Updated: Oct 26
Sandspur Island marks the Start of the Intracoastal Waterway. The waterway consists of natural inlets, man-made canals, bays, and rivers that provide a navigable route for commercial and recreational vessels along the entire east coast as far as New York City. The waterway is maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and is used by a variety of vessels, including commercial barges, recreational boats, and even military vessels.
If you are making your way up or down the east coast, you should be able to make progress every day, by paddling through the intracoastal during bad weather, and jumping to the ocean side at the nearest inlet when conditions allow you to.
Be aware however, that tidal currents at the various inlets can be very strong, and you may find yourself waiting for the tide to turn in order to get in or out.
If you are heading north and you have arrived at Sandspur Island or at the nearby Oleta State Park after late morning, I would recommend camping in the area.
Sandspur Island has plenty of good spots to pitch a tent (though not technically legal to spend the night so beware of the Police), but the island is plagued with racoons, who are habituated to getting food. They will readily grab anything left unattended, so keep your food inside the sealed hatches.
The next 30 miles of the Intracoastal is the Condo Canyon. High rises and skyscrapers line both sides of the channel and landing spots are few, with no place to camp.
Also be weary of tunneled winds. The air currents get funneled between buildings and have a lot of strength. One moment will be completely calm, and then suddenly it will feel like you stepped into a hurricane.
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