June 2017 – We launched at Hunter Springs Park for the easy, mile long paddle to Three Sisters Springs. Hunter Springs Park cost a few dollars to park but has bathrooms, places to rinse off, and an unloading zone in front of the nice launch. The launch is sandy so after unloading, you can just drag the boat right down to the water instead of having to carry it.
After launching, we navigated around the swimming area, which make for a great day in itself – the water is so pretty. The mile paddle was partly through channels lined with houses, so it was a different perspective than the places we normally paddled. The houses were really nice and interesting to admire, though. We reached a sign stating that we were entering Three Sisters Springs. The entrance is barricaded against boats, with just enough room for kayaks to maneuver through.
Since this was not high season for manatees, the springs were not nearly as busy as they usually are. There was only a handful of other people swimming or kayaking in the area. There were also a couple of people on the boardwalk (no water access from the boardwalk). If visiting the spring, be sure to not tie up your kayak on any of the rocks or vegetation. Several people were loudly scolded by the volunteer who sits on the boardwalk. If you want to snorkel, you can just let your kayak float since it can’t go far.
The springs were beautiful even with no manatees in them on the day we visited. After enjoying the view for awhile, we paddled back out and into Kings Bay. We navigated around a few islands and explored a bit. We sat still awhile to watch the fish jumping and a manatee periodically surfacing. The paddle back to Hunter Springs Park was just as easy and quick.