Do you enjoy kayaking or canoeing? The Withlacoochee River starts in the Green Swamp near Orlando and meanders through state forest and undeveloped land for 141 miles then empties into the Gulf in Yankeetown. It is Florida’s fourth longest river. You can paddle day after day and see different segments each time.

The river is designated a Florida Outstanding Waterway and is unusual in that it flows north. It is uncrowded and unspoiled yet one of Florida’s most scenic paddles.

It is also rich in history. Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto visited there — a mass grave near the river on the McGregor Smith Scout Reservation is evidence — and Seminole warrior Osceola frequented the region.

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Paddle under the beautiful cypress trees draped in Spanish moss with cypress knees on the shoreline.

There are plenty of birds to see, turtles lined up on branches just out of the water and an occasional alligator shows itself in the somewhat dark, tannin-stained water.

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