New Smyrna Beach Area Paddling Trail Info

NSB offers a variety of water-related activities including nine paddling trails launching from four sites around the city. From backwater paddles to routes along the intracoastal waterway, these trails featured below are listed north to south according to launch points. 

SLEEPY HOLLOW TO LIGHTHOUSE PADDLE: 

Distance: 5 miles – Level: Advanced paddlers 

Launch GPS: N 29 04’ 41.37” W 80 57’ 10.44”

This paddle begins at the Sleepy Hollow launch area at the intersection of U.S. 1 and Sleepy Hollow Drive. The route is recommended for advanced paddlers because of inlet currents near the lighthouse. The route crosses the Ponce de Leon Cut and the intracoastal waterway. The beginning portion of the paddle takes you through backwater stretches where you may see heron, egrets, dolphin, stingrays and other wildlife. When you reach the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse, you will find public restrooms, a lighthouse gift shop, restaurants and the Marine Science Center.

SLEEPY HOLLOW TO ROSE BAY PADDLE: 

Distance: 6.48 miles – Level: Advanced paddlers

Launch GPS: N 29 04’ 41.37” W 80 57’ 10.44”

This paddle begins at the Sleepy Hollow launch area at the intersection of U.S. 1 and Sleepy Hollow Drive. A nice, relaxing paddle, you will traverse salt marshes and Spartina (cord) grass and may see a lot of heron and egrets. When you reach the channel, you may see dolphin. During the warmer months, manatee also may be near the channel. This route is recommended for advanced paddlers because of distance. On the return trip, paddlers are in the main part of Halifax River with power boat traffic. Avoid the channel and stay close to the islands until you reach the wetlands at the end of the trail. 

HUNTER CREEK PADDLE: 

Distance: 5.42 miles – Level: Intermediate paddlers 

Launch GPS: N 29 02’ 16.24” W 80 55’ 08.36”

If you’re looking to only paddle in the backwaters, this route is for you. As you paddle through the mangrove forest, the quiet, peaceful setting is perfect for spotting great blue, little blue and tri-color heron along with snowy and great egrets. At low tide, a lot of sand bars emerge for an opportunity to explore the marine life including conch, fish eggs, stingrays and more. This route has very little powerboat traffic except a few boats at high tide. Paddling is great on low tide but watch out for sandbars.

BIRD ROOKERY PADDLE (featured image)

Distance: 2.90 miles – Level: Novice paddlers 

Launch GPS: N 29 02’ 16.24” W 80 55’ 08.36”

The beginning portion of the paddle takes you through the Salt Marsh Restoration Project – a Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission project. You also will paddle along a seawall built by the Turnbull Settlement in 1766-76 and also take in a view of homes along Riverside Drive. The route passes under the North Causeway and through the New Smyrna Beach City Marina. Watch for big boats because you will be at the edge of the intracoastal waterway. The rookeries are two mangrove islands where water birds choose to nest year-round. You may see birds on the nest during the mating season (Feb-June). Pelicans inhabit the area the rest of the year. The islands were protected by Theodore Roosevelt, a bird enthusiast, in 1908. These are the only two rookery islands in the area that are protected by Presidential order. Both islands are just east of the NSB Marina. Please use binoculars or a camera zoom lens for a closer look at the nesting birds and keep a good distance between you and the rookery. 

BIRD ROOKERY PADDLE (HIGH-TIDE ROUTE): 

Distance: 2.87 miles – Level: Novice paddlers

Launch GPS: N 29 02’ 16.24” W 80 55’ 08.36” 

*See the summary above for info on this trail. 

INDIAN RIVER SOUTH TOUR PADDLE: 

Distance: 4.09 miles – Level: Intermediate paddlers

Launch GPS: N 29 01’ 49.84” W 80 55’ 01.58” 

This paddle begins at the public floating docks at 162 North Causeway. Along the way, you may see a historic marker for the old wharf that was part of the New Smyrna Settlement. After passing under the South Causeway Bridge, look for a monument on the west shore at low tide. You also may see remnants of the coquina stone wharf that was the center of the settlement and later was destroyed during the Civil War. After passing Yacht Club Island, look for an area of vegetation among docks on the right. This is known as the Gabordy Canal. Al Capone had a canal-front home here at the height of his career.

INDIAN RIVER TO SMYRNA CREEK PADDLE: 

Distance: 6.55 miles – Level: Advanced paddlers 

Launch GPS: N 29 01’ 49.84” W 80 55’ 01.58” 

Before launching, check the wind and tide direction to determine if you want to start your tour in the river or on the backwaters. Either way, you will see a nice mix of birds in the backwater and dolphin (and manatee during warmer months) in the main river. In Smyrna Creek, there is very little powerboat traffic except possibility at high tide. However, please be cautious of boat traffic when you get into the river. 

CALLALISA CREEK PADDLE:

DISTANCE: 7.27 miles – Level: Intermediate paddlers 

Launch GPS: N 29 01’ 46.64” W 80 54’ 13.05” 

Due to the length of the paddle, this trail is not recommended for novices. There is very little powerboat boat traffic and no strong current. Callalisa Creek is a great paddle on low or high tides. This is a tidal creek on the north end of the Mosquito Lagoon that includes mosquito drainage ditches built in the 1960s. You often will see a lot of coastal birds on this quiet, pleasant paddle through mangrove forest. Because the creek is shallow, dolphin or manatee sightings are unlikely.

MOSQUITO LAGOON PADDLING TRAIL: 

Distance: 2.12 miles – Level: Novice

Launch GPS: N 29 00’ 12.48” W 80 53’ 15.10”

The Mosquito Lagoon Paddling Trail is a good marked trail for first-time paddlers. It’s a great way to view life in the mangrove wetland and estuarine habitats including birds, manatees and dolphins. The trail was laid out by a local Boy Scout as his Eagle Scout project a few years ago. He named it the Mosquito Lagoon Paddling Trail and included markers along the way.

Visit the NSB city website for more information on these trails. cityofnsb.com/paddling-trails

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