Melbourne Beach to Barefoot Bay via the Indian River Lagoon.
This area is populated sporadically and there are numerous community boat ramps and parks. Remarkably, it is very clean and the boaters very polite and considerate of kayakers. If you do not want to go into the main channel, there are side creeks to explore. The Lagoon is about 2 miles wide so it feels more like sea kayaking than river paddling and, at times, 1-2 foot waves will kick up.
On this day, the forecast was for 5-10 mph winds. I began at Honest John's Fish Camp in Melbourne Beach. This is located on the east side of the lagoon. The day was sunny and windy. I decided to paddle into the wind to test my skills and my new sea kayak.
I paddled south and west. There is a string of spoil islands and I stopped at each of them. They teem with birdlife and most have beaches for resting and picnicking. I also was treated to several shows of fishing and frolicking from the local bottlenose dolphin population.
After 3 hours of leisurely paddling and exploring, I found myself opposite the Winn Dixie in Barefoot Bay, 5 miles southwest of my put-in spot. I turned around and rode the wind back. Took about an hour and I am happy to report that my skills and kayak were up to the following seas and wind which felt much stronger that 10mph. I had a blast. It is amazing what you can do with a 16 foot kayak.
I highly recommend this stretch for clear, beautiful water and loads of wildlife. Leave the canoes at home and be prepared for wind and waves.
Honest John's Fish Camp is located at 750 Old Florida Trail, Melbourne Beach , Florida 32951. This is an old Florida style facility complete with loose ducks and chickens, friendly staff, local charts and information, and beer.
There is a $5 launch fee.
From the Fort Pierce exit of I-95, take highway 70 east to US1, then US1 north to the North Beach Causeway (there are signs that say "to Beaches"), take A1A north to Honest John's Fish Camp, about 45 miles.
Overnight camping is permitted on some of the spoil islands. "Spoil Islands of Brevard County" is a pamphlet available at local boat ramps and bait shops which provides usage information about the spoil islands. Some islands are restricted for education and conservation purposes. You can also obtain a copy from:
Florida Inland Navigational District
1314 Marcinski Road
Jupiter, Florida 33477
- Trip Duration: Day Trip
- Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
- Skill Level: Intermediate
- Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)