Explore the Beautiful St. Johns River

The St. Johns River at Sunset
Photo by Donna Kaluzniak

Every time I cross over the St. Johns River and see the sun glinting off the water's surface, I'm still amazed at the power and beauty of the river. I wanted to highlight the St. Johns and show it some much deserved appreciation in my blog.

Florida's St. Johns River meanders lazily for 310 miles from Blue Cypress Lake in Indian River County to the Atlantic Ocean at Jacksonville. Designated an American Heritage River, it is one of the few rivers in the world that flows north. Three basins comprise the river:

The upper (south) basin is one of open marshes, connected shallow lakes, reservoirs and canals. A string of major connected lakes - including Lakes Harney, Jesup, and Monroe form the middle basin. And the lower range of the St. Johns River, partially fed by numerous springs, hosts Florida's 2nd largest lake - Lake George. With the added flows from its tributaries and springs, the river flows faster through the middle and lower basins to meet the Atlantic Ocean.

Photo by Allen Kaluzniak
The St. Johns River Water Management District's website hosts a multi-part virtual tour of the river with videos, photos, and maps. The tour also includes descriptions of some of the major projects and conservation areas, such as the Upper Basin Project

Also, discover the river in the movie Water's Journey: The River Returns, including a dive through its underground springs and even a trek through a storm system that drains to the river . And this video on the St. Johns River Blueway explores the varied sections of river through paddling, boating, fishing and more. 

Enjoy reading river adventures? One of my favorite books is River of Lakes A Journey on Florida's St. Johns River by Bill Belleville. Belleville boats, kayaks, and hikes the length of the river and even dives some of the springs that feed it. Along the way he speaks with scientists, fishermen, and historians as he weaves together the rivers physical, ecological and historical significance with his lyrical writing. 

Photo by Donna Kaluzniak

If you want to travel along the river, the River of Lakes Heritage Corridor is a National Scenic Byway where you can explore history, arts and culture, natural and recreational areas. William Bartram Scenic and Historic Highway (State Road 13) also follows the river along the lower basin.

The St. Johns River Alliance supported eco-heritage tourism on the river, with multiple videos on their YouTube Channel.

Photo by Donna Kaluzniak

Learn about the river's health by checking out the St. Johns River Report Card. And if you want to get involved with the river, the St. Johns Riverkeeper provides education and opportunities to help protect the river.

Photo by Allen Kaluzniak

The St. Johns River is a Florida jewel!


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