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St. Johnís RIver

Old 04-26-2020, 05:02 PM
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Recently thought it might be an interesting trip up the the river. Maybe start somewhere near Sanford, go up to Jacksonville and then return. Would be trailering a 26 Pathfinder up from Fort Myers.

Any recommendations for boat ramps that allow parking for a couple days? Any hotels/motels on the river on the way to Jax? Any hotels with docks in Jax? And any recommendations on things to see or do on the river. Plan would be to relax, fish and explore on the trip. Maybe 2 days up to Jax and 2 days back.

thanks for any insight.
Old 04-26-2020, 05:16 PM
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A few years ago, we launched in DeLand (Ed stone marina maybe) and travelled north to Murphy island. We stopped at the springs off of Lake George. I'd recommend stopping there if your draft is shallow enough. We also stopped by an island south of one of the bridges (Astor possible) and had lunch. That place had some great campgrounds but we didn't need another night to stop. Cool trip. Awesome scenery.
Old 04-26-2020, 05:50 PM
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No hotels in Jax with dockage. You'll have to find a marina and then Uber somewhere. The city marina at Metro park is free I think and on the edge of downtown so plenty of hotels nearby. Security might be an issue but there is a fire station at the marina so it's probably Ok.

If you're doing this with someone else you might consider two cars, and leave one in Daytona and go up the St John's from Deland then back down the ICW to Daytona. You could do an overnight stop in St Augustine and stay at Conch House or leave the boat at the city marina overnight and use another hotel.
Old 04-26-2020, 06:41 PM
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Renegades On The River Restaurant, 1171 Co Rd 309, Crescent City, FL 32112

This is a nice place I have had lunch at before. Real clean.
They have cabins. I have not seen inside them but would hope they are as nice as everything else.
Old 04-26-2020, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by acme54321 View Post
No hotels in Jax with dockage. You'll have to find a marina and then Uber somewhere. The city marina at Metro park is free I think and on the edge of downtown so plenty of hotels nearby. Security might be an issue but there is a fire station at the marina so it's probably Ok.

If you're doing this with someone else you might consider two cars, and leave one in Daytona and go up the St John's from Deland then back down the ICW to Daytona. You could do an overnight stop in St Augustine and stay at Conch House or leave the boat at the city marina overnight and use another hotel.
kind of crazy all those hotels downtown Jax and several on the river, but no dockage.
Old 04-26-2020, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by wcffish View Post
Renegades On The River Restaurant, 1171 Co Rd 309, Crescent City, FL 32112

This is a nice place I have had lunch at before. Real clean.
They have cabins. I have not seen inside them but would hope they are as nice as everything else.
thanks. Iíll look into that. Looks like a good stopping place. The only other options I found just using google maps appeared to be in Palatka.
Old 04-27-2020, 05:54 AM
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Astor has cabins and i think a small cottage that has dock space. Been a long time since i stayed there. I was fine from what I remember.I doubt they are open at this moment however to get any information. Try googling castaways on the river astor
Old 04-27-2020, 07:00 AM
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We have docked at River City Marina in Jax and walked to the Hilton Double Tree on the river.
Old 04-27-2020, 07:11 AM
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I have done this a few times in both directions. You can launch and leave your rig at Lake Monroe Park (if it is open). Astor has a few places you can stay and is about halfway to Jax. Honestly, once you get past Palatka it loses its allure as SJR get's wide and less to see. Lot's of manatee zones so keep that in your trip planning.
Old 04-27-2020, 10:44 AM
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If you are looking to start in Sanford (which is a good idea as it gets pretty swampy south of Sanford) then you can launch at the Volusia county side of Lake Monroe Park. It is more secure than the Seminole county side. I have parked overnight there for camping trips to Hontoon Island.
Old 04-27-2020, 11:42 AM
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Another launching option if you want to start in Sanford would be to use the city ramp at the Monroe Harbor Marina right in downtown Sanford. I've used this city ramp several times and while there is truck & trailer parking at & around the ramp, I'm not sure you can leave your truck & trailer there more than a day or two? Next to the ramp is the Monroe Harbor Marina and it looked like they have room to store your truck & trailer in a fairly secure area - you can call about parking rights & cost at the marina. Monroe Harbour Marina
Old 04-27-2020, 02:39 PM
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Thanks for all the info so far. Looks like the best bet would be to launch at Lake Monroe Park on the northside of the river. Maybe get to Renegades on the River the first night. Go to Jacksonville the next day, dock at the River City Marina and overnight at the Doubletree. Then head back to Sanford, maybe finding somewhere different to stop on the way south.
Old 04-27-2020, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by northernsnooker2 View Post
kind of crazy all those hotels downtown Jax and several on the river, but no dockage.
AND they call it The River City!
Old 04-27-2020, 05:29 PM
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Looks like the Astor Bridge Marina and Motel is another possible stopping location.
Old 04-27-2020, 07:07 PM
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Astor inn is old but clean stayed there many times have outdoor grills and great shade trees just under 100 deer for the night.The blackwater across the way has good food. Defiantly stop at silver glen springs currently closed due to stupid virus one of the best stops in Florida, from Palatka up is wide deep and fast run its a great trip.
904-398-7918 jax marina i stayed there on my boat its secure with gate access i would feel safe leaving boat there try to slip close to shore, use extra lines as currents can rip through both ways.
Old 04-27-2020, 09:08 PM
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Do the short loop....it's on my list too.

Launch in Daytona and overnight the boats at the City Marina. Move your trailers to Sanford (45 min) and leave them at Monroe Harbour Marina. Get a friend or an Uber to run you back to Daytona.

First day: Daytona to Jacksonville. You can stop in St Augustine, Matanzas, etc... It's an 80 mile run or so up the ICW to the St Johns. Come back up the St Johns. You can tie up at River City Marina and stay at the Doubletree.
Second Day: Jacksonville to either Palatka or Astor. Palatka has a hotel right on the river...used to be a Holiday Inn but I think it's something else now. Or stretch out the day and run to Astor and stay there. Make sure to hit Silver Glen as you cross Lake George.
Day 3: Astor to Sanford. Hontoon Island and Blue Springs are worth stopping at.
Old 04-28-2020, 05:57 AM
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Check with River City Marina. Their docks were all but destroyed in the last hurricane and repairs have not even begun if I've not mistaken. They probably don't have any transient dockage available.

Crystal Cove Riverfront Resort in Palatka has rooms and dockage. As other's have suggested, not much to see once you get north of Palataka. Maybe go as far as south Jacksonville and/or Orange Park. If things are re-opened by then a stop for a meal at Whitey's on Doctor's Lake, Clarks Fish Camp on Julington Creek or Wicked Barley Brewery on Goodby's Creek would be cool stop. Also a trip up Black Creek would showcase what Florida waterways used to look like a hundred years ago, many stretches of the creek without homes.

DM if you need specifics.
Old 04-28-2020, 06:20 AM
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I would think twice about Astor. I have eaten there several times and did not like the food. It seemed like cheap frozen meals. I only ate at the place by the bridge.
Old 04-28-2020, 06:49 AM
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If you do the loop stay in St Augustine. City Marina is within walking distance to hotels, or the Conch House has rooms.
Old 04-28-2020, 08:05 AM
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Take your time in the wild parts of the river. There are wonderful undeveloped areas to explore full of wild life that you will miss if you just run by them. There are numerous spring runs - many that you can traverse if your boat has the proper draft. The Wekiva is wonderful miles long old Florida river winding all the way up to the spring head and most of it navigable in a shallow draft boat. Do your research and check out some of these spring fed river branches - these are also great areas to anchor up overnight. Do be aware that these are remote wild areas with lots of Alligators and Bears.

If you want to do the full length then Sanford is a good choice, otherwise Deland at State Road 44 has a great ramp and you can leave your rig there for free. If you put in at Deland I would still run South for 10 miles or so so you don't miss those areas in between Sanford such as the aforementioned Wekiva and the other spring runs. There are also state parks like Blue Springs and Hontoon Island which has a marina which are worth exploring in that area as well.

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