May 11, 2023
Explore Clay County, Florida’s 39 Miles of Waterways
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 the waterways you’ll find in Clay County, Florida!
St. Johns River
At 310 miles long, the St. Johns River is the longest river in Florida. It is also one of the few rivers in the world that flows north. Boaters can access the river from both Black Creek and Doctors Lake. Enjoy a day out on the waters fishing and getting a great view of Clay County from the water
At 13 miles long, Black Creek is a tributary to the St. Johns River. As a popular spot for wakeboarders and sport boats, fishing boats make their way into these waters for the latest catches. Black Creek is also home to the local’s favorite rope swing, popular with families for boat picnics and great views along the water. Black Creek splits into two tributaries creating North Fork Black Creek and South Fork Black Creek in the Middleburg area.
Boating, fishing and waterskiing are common recreational activities along Doctors Lake, located just off of the St. Johns River. Adjacent to Highway 17, boat rentals are available at nearby Boat Florida Rentals. For those looking for a bite to eat, sail through Doctors Lake to Swimming Pen Creek, home to the popular Whitey’s Fish Camp.
In Keystone Heights, the lakes are unique in that they do not have a creek or stream to supply them with water. Instead, the flow comes from the Surficial Aquifer gathering water from the water table and pressurized waters from the Floridan Aquifer and the Intermediate Aquifer. The boat ramp and surrounding areas offer scenic views with live oak canopies draping the roads and waterways.
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 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.
New to the Clay County scene – self-service paddleboard rentals courtesy of PADL. If you don’t own a paddleboard or maybe you’re traveling and couldn’t bring yours from home, or maybe you want to try something new – this new experience is for you!
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’s first location in Clay County is at Camp Chowenwaw, located on Black Creek in Green Cove Springs. Located conveniently near the kayak launch, boarders can enjoy easy access from sunrise to sunset. Other PADL locations in Clay County include, Doctors Lake Park in Fleming Island and the Main Street Boat Ramp in Middleburg.
Whether you choose to do a bit of boarding and yoga or go on a fishing adventure in the nearby St. Johns River, PADL allows you to choose your own adventure with their easily accessible boards.
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.
From lakes, creeks, a spring-fed community pool and more, explore a variety of waterways and make memories during your time in Clay County. For more information on planning your visit, go to www.ExploreClay.com.