The Indian River Lagoon has dozens of kayak areas from south of Port Orange to Oak Hill but the only marked kayak trail is off the IRL Park managed by the Marine Discovery Center.
Mosquito Lagoon is a favorite place for many paddlers and is truly one of Florida’s treasures – described as “one of the top 10 places to paddle in the U.S.”
There are multiple places to launch but most frequented are: the National Seashore Park, the Indian River Lagoon Preserve Park, the third Ave and Peninsula launch, the Marine Discovery Center and the Spruce Creek launch.
Low tides expose mud flats and oyster bars that in fall, winter and spring attract a wide variety of wading birds and shorebirds; American oystercatchers are fairly easy to find. Dolphins and manatees are commonly seen in the deeper waters of the intra coastal waterway.
Throughout the lagoon you can stop on islands with white, sandy beaches – areas that are protected because of shallow water. Motorboats are unable to negotiate them, leaving them virtually untouched. Numerous wading birds, including roseate spoonbills and wood storks, shorebirds, ospreys, cormorants, brown pelicans and, in winter, white pelicans should be seen. Bald eagles are a good possibility. Look for a stunningly handsome, black-and-white shorebird with a big reddish-orange bill. Oyster bars in Mosquito Lagoon are likely places to see American oystercatchers.
Look down in the water and you may see horseshoe crabs, redfish, mullet and stingrays. There are many backwater areas where there are few visuals for positioning – thus the potential of getting turned around in a tight mangrove lined waterway that can quickly turn into a maze.
If you are not familiar with the area, it is highly recommended that you contact one of several kayak operators: the Marine Discovery Center, Beach Bike and Kayak, JB’s Fish Camp.