Launch/return site: Marsh Landing 3465 Marsh Rd, Kissimmee
We arrived at Marsh Landing Park and Marina to misting rain, but decided to launch anyway, since the weather forecast said thunderstorms weren't expected until after 5pm. Our group launched 10 kayaks on this trip. The park has a public use kayak/canoe launch but it is a bit of a walk from the parking lot, so a trolley would have been helpful. After getting all of our gear staged at the river bank we were more than ready to get on the water.
It's an easy 2.5 mile paddle downstream to the entrance of Lake Tohopekaliga (Toho). Part of it winds through houses but it is still a pretty paddle with all the cypress trees on the river banks. It is still undeveloped enough that we saw lots of birds including sandhill cranes, and a hawk or two. Once you leave the mouth of Shingle Creek you see Paradise Island directly in front of you, but as far as I know, there is no real access onto that island. Instead,look to your right and you'll see Makinson Island. Paddling ENE should get you near the dock on the western side of the island.
Makinson Island is a 132 acre island that is part of the Osceola County Park system and can only be accessed by boat. It is approx 1 mile from the mouth of Shingle Creek to the boat ramp, if you could paddle in a straight line. The day we went out, the wind had begun to pick up and the lake looked more like an ocean, whitecaps and all. It really made us work to get to the island but when we got there, it was worth it.
This particular day a group was there using the pavilion but there are 2-3 picnic tables under huge oak trees that must easily be over 100 yrs old. The island has a nice sunny grassy area and nice shaded picnic areas, so there's a spot for everyone. The island provided us a much needed rest before the paddle back.
The return trip kicked our collective butts. The winds had picked up, making it more like sea kayaking. Originally we were worried about the approx 2.5 mile upstream paddle back to out starting point, but that part wasn't bad at all. The current is slow at this part of Shingle Creek, so going upstream, even at the end of the trip, was easily doable (and water levels were high when we did this trip).
By the time we got back to Marsh Landing, instead of the 7 mile round trip, it had turned into 8+ miles in "high seas" and we were ready for a hot meal and nice rest. We plan on checking into camping prices, since it looks like a nice secluded place to get away from the rush of daily life.
One word of warning: check the WIND SPEED predictions before you venture out. If it was a less windy day, I'd rate it as an easy paddle, but in winds like we had, it was difficult... but still worth it!
Small boat dock plus small sandy area to dock and launch kayaks; picnic pavilion; 2-3 small grills/fire rings; hiking trails; composting toilets (clean but no running water that I saw anywhere).
Free for day use. Park is open to the public from dawn to dusk. Primitive camping is by permit only. For camping info call (407)742-0200
US 192 pass Steffee Landing, turn right/south on Pleasant Hill Road and look for the Brown park signs. Entrance is at the intersection of Pleasant Hill Road and Marsh Road in Kissimmee
Www.Osceola.org has a downloadable pamphlet with aerial photography of the island. DOCKING COORDINATES are: 28�14'51.94"N / 81�24'39.58"W