Big Bend - Saltwater Paddling Trail - Campsites and Trip Options
Purchase the paddling guide for directions and GPS coordinates for each campsite. You must make your own arrangements for staying at Econfina River State Park (site 1), if the primitive site is not available, and at Steinhatchee (site 6). The six remaining primitive campsites require a camping permit and may only be used by paddlers on the Big Bend Saltwater Paddling Trail. Most of the sites will give paddlers a true flavor of Gulf Coast wilderness. No other camping is allowed on Big Bend Wildlife Management Area. The primitive campsites have a fire ring, but no bathroom facilities or potable water.
Site 1: A primitive campsite is located about a mile upriver from the boat ramp in Econfina River State Park [GPS = 30° 04.28’ N, 83° 53.80’ W]. Shoals just above a small bridge before the campsite may be challenging at low tide. If this is the case, wait at the boat landing before attempting again with a rising tide. The site is free and requires no permit. However, the park would like to be notified so they can gauge use; call 850-487-7989. If the primitive site is occupied, arrange for camping through the park concessionaire, The Econfina River Resort. Call 850-584-2135 or visit their store, which is closed on Mondays.
Site 2: Rock Island. This is a remote, scenic island of about twenty acres. Camping is on the west side of the island in a small cleared area with a fire ring, partially shaded by live oaks. The island can be buggy in warm weather, especially if standing water is present.
Site 3: Spring Warrior Creek. This campsite is nestled along scenic Spring Warrior Creek about a half mile upstream of the town of Spring Warrior. Campers will enjoy a full view of the river and night sky.
Site 4: Sponge Point. Just past Keaton Beach, Sponge Point offers camping in a shady grove of live oaks with spectacular sunrise and sunsets viewed from the point. Churned up earth is evidence of rooting by feral hogs. Keep a distance from the prickly pear cactus.
Site 5: Dallus Creek. Located in a remote hammock at the mouth of Dallus Creek, the site may be difficult to access at low tide. Walk down a short path to reach the campsite in a grassy area beneath weathered live oaks. Be watchful of rattlesnakes during warm weather. If time allows, paddle about a mile upstream to the boat ramp to stretch your legs on a scenic, mile-long loop hike through restored long-leaf pine habitat.
Site 6: Steinhatchee. Tasty seafood, friendly locals and overnight lodging can be found in this charming, quaint town. Its a welcome place to recharge after days of wilderness adventure.
Site 7: Sink Creek. Camping is in a wild and remote hardwood site with excellent fishing and wildlife viewing. Migrating white pelicans shelter in this pristine habitat and the night sky explodes with stars. Hike behind the campsite along the edge of the marsh and film twisted remnants of skeletal trees, a full moon makes it even more striking. Low tide may make access difficult so time arrival and departure carefully with high tides.
Site 8: Butler Island. Camping is beneath shady cedars, live oaks and palms that frame an unforgettable vista of the Gulf. This scenic site is peppered with shell middens left by early Native Americans. Fishing is excellent here and great observation spot for seasonally migrating birds. Look out for poison ivy.
There are multiple trip options along the 155-mile paddling trail. The 105-mile section managed by FWC between Aucilla River and the town of Suwanee offers six popular trips.
Trip 1 covers the entire trail (9 days/8 nights), while other options are for 3-day/2-night trips, 5-day/4-night trips, or 6-day/5-night trips. All trips below are described traveling from north to south although it is now possible to travel in either direction. We offer single nights as well, a great introduction to the Big Bend Saltwater Paddling Trail or a good option when you can’t commit to a multi-night trip. Single night reservations are available for Rock Island, Spring Warrior, Sponge Point, Dallus Creek, Sink Creek and Butler Island and may be reserved no more than 1 month in advance. The 6-day/5-night trips combine Trips 2 and 3 (Trip 5) and Trips 3 and 4 (Trip 6).
Trip 1 covers the entire 105 miles, beginning at the Aucilla River, and ending at the town of Suwannee. The trip takes 9 days and 8 nights to complete. There are 7 designated primitive campsites and 1 or 2 nights where you must use private camping or lodging (see above). The Suwannee Community Center, at the end of CR 349, has granted permission for overnight parking in front of their building and a public launch is available in the canal beside the building. You can also camp or stay overnight and launch at Bill's Fish Camp, a.k.a. Anderson's Landing.
Trip 2 begins at the Aucilla River and ends at the town of Spring Warrior. Camping is at Econfina River State Park and Rock Island.
Trip 3 begins at the town of Spring Warrior and ends at Steinhatchee. Camping is at Sponge Point and Dallus Creek.
Trip 4 begins at Steinhatchee and ends at the town of Suwannee. Camping is at Sink Creek and Butler Island. The Suwannee Community Center, at the end of CR 349, has granted permission for overnight parking in front of their building and a public launch is available in the canal beside the building. You can also camp or stay overnight and launch at Bill's Fish Camp, a.k.a. Anderson's Landing.
Trip 5 begins at the Aucilla River and ends at Steinhatchee. Camping is at Econfina River State Park, Rock Island, Spring Warrior, Sponge Point and Dallus Creek.
Trip 6 begins at the town of Spring Warrior and ends at the town of Suwannee. Camping is at Sponge Point, Dallus Creek, Steinhatchee, Sink Creek and Butler Island. The Suwannee Community Center, at the end of CR 349, has granted permission for overnight parking in front of their building and a public launch is available in the canal beside the building. You can also camp or stay overnight and launch at Bill's Fish Camp, a.k.a. Anderson's Landing.