I and my favorite paddling companion (these past 25+ years) decided to explore the Oklawaha River and Silver River on a balmy May weekend. We had perfect weather. We started our weekend trip at a campground, Gore's landing.
We camped Friday and Saturday nights and met up with fellow paddlers that I had met at a previous similar event. Had a blast. Paddlers are fabulous people!!!
Sunday, we paddled 10 miles of the Oklawaha River (Ray's Wayside Park to Gore's Landing). This stretch of river has many downed trees from a recent hurricane. While paddle craft would have no difficulty, there are 2 spots where it would be impossible for a motorized craft to make passage.
Bird activity on this day was diminished. Many, many large fish of several varieties were observed, as well as some shockingly large alligators and many turtles sunning themselves. It was very peaceful and quiet and took us 3 hours and 15 minutes at a leisurely pace.
Overall, very different from the nearby Silver River. There were a very few spots suitable (minimally) for camping. I did not swim because I was intimidated by the gators. One of them made a growling noise in our direction.
Rated moderate for distance only, this actually a very easy paddle
Gore's Landing is a Marion County park with campsites, a boat ramp and canoe/kayak launch. The campsites are primitive, meaning no water or electricity, however there is a bathroom on site with outside showers. It is very clean and well maintained. The water has a healthy sulfur odor and you would likely not want to use it for drinking or cooking. There is a streetlight in the middle of the campground which makes nighttime activities convenient (like setting up your tent at 930pm) however some people find the light disturbs sleep. There is a camp host who attempts to enforce the 9pm quiet time. Alcohol is not allowed. There are fire rings and picnic tables at the campsites. 2 sites are directly on the river.
Ray's Wayside park is a very clean, nice county park with 2 boat ramps, a separate canoe/kayak launch, pavilions for picnics and parties, and bathrooms.
sea kayak and canoe
Tent, sleeping bags, camp stove
$5 nightly camping fee and day use fee at Gore's Landing.
$5 launch fee/day use fee (per vehicle) at Ray's wayside park.
Enter this website for directions to Gore's landing:
From Gore's landing, follow the directions back to highway 40. Turn left and Ray's wayside park is on the right, about 4 miles. From Ray's wayside park, you can paddle either the Silver River or the Oklawaha River.