Top Ten Kid-Tested Rivers

Suwannee River, Georgia and Florida
By Buck Tilton

Out of Georgia's Okefenokee Swamp, past moss-laden cypresses and tupelos, the blackwater of the Suwannee River flows easily for 240 miles to the Gulf of Mexico. Below Ellaville, Florida, the river widens and slows past buildings and bridges, losing much of its quiet Old Southern charm. It's the first 35 undeveloped miles or so that you should see anyway, from Fargo, Georgia, to Big Shoals, just above White Springs, Florida.

There's a take-out at Big Shoals before the river drops over Florida's most dramatic version of "whitewater." If you want to add another half-day to the trip, walk from the take-out down to the shoals for a look. You might decide you're competent to make the run, or you can portage approximately 200 yards around the drop.

White sandy spits, with room for kids to run, offer fine camping on the upper river. Avoid camping where dirt roads, indications of private land, approach the river.


When: Go in October or early November when the heat and humidity has dwindled and the bug swarms have thinned.

Canoe rentals are available. No permits are required.

For more info: Florida Department of Natural Resources, Office of Greenways and Trails, 325 John Knox Road, Bldg. 500, Tallahassee, FL 32303-4124; (904) 488-3701

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