Paddle Little Lake Johnson

A row of canoes sits on the banks of a lake ringed by trees.

Have you ever experienced the quiet calm of gliding across a lake on a day when you feel like the only person in the world?

This could very well be your experience when you take a paddling trip at Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park. Eight canoes are available for rent at the beach, but feel free to bring your own canoe, kayak or paddleboard.

  • If you want a shorter trip, rent canoes for $4, per hour, and get a taste of what paddling is like.
  • If you have a little more experience, take a longer trip for a half-day (four hours) for $10 or a full day (eight hours) for $20.

Stop by the ranger station to get your paddles and life jackets and you can be on your way - but be careful who you canoe with - you never know what could happen!

Little Lake Johnson and the park at large is home to a variety of wildlife such as freshwater turtles, including the Florida softshell and the more common Peninsula cooter, as well as plenty of fish and wading birds.

Bring a fishing pole or camera and take a trip around the lake for a closer encounter with these awesome native species.

Paddling in Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park also connects you to past travelers. During a recent drought, a prehistoric dugout canoe was found in the muddy lake bottom. Perhaps these people too were drawn to the shimmering surface of the lake. It seems to call to those on its banks, beckoning any lover of the water to come out and navigate its calm and tranquil surface.

If you want to experience one of the best features of this premier state park, then grab a paddle and enjoy the water.