Kayaking the Loxahatchee River

One of two federally designated 'Wild and Scenic' rivers in the state, the free-flowing Loxahatchee River is home to a wide range of habitats, from tidal marsh riverines and dense mangrove communities to tidal flats and oyster bars. Translated as 'River of Turtles,' the coffee-colored river, which flows north, is home to countless shelled reptiles, as well as herons, ospreys, otters, raccoons, the occasional bobcat – and lots of alligators. For a great day exploring the various aquatic preserves here, nothing beats Riverbend Park's Canoe Outfitters, which provides access to this lush waterway. From the launch, paddle to the right for thick, verdant waterways overhung with fallen branches and a small but thumping rapid; paddle to the left for open vistas and plentiful picnic areas. Canoes are good for families, but difficult to maneuver in this narrow waterway, so choose wisely. This terrific day out is gentle enough to be kid-friendly but eye-popping enough to appeal to the discerning adventurer.