Exploring the Natural Beauty of the St Johns River

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St Johns River West Volusia

St Johns River West Volusia, view from the St Johns Eco Tours pontoon. Photo: Cesar Diaz, all rights reserved.

The St. Johns River is the longest river in Florida, spaning 310 miles it winds it’s way through twelve counties.  Often described as “lazy” the St Johns river has a flow rate of only 0.3 mph. Brimming with wildlife and natural beauty there is no better way to discover it’s secrets than traveling along this waterway on a boat.

St Johns River Eco Cruise

We live in Florida but rarely get the opportunity to enjoy it’s natural beauty so we where excited to have been invited on a press trip by the West Volusia Tourism Board. Among the many attractions we visited and fun things we did while on our trip to West Volusia our favorite was the St. John’s River Eco Tour : for a two hours we took a voyage on a pontoon through the back waters of one of the most protected areas of the river.

alligator in St Johns River Florida

Dough and Capt. Jeanne where very knowledgable not only about the wildlife and the history of river but they where also wonderful with the kids.  They made the trip interesting telling us about the different animals, their nicknames and their stories.

St Johns River Eco Tours

My little guys driving the Niad under the supervision of Capt.Jeanne. Photo: Cesar Diaz, all rights reserved.

I  was a little worried that my 6 year old would get bored stuck on a slow moving boat for 2 hours but both him and my 9 year old daughter had a wonderful time spotting birds, turtles and alligators along the riverbank with the binoculars they got from Dough.  Capt. Jeanne even let the kids drive the boat.  My little guy even complained when it was over saying it felt more like 20 minutes than 2 hours.

barred owl

During the cruise we got the opportunity to experience the breathtaking scenery and diverse wildlife and to get up close and personal to many of the birds and animales that make the St Johns river their home.  We saw alligators, turtles, osprey, little blue herons, great egrets, purple gallinules, great blue herons, red hawks and barred owls.

Little blue heron

Little blue heron. Photo: Cesar Diaz, all rights reserved.

great blue heron

Great blue heron. Photo: Cesar Diaz, all rights reserved.

As we sailed along the tranquil waters and heard Dough telling us about the river’s local inhabitants it felt as if we where being welcomed into his home and as he pointed to an alligator nest or to a family of Barred owls he talked about them as if he where introducing family members and friends.  By the time the cruise was over we all felt a new found appreciation for the St. Johns River and for the real Florida and it’s captivating mystique.

Ospray fishing

Osprey fishing on the St Johns river. Photo: Cesar Diaz, all rights reserved.

There’s no better way to immerse yourself in the beauty of the St. Johns River than on a boat tour, specially when guided by people who not only know the area, the wildlife and the history but who are passionate about it’s conservation and preservation.

turtles on the St Johns River

Turtles on the St Johns River. Photo: Cesar Diaz, all rights reserved. 

For more information about the river cruises along the St Johns river visit the St Johns Eco Tours website, like St Johns Eco Tours on Facebook and follow @capt_jeanne on twitter to to stay informed about the latest wildlife sightings and enjoy Dough Little’s awesome nature photography !

Osprey

An osprey scans the horizon perched atop a cypress on the banks of the St Johns river. Photo: Cesar Diaz, all rights reserved.

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