The following activities are planned on Palatka’s riverfront
and within the County Saturday and Sunday:
We will offer kayak tours from the riverfront and Bartram guided tours
from Welaka and Seven Sisters Islands
SATURDAY: Kayaking from Palatka’s riverfront sponsored by Putnam Blueways & Trail
10:0AM – 4:00PM
Putnam Blueways & Trails is offering two 3-hour guided kayak trips to
places Bartram visited and wrote about.
SATURDAY: Paddling the Shoreline of Bartram’s Four Spring Hike
10:0AM – 1:00PM
Paddling the Shoreline of Bartram’s Four Spring Hike
On December 27, 1765, William Bartram and his father John hiked three miles along the shoreline of the St. Johns River, stopping at four different springs along the way (John Bartram’s Journal entry for December 27, 1765). This paddle will follow the shoreline of that hike stopping along the way at two of the four springs they visited. We will launch our kayaks at the soft landing in downtown Welaka and paddle downstream to Welaka Spring past the site where the Bartrams camped atop Johnson’s Bluff on the night of their historic hike. We will continue downstream past Nashua Spring to Satsuma Spring where we will go ashore and, standing in the footprints of the Bartrams, read their description of the site as it was over 250 years ago. We will return to our kayaks and paddle along the shoreline back to the launch site. This is a moderate 6 mile 3-4 hour paddle which includes a 20 minute stop at the halfway point. Paddlers should pack either a snack or lunch to enjoy along the way.
SUNDAY: Bartram Seven Sisters and Spalding’s Lower Store guided paddle
10:00am – 1:00pm
Paddling in the Wake of the Barge of Untutored Horses
This paddle will follow the route of the barge of untrained ponies as it navigated from Spalding’s Lower Store to the pastures on the European shore of the St. Johns River. Paddlers will meet at the Riverfront and caravan 5 miles (15 minutes) to the site of the Historic Spalding’s Lower Store at Stokes Landing near Palatka. We will launch at Bartram Trail Site 13 and navigate through Seven Sisters Islands to the east shore of the River stopping along the way at the likely location where William Bartram swam with the untutored horses when they leaped from the barge in the fall of 1774 (Travels page 304-305). Hard core Bartram aficionados will have the opportunity to stop and swim where Billy swam however this is entirely optional since, just as in Bartram’s day, alligators can still be seen lurking among the nearby lily pads. This is an easy 3 mile paddle that, like Bartram will “return safe to the trading-house” for the return drive to the Riverfront around noon.
We will guide two bicycle rides from the riverfront.
Friday Sept. 29th 2:00-4:00 p.m.: A 22 mile (roundtrip) guided bike tour will begin at the clock tower at the Riverfront, and wind through the S. Historic District of West Palatka to Stokes Landing and the site of “Spalding’s Lower Store,” mentioned often in Bartram’s Travels. Visit two of the three Bartram Kiosks. The return will offer an option of a 2 mile loop through Ravine Gardens ( entry fee) past a “Bartram site” at the garden club building, the Bartram Trout statue and end back at the Riverfront Park. Led by Adventure Cyclist trained Bob Stevens. – register @ Eventbrite.
Saturday, Sept.30th 2:00-4:00 p.m.: The “Historic Homes and Murals” of Palatka leisurely bike ride & guided tour (5-7 miles) will begin at the clock tower and weave through the North and South Historic District neighborhoods, stopping at various city murals along St. John’s Avenue, the Bartram Trout statue and up to Ravine Gardens ( entry fee) for a tour of the gardens before returning to the riverfront. Led by Bike Florida founder Linda Crider. All riders are requested to wear a helmet and bring a properly functioning bicycle. An air pump will be provided at the ride start as well as yellow safety vests. All rides are on local roads with light traffic. Some roads are brick so a more leisure pace will be employed. – register @ Eventbrite.
Bay Boat/Pontoon Boat Tours
- Available from the riverfront by local businesses ongoing from 11:00 – 5:00. For reservations contact:
- Kelly Redford, Crystal Cove Marina
- Tommy Collins, Great Day Charters
- Karen Chadwick, North Star Charters
- Mark Holz, Welaka Charters
- Kelly Redford, Crystal Cove Marina
For pontoon boat rentals, contact: