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Florida’s St. Johns River: To Go or Not… Is It Worth it?


A number of you have made the trip upstream on the beautiful St. Johns River and can certainly offer answers to these questions from Jeff and Joy as posted on AGLCA’s Forum. The Waterway crosses the St. Johns River west of the St. Johns Inlet at Mile 740.

Hello Loopers
We have 4-6 days available to go up the St Johns River from Jacksonville. That’s round trip. We would travel approx 50 miles per day at most. Is it worth it? Will we get far enough to see the Old Florida it’s known for? If so what are a few good anchorages to stop at on the side trip?
Jeff and Joy
M/V Tidings Of Joy

Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of St Johns/AICW Intersection

Comments from the Cruisers' Net Community (5)

  1. Tom Dove -  April 25, 2017 - 4:48 pm

    We brought our new-to-us Grand Banks 32 up the St. Johns river in mid-March of this year and found it quite pleasant. From Jacksonville to about Palatka is not special, but between Palatka and Lake Monroe it is quite diverse and scenic. Lake Monroe is very shallow now after a dry winter but the rest of the river is fine.
    You will probably see ‘gators, perhaps manatees, and lots of birds. The side creeks are secluded and wild once the local fishermen go back to camp in the evening. It’s very different from the rest of Florida and reminiscent of the Waccamaw river in South Carolina.
    No problems with bugs then but we are now approaching the “Blind Mosquito” season and things may be changing. I wouldn’t make the trip in summer. Carry screens.
    Waterway Guide and Skipper Bob are good resources for the trip.
    — Tom

    Reply
  2. Ted Guy -  April 22, 2017 - 12:35 pm

    Several years ago (2005?) we went up the St. Johns from Jacksonville to Sanford in our 35 ft Luhrs Alura express cruiser. Took four or five days with lots of stops for sight seeing, meals, exploring etc. It was one of the most beautiful cruises we’ve ever done. Unspoiled old Florida! Don’t miss it if you have the chance! Welaka was a very interesting stop, with an antique boat museum. Had our boat shipped via truck back to Stuart, FL (home).

    Reply
    • Drew -  June 24, 2017 - 3:09 pm

      Hi Ted,
      Would you mind telling me who you used to ship your boat back to Stuart?
      Thanks
      DREW

      Reply
  3. Susan Stearns -  April 22, 2017 - 9:29 am

    Back in the 1980’s I kept my sailboat in Palatka periodically. My favorite part of the St. John’s is the stretch from Palatka to Lake George. Yes, the springs areas on the edge of the lake are fun, and a great canoeing or dinghy access to the runs up to the springs. I always loved anchoring behind the Seven Sisters just a few hours up river from Palatka. Lots of gators to see, and back then was not very much used. Not sure how it all looks these days. The run from Jax up to Palatka is pretty wide, and not very interesting to me.

    Reply
  4. Tamara & Kim Ransom -  April 20, 2017 - 9:29 am

    Clever Jeff & Joy. Going up the St. Johns, means you will be going South. Only the St. John’s and the Nile flow South to North – I think. Anyway, we know the Sanford, Florida end of the St. John’s and have run North as far as Lake George. It is A Lot of Cypress Trees, Osprey, an ocassional Bald Eagle & a few gators. The Water is tinged Red from all the Cypress Trees, but if you make it to Lake George, on the NorthWest corner, is Silver Glenn Springs. You are not likely to get a trawler in there, but your dink could show you some seriously Clear & Cool/Cold water – 72 degrees – spring fed. It is a Bit of a Party Spot on the weekends – can be a lot of fun. We don’t think it is an overly exciting stretch, a lot of the same, but to each his own.
    Tamara & Kim Ransom

    Reply

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