3 Summertime Happy Hour Paddles You Can’t Miss

BY SHANNON BLANKINSHIP, Outreach Director, St. Johns Riverkeeper

There has been a lot of talk about activating our river lately. Lots of initiatives are spinning around to revitalize and energize the tremendous waterfront Jacksonville offers. The best way to understand, explore and experience the river, is to get on the water. Here are some ways you can escape into your own backyard this summer and enjoy what we have to offer.


June 21: Pottsburg Creek Happy Hour Paddle

6pm, Beach Blvd. Boat Ramp – Pottsburg Creek flows underneath Beach Blvd in between All Wet Sports and the Jacksonville Humane Society. The exposed Cypress knees and Spanish moss draped across the water are something most people notice when crossing the Creek in this area. Big Pottsburg Creek is a spring-fed creek that flows to where it meets Little Pottsburg Creek. As the two creeks merge, they form the Arlington River before it flows into the main stem of the St. Johns River at Exchange Island. Join St. Johns Riverkeeper to explore this beautiful waterway before the sun sets as we paddle our way over the work-week hump.


 July 26: Julington Creek Happy Hour Paddle

6pm, Palmetto Leaves Regional Park – This paddle won’t include the mouth of Julington Creek recognizable when traveling across the SR 13 bridge between Duval and St. Johns County. Before it enters the St. Johns, Julington Creek is a shaded, narrow passageway that takes us back to the days when Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote about her 1872 picnic on the creek.  This dark, slow-moving waterway is lined with a diversity of flowering-plants, trees and wildlife. Join us to explore this impressive waterway. 

Aug 30: Cedar River Summertime Happy Hour Paddle

6pm, Curtis Lee Johnson Boat Ramp- This past year, Cedar River has taken a beating. JEA failures from Hurricane Matthew and a recent blockage in a sewer pipe have resulted in massive sewage spills. That being said, staying away from the river won’t help it. Rather, using the river and highlighting the incredible recreational opportunities provided by this urban waterway will demonstrate the importance of preventing future spills and of protecting and restoring the health of our creeks.

Sign up for these trips and more through www.stjohnsriverkeeper.org.

River Ruckus, Dragon Boats arrive at the RAM Dock
Dragon Boats arrive at the RAM Dock

Paddle Downtown

River Ruckus: August 26, 9am at the Riverside Arts Market

Paddling the St. Johns through downtown is such an experience. It is important to plan your trip to go with the tide, but we’ve done that work for you. Join us for a paddle, as we arrive at River Ruckus from the water and pass through the heart of our Downtown along the way.

Don’t feel like paddling? Learn about River Jam Sunset Cruises by the St. Johns River Taxi, Zoo Cruises, Science and History Cruises, narrated Eco Tours, and other offerings at www.jaxrivertaxi.com.

About Shannon Blankinship

Shannon Blankinship is the Outreach Director for St. Johns Riverkeeper and contributes regularly via the “On The River” column building awareness for the many issues that impact the St. Johns River. Shannon received her B.S. from Purdue University in Natural Resources Economics and Policy and her J.D. from Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville. She is currently an elected official in Duval County serving on the Soil and Water Conservation District. She is a board member for the local nonprofit The Girls Gone Green and regularly contributes articles affecting animals and health. She is a Springfield resident and works to promote all things great in the urban core neighborhoods.