If you’re looking for kayaking in St. Marys, you’re certainly looking in the right place! Cumberland Island National Seashore Park Headquarters, the St. Marys Welcome Center and Up The Creek Xpeditions are all located in the same block of the St. Marys Riverfront — with only the Riverview Hotel separating them. And with the Okefenokee Swamp only 40-minutes west of St. Marys, and Crooked River State Park only a 10-15 minute drive from downtown St. Marys, there’s definitely more paddling here than you’ll have time to do in one visit.
When coming into St. Marys on Highway 40, you’ll notice Highway 40 becomes Osborne Road and then Osborne Street before ending at the Riverview Hotel across from the Waterfront pavilion in St. Marys. The Riverview Hotel, a historic landmark on the St. Marys River, is a favorite among paddlers because of their perfect location, great rates, world-class dining and Seagles Saloon. Standing up between The Riverview Hotel and Up The Creek’s St. Marys location is a 17′ tall, blue sea kayak you simply cannot miss. If you park your car right there, you are only a few footsteps from Cumberland Island Park Headquarters, Up The Creek, the St. Marys Welcome Center, Seagles Saloon, the Riverview Hotel, and several excellent restaurants and shops.
St. Marys is an excellent base for kayaking to Cumberland Island — with boat ramps and docks on the waterfront and Crooked River State Park only a few minutes away. The trip to Cumberland Island, as well as the visit on the island itself, makes this one of those must-do trips for avid paddlers; and the local paddling in the St. Marys River and estuaries is a destination all its own.
St. Marys is within minutes of numerous tidal marshes and tidal creeks as well as black water creeks and swamps. Wildlife is abundant in Southeast Georgia and Northeast Florida; and you are sure to collect many beautiful memories of our local flora and fauna as you explore the dark waters and natural treasures around St. Marys.
To make your trip a success, make sure to prepare! Make sure to bring and use personal flotation devices; and bring plenty of water and something to eat. Also, dress appropriately for the weather and the activity. The weather and water temperatures in this area are typically mild year-round; but an unexpected storm or cold front can ruin your trip if you aren’t prepared for it. It’s always a good idea to pack an extra fleece top and dry socks in a dry bag with a snack during cooler weather. You may not need it; but if you do, you’ll be glad you have it!
Also, the Southeast Georgia and Northeast Florida coast has a dramatic tidal range — sometime as much as a 10-foot difference between high and low tide. The accompanying current can also ruin your day by turning a leisurely sight-seeing jaunt into a sporting event. Check the tides before paddling in or around St. Marys — especially in the Crooked River!
If you are familiar with kayaking in St. Marys, then you’re probably familiar with Up The Creek Xpeditions — and Jen and Pete Koerner. If so, then you already know how willing they are to help paddlers find the information they need to make their kayaking experience a success. Give them a call for some expert advice and accurate information on local waters and tidal information before your next paddling adventure in St. Marys. They can be reached at: Up The Creek Xpeditions, 111 Osborne Street, St. Marys, Georgia 31558. (912)882-0911.
Stay tuned for links to local food, beverage, lodging and entertainment!