10 Longest and Most Beautiful Rivers in Florida
|Rivers of Florida. Photo: KnowInsiders|
When you think of Florida, you most likely envision white sandy beaches, but you might be surprised to learn that there are some truly incredible Florida rivers as well!
These rivers are quite captivating and peaceful, so they are perfect points of interest for any Florida itinerary!
While visiting the Florida rivers, you might get a glimpse of turtles, alligators, egrets, blue herons, and more! Don’t forget to bring your camera along because you never know what you might see along the Florida waterways.
The List of 10 Longest and Most Beautiful Rivers in Florida
|Rank||River||Length (miles)||Length (km)|
|1||Appalachicola River/Chattahoochee River||430||690|
|2||St. Johns River||310||500|
Which are the Longest and Most Beautiful Rivers in Florida?
1. Apalachicola River
|Photo: The National Wildlife Federation Blog|
The Apalachicola River has a massive watershed called the ACF River Basin (Apalachicola River, Chattahoochee River, and Flint River), which drains an area of approximately 19,500 square miles. Eventually, all three rivers that make up the ACG River Basin drain into the Gulf of Mexico. The Apalachicola River begins at the convergence of the Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers, close to the town of Chattahoocheer. The river is only known as the Apalachicola River in Florida, and is called the Chattahoochee River outside of the state. The river links the Gulf Coast and the coastal plains to the Appalachian Mountains. In addition, until it reaches the Jackson River, it serves as the division line between Florida’s Eastern and Central time zones.
|The Apalachicola River, known outside the state as the Chattahoochee River, has a length of about 430 miles and is the longest in Florida. The St. Johns River is the second longest, with a length of 310 miles, while the Suwannee River is the third longest with a length of 246 miles. The Ochlockonee River and Alapaha River rank as the fourth and fifth longest rivers in Florida, with lengths of 206 miles and 202 miles, respectively. The two shortest rivers in Florida are the Choctawhatchee River and the Withlacoochee River with approximate lengths of 141 miles each.|
2. St. Johns River
|Photo: Castaways on the River|
The St. Johns River is the longest among all rivers in Florida that begin and end within the state. The river is also the most important within Florida in terms of recreational and commercial purposes. The river originates from the St. Johns Marsh in Indian River County, and eventually drains into the Atlantic Ocean in Duval County.
3. Suwannee River
|Photo: Florida State Parks|
The Suwannee River is one of the most well-known rivers in the whole of Florida, and for good reason. Its beautiful blackwaters stretch for nearly 250 miles and are known and loved for everything from their rapids to the stunning limestone along the banks. If you’re planning a visit, it’s a great spot for watching the wildlife or for canoeing along the river. You can even follow it all the way along to the Gulf of Mexico.
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4. Ochlockonee River
|Photo: Tallahassee Democrat|
The Ochlockonee River is a fast-running river, except where it has been dammed to form Lake Talquin in Florida, originating in Georgia and flowing for 206 miles before terminating in Florida.
The Ochlockonee River corridor is home to many threatened fish, wildlife and plant species. It has been designated under the State of Florida's Outstanding Florida Waters program and has been identified by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission as a Strategic Habitat Conservation Area.
Rare animals that can be found along the Ochlockonee include red-cockaded woodpecker, least tern, and the Apalachicola dusky salamander. The river is especially rich in rare freshwater mussels (Unionidae), including three federally listed endangered species: the Ochlockonee moccasinshell, the Shinyrayed pocketbook, and the Oval pigtoe. "The Florida maybell tree can be found only along the Ochlockonee and Chipola Rivers.
The Ochlockonee is connected to and a source of water for Lake Iamonia, especially during flooding.
5. Alapaha River
The Alapaha River is a 202-mile-long river in southern Georgia and northern Florida in the United States. It is a tributary of the Suwannee River, which flows to the Gulf of Mexico.
The Alapaha River is an intermittent river for part of its course. During periods of low volume, the river disappears underground and becomes a subterranean river. At approximately 2.3 miles (3.7 km) downstream from Jennings, Florida the Dead River enters the Alapaha River. It is a usually dry river bed with a number of sinkholes, including the Dead River Sink. During periods of low water flow, the Alapaha River downstream from the confluence of the Dead River and the Alapaha River flows upstream into the Dead River.
6. Conecuh River
|Photo: Partners Realty|
The Conecuh River and Escambia River constitute a single 258-mile-long (415 km) river in Alabama and Florida in the United States.
The Conecuh River rises near Union Springs in the state and flows 198 miles (319 km) in a general southwesterly direction into Florida near Century. The river's name changes from the Conecuh to the Escambia at the junction of Escambia Creek, 1.2 miles (1.9 km) downstream from the Florida-Alabama line. After this point, the Escambia River flows 60 miles (97 km) south to Escambia Bay, an arm of Pensacola Bay.
7. Pea River
The Pea River is a 154-mile-long tributary of the Choctawhatchee River near Geneva, Alabama, United States. It is a popular destination for those with canoes and other small boats, as well as fishermen seeking bass, sunfish, or mullet.
Bass, bream, shell crackers, mullet, and catfish are caught in the river. Mullet make the trip up from the Gulf of Mexico to feed on the moss that grows on the "rock" walls of the river (actually more of a clay-like substance, probably blue-marl clay, referred to sometimes as soapstone, because it is so slippery when wet) periodically, and a large number are caught from time to time. Bass is more of a challenge.
Historically, the river has been home to sturgeon, who were fished commercially in the early 1900s. Since they have been protected, the sturgeon are making a comeback, and sturgeon as long as six feet long have been seen jumping near the junction in Geneva. Dr. Dwayne Fox did research for his Ph.D. in the Choctawhatchee and Pea Rivers by radio-tagging sturgeon in the Gulf of Mexico and tracking them up the Choctawhatchee and Pea Rivers upstream of Geneva. He even was able to collect samples of eggs to prove they were breeding in the Pea and Choctawhatchee rivers.
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8. Indian River
The Indian River is located on the East Coast of Florida in Volusia County. Along the Indian River there are over 2,000 plant species, 600 different types of fish, and 300 different varieties of birds.
The Indian River is well-known for being home to West Indian Manatees and the Eastern Indigo Snake. Anglers will be excited to hear that the top catches are Speckled Trout, Snook, Redfish, and Tarpon.
Not sure where to start when it comes to fishing? Well, no worries there, because charter fishing is available and it is a great opportunity for a novice angler to learn a few tips and tricks. Wade fishing and kayak fishing are also very common methods that are used in the Indian River.
9. Choctawhatchee River
|Photo: Walton Outdoors|
The Choctawhatchee River is a 141-mile-long river in the southern United States, flowing through southeast Alabama and the Panhandle of Florida before emptying into Choctawhatchee Bay in Okaloosa and Walton counties. The river, the bay and their adjacent watersheds collectively drain 5,350 square miles (13,900 km2).
The Choctawhatchee originates as two separate forks (East Fork and West Fork) in Barbour County, Alabama; the East Fork flows through Henry County and joins the West Fork in eastern Dale County about four miles (6 km) above Newton.
The unified river then flows southwest through Dale and Geneva counties into Florida, collecting tributaries along the way: the Little Choctawhatchee River in Dale County, and the Pea River near Geneva. It then flows south into Florida, terminating at Choctawhatchee Bay. Other Alabama tributaries are Claybank Creek and Tight Eye Creek.
Once in Florida, the river continues southwesterly through Holmes, Walton and Bay counties until reaching its namesake bay. Major tributaries in Florida include Holmes, Wright, Sandy, Pine Log, Seven Run and Bruce creeks. Choctawhatchee Bay empties into the Gulf of Mexico at East Pass near Destin, Florida.
10. Withlacoochee River
|Photo: Southwest Florida Water Management District|
Like the St. John’s, the Withlacoochee River flows north, and like the Hillsborough River, it originates in the Green Swamp. The river is 141 miles long and flows into the Gulf of Mexico in Yankeetown, a small city along the northern Gulf Coast. It merges briefly with the Rainbow River in Dunnellon, around Rainbow Springs State Park and Lake Rousseau in Inglis.
The Withlacoochee is prone to flooding, but in the dry seasons, it provides miles of hiking, camping, horseback riding, and wildlife viewing. Large cypress trees line its banks and in some spots, sit in the middle of the river. Some of its best points include Withlacoochee River Park as well as the Citrus Tract and Croom Tract of the Withlacoochee State Forest. Towns along the river provide fishing expeditions and airboat rides.
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