Living here on Amelia Island we are blessed with an abundance of places to paddle board. Some of these places have become quite popular. For those seeking to get outside and enjoy some solitude, Walker's Creek is a good choice for you. This paddle board tour takes you deep into the marsh as you explore the creek and tributaries. Surrounded by natural beauty the only other visitors you may happen upon are manatee and dolphin.
This paddle board tour starts from the beach in the Amelia Island State Park. Head northwest from the beach towards the AIA bridge. From there you will pass under the George Crady Bridge and Fishing Pier. Keep an eye out for fisherman on the bridge and avoid their lines. Continue northwest along the shoreline and up into the South Amelia River.
Once past the beautiful homes on the water you will see a massive pile of oyster shells. Believe it or not you are looking at oyster shells left behind by the Timucuan Indians over 2000 years ago. Timucuan Indians were the first inhabitants of this area and lived off shellfish. They piled the empty shells into mounds many of which remain in north Florida.
Looking south you may see some sizable boat traffic. This is the Intracoastal Waterway which runs some 3000 miles along the Atlantic coast. It has been used for centuries due to its commercial trade and military importance.
Continue along the shoreline until you reach the second major tributary. This is Walker’s Creek. It is in the Amelia Island State Recreation Area. Paddle boarding thought the marsh is like going back in time. Be sure to take in the natural beauty of the area. Being engulfed in the bright green marsh grass under the expansive, rich blue sky is truly a moment to savor.
Once into Walker’s Creek keep an eye out along the marsh grass. If you see what looks like a floating mound of mud with algae growing on it you may have just spotted a Florida manatee. Due to conservation efforts and improvements in habitat the manatee has moved from an endangered to threatened species. They are shy and hard to find so feel lucky if you come across one on your paddle board tour.
Following the meandering creek you will eventually come to Walker’s Landing. This is the turn-around point for this paddle board tour. Once your back in the South Amelia River, keep your eyes out for dolphin. They love to hang out where the smaller tributaries feed back in the river.
This paddle board tour begins and ends at Amelia Island State Park. The park is located on the southern end of Amelia Island just off AIA. Time this paddle board tour with the tide. Be sure to monitor the wind forecast just prior to departing. The length of the paddle is about 2 hours, round trip. Be mindful the current can be swift going under the AIA bridge and fishing bridge. Taking a paddle board lesson to learn the basics before doing this trip is a good idea. You will make the most of your time on the water taking a guided paddle board tour.
Be sure to bring your PFD (preferably an inflatable belt PFD) and marine whistle. Make sure your paddle board is equipped with a coiled SUP leash. A straight SUP leash will drag in the water and may get caught on submerged hazards. Be Safe!