Outdoor Water Activities in Clay County

With 39 miles of waterways throughout Clay County, there’s no better way to explore the area than being outdoors. While the St. Johns River is the main thoroughfare of area waterways, take time to explore the many creeks and tributaries offering a unique view of local nature and wildlife and relax outdoors.

Take a look at how to explore the waterways beyond the shoreline here in Clay County, Florida –

Go for a Swim at Spring Park

The centerpiece of Green Cove Springs is Spring Park, located along the banks of the St. Johns River and home to community events, numerous playgrounds, picnic areas and the city’s community pool. While it may appear that the Spring Park pool is just ‘another pool’, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

At 135,000-gallons, it is actually spring-fed with the spring water flowing into the west side of the municipal swimming pool and then flows out the east side forming a stream eventually emptying into the St. Johns River. The water comes from below at a rate of 1,346 gallons per minute and at a constant temperature of 77 degrees making it a popular spot for locals and visitors during the summer months.

Go Paddleboarding

Rent a paddleboard and set out on your own adventures. PADL, a self-service paddleboard rental company is similar to bike share programs. PADL allows boarders to locate a nearby station, rent and unlock a paddle board directly from a smartphone. All safety gear is included with the rental of the board. When the board and gear are returned to the station, riders can find a summary of their trip available in the mobile app.

PADL locations in Clay County can be found at Camp Chowenwaw, located on Black Creek in Green Cove Springs, Doctors Lake Park in Fleming Island and at the Main Street Boat Ramp in Middleburg. To learn more about PADL and get started on your own paddling adventure, download the PADL mobile app for iOS and Android at https://www.padl.co.

Where to Rent a Boat in Clay County

Don’t have a boat or didn’t bring your boat with you? No worries, you can rent a boat during your visit.

Located on Swimming Pen Creek connected to Doctors Lake, you can grab a bite to eat at Whitey’s Fish Camp and rent boats and kayaks from the adjacent bait & tackle shop. Fourteen-feet boats with and without motors are available for half-day and full-day rentals. Boat rentals are available on a first-come, first-serve basis – reservations are not accepted. Single and tandem kayaks, along with standup paddleboards are also available for rent. For those interested in putting their personal vessel in at Whitey’s boat ramp, there is a $5.00 fee on weekdays and $10.00 fee on Friday, Saturdays and Sundays.

For those in need of a relaxing day out on the water combined with fishing, locally-owned Boat Florida offers half-day and full-day rentals at the Doctors Lake Marina. Their Bennington 21 SSRC Pontoon boats, with a capacity for eight people, allow boaters to enjoy a leisurely day out along with fishing too. Other boat rentals include the Stingray 201DC – a good match for boaters looking to explore the sights of Clay County’s waterways or even tubing and boogie boarding off the back of the boat.

Where to Go Fishing in Clay County

Popular with the locals, most fisherman spend their time in Clay County along Black Creek, Doctors Lake and the adjacent St. Johns River. The vegetative Black Creek is deep and known for black crappie year-round and all riverine panfish like redfish and bluegill in the spring, summer and fall months. Typically, during the summer months striped bass take advantage of the creek’s cooler temperatures. In Doctors Lake, boaters have been catching mullets, blue catfish and channel catfish with its brackish water and warm temperatures.

The St. Johns River flows north through 12 counties in Florida eventually making its way to the Atlantic Ocean. With that, this river is known to be home to both saltwater and freshwater fish offering a variety of fishing opportunities. From largemouth bass to crappie, catfish and blue gills, the river is also an extremely popular area for catching shrimp too. Many shrimping boats can be found just south of the Buckman Bridge on the St. Johns River.

No matter whether you decide to fish on the shore or on the water, there are plenty of piers, boat ramps and kayak launches in Clay County.

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