It is GORGEOUS and I absolutely love the paddle, but the launch is tough and the parking will be fine only if we are the only ones there. I would just as soon always launch at Hathaway Park into Shell Creek, but we are doing that one in January.
Peace River Seafood restaurant is on the way back to I-75 and has really excellent, fresh seafood.
This paddle is better than most, if you like pristine water surrounded by absolutely gorgeous views.