Exploring the Haulover Canal by Kayak

Imagine immersing yourself in the serene beauty of an untouched natural paradise as you glide effortlessly through calm waters, with nothing but the gentle rustle of marsh grasses and the occasional splash of a fish breaking the surface. This is the experience that awaits you as you embark on an unforgettable adventure exploring the Haulover Canal by kayak. With its pristine waters, abundant wildlife, and picturesque scenery, the Haulover Canal offers outdoor enthusiasts a chance to discover the wonders of Florida’s diverse ecosystem, all from the comfort of a kayak. Whether you’re a seasoned paddler or a beginner looking for a new hobby, this article will guide you through the must-see spots and essential tips for a memorable kayaking excursion on the Haulover Canal.

Exploring the Haulover Canal by Kayak

Location of Haulover Canal


The Haulover Canal is located in Brevard County, Florida, USA. It can be found at coordinates 28° 43′ 56″ N, 80° 49′ 41″ W.

Access Points

There are several access points for kayakers to launch into the Haulover Canal. One popular spot is the Haulover Canal Kayak Launch, conveniently located just off the State Road 3. Another access point is at Bairs Cove, which provides easy entry to the canal from the Indian River Lagoon. These access points make it convenient for kayakers to begin exploring the beauty and tranquility of the Haulover Canal.

History of Haulover Canal


The Haulover Canal has a rich history dating back to the late 1800s. It was originally established in 1884, connecting the Indian River Lagoon on the west side of Merritt Island to the Mosquito Lagoon on the east side. The canal was primarily used for transporting goods, allowing boats to avoid the treacherous journey around Cape Canaveral.

Use during World War II

During World War II, the Haulover Canal served a vital role in the defense strategy of the United States. The canal provided a shortcut for military vessels to access the Naval Air Station at Banana River, which played a significant role in training pilots for the war effort.

Post-war developments

After the war, the Haulover Canal continued to be used for commercial purposes until the 1960s. However, with the decline of the space industry in the region, the canal’s importance diminished. In the 1980s, the canal was designated as part of the Canaveral National Seashore, attracting outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers who appreciated the canal’s beauty and ecological significance.

Exploring the Haulover Canal by Kayak

Ecological Importance of Haulover Canal

Indian River Lagoon System

The Haulover Canal is a vital component of the Indian River Lagoon system, which is considered one of the most biodiverse estuaries in North America. The canal serves as a crucial link between the Indian River Lagoon and the Mosquito Lagoon, providing a habitat for various marine species and supporting their migration patterns.

Flora and Fauna

The Haulover Canal is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. While kayaking along the canal, you may spot a plethora of bird species, including ospreys, herons, and egrets, nesting in the mangroves. Additionally, manatees and dolphins frequent the canal, offering kayakers a unique opportunity to observe these majestic creatures up close. The canal is also known for its abundant fish population, making it an ideal spot for anglers.

Kayaking on Haulover Canal

Benefits of Kayaking

Kayaking on the Haulover Canal offers a multitude of benefits. Firstly, it allows you to intimately explore the canal’s stunning beauty and observe the wildlife without disturbing their natural habitat. Being on the water also provides a sense of tranquility and serenity, allowing you to connect with nature on a deeper level. Furthermore, kayaking provides a low-impact workout, engaging your entire body and improving your cardiovascular fitness.

Choosing the Right Kayak

When planning a kayaking adventure on the Haulover Canal, it is essential to select the right kayak for your needs. Consider factors such as stability, maneuverability, and storage capacity. Sit-on-top kayaks are popular options, as they provide stability and are easy to get in and out of. Additionally, ensure that your kayak is equipped with proper safety gear, such as a life jacket and safety whistle.

Safety Precautions

While kayaking on the Haulover Canal can be a delightful experience, it is crucial to prioritize safety. Always check the weather conditions before heading out and avoid kayaking in strong winds or inclement weather. It is also essential to stay alert and aware of boat traffic in the area. Remember to bring sunscreen, water, and snacks to stay hydrated and energized during your adventure.

Exploring the Haulover Canal by Kayak

Best Time to Kayak on Haulover Canal

Ideal Weather Conditions

The best time to kayak on the Haulover Canal is during the mild winter and spring months when temperatures are comfortable, and there is minimal rainfall. Florida’s summers can be hot and humid, making kayaking less enjoyable. However, if you choose to kayak during the summer, aim for early morning or late afternoon when temperatures are cooler, and the chances of encountering thunderstorms are lower.

Tidal Considerations

When planning your kayaking trip on the Haulover Canal, it is essential to consider the tides. The canal experiences a significant tidal range, which can affect the ease of paddling. It is generally easier to paddle with the incoming tide, as it provides a current to assist your journey. Checking tide charts in advance can help you plan your trip accordingly and ensure a smoother kayaking experience.

Popular Kayak Routes on Haulover Canal

Playalinda Beach to Bairs Cove

One popular kayak route on the Haulover Canal starts at Playalinda Beach and ends at Bairs Cove. This scenic route allows kayakers to explore the diverse ecosystems of the Indian River Lagoon, including mangroves and seagrass beds. Along the way, you may encounter various bird species, manatees, and possibly even dolphins.

Canaveral National Seashore to Mullet Creek

Another popular kayak route begins at Canaveral National Seashore and takes you all the way to Mullet Creek. This route offers breathtaking views of the surrounding marshes and allows you to immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature. Keep an eye out for wildlife, such as wading birds and turtles, as you paddle through this picturesque section of the Haulover Canal.

Exploring the Haulover Canal by Kayak

Things to See and Do While Kayaking on Haulover Canal

Bird Watching

The Haulover Canal is a birdwatcher’s paradise, with an abundance of avian species residing in the area. As you paddle along the canal, keep your eyes peeled for ospreys soaring overhead, herons gracefully wading through the water, and vibrant roseate spoonbills feeding in the shallow marshes. Don’t forget your binoculars and camera to capture these magnificent creatures in action.

Manatee and Dolphin Spotting

The Haulover Canal is famous for its resident manatee population, and kayaking provides an excellent opportunity to witness these gentle giants up close. You may spot them grazing on seagrass or playfully swimming alongside your kayak. Additionally, dolphins are known to frequent the canal, delighting kayakers with their acrobatic displays. Prepare to be captivated by these fascinating marine mammals.

Fishing Opportunities

For fishing enthusiasts, kayaking on the Haulover Canal offers excellent opportunities to catch a variety of fish species. The canal is known for its abundant redfish, snook, and trout population, making it a popular spot for both novice and seasoned anglers. Just remember to abide by local fishing regulations and obtain the necessary permits before casting your line.

Additional Tips and Recommendations

Packing Essentials

When preparing for your kayaking adventure on the Haulover Canal, it is essential to pack the right essentials. Bring plenty of drinking water to stay hydrated throughout your journey. Sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat are also crucial to protect yourself from the sun’s rays. Additionally, consider packing a dry bag to keep your belongings safe and dry during your kayak trip.

Bringing a Camera

The Haulover Canal offers plenty of opportunities for stunning photographs, so don’t forget to bring a camera or smartphone to capture the scenic beauty and wildlife encounters. Consider bringing a waterproof camera or a protective cover for your electronic devices to ensure they stay safe while kayaking.

Joining a Guided Tour

If you’re new to kayaking or want to enhance your experience on the Haulover Canal, consider joining a guided tour. Knowledgeable guides can provide valuable insights about the area’s history, wildlife, and conservation efforts, enhancing your overall experience. Guided tours also ensure that you make the most of your time on the canal, allowing you to focus on enjoying the scenery and wildlife.

Exploring the Haulover Canal by Kayak

Safety Guidelines and Regulations

Life Jacket Usage

It is vital to wear a properly fitting life jacket while kayaking on the Haulover Canal. Life jackets ensure your safety in the event of an accident or capsizing. Choose a life jacket that is approved by the U.S. Coast Guard and comfortable to wear for extended periods. Remember, safety should always be your top priority while kayaking.

Navigation Rules

When kayaking on the Haulover Canal, it is essential to follow navigation rules to ensure everyone’s safety and enjoyment. Stay on the right side of the channel, yielding to larger vessels. Maintain a safe distance from other kayakers, boats, and wildlife. Additionally, familiarize yourself with any specific rules or regulations enforced by the Canaveral National Seashore to ensure compliance.

Environmental Responsibility

Preserving the natural beauty and ecological integrity of the Haulover Canal is everyone’s responsibility. Respect the wildlife and their habitats by observing from a distance and avoiding any disruptive behavior. Avoid littering and dispose of any trash properly. By practicing environmental responsibility, we can ensure that future generations can continue to enjoy the splendor of the canal.


Memorable Experiences

Kayaking on the Haulover Canal offers a wealth of memorable experiences. From observing the diverse bird species and spotting playful dolphins to encountering gentle manatees and catching prized fish, every paddle stroke brings new wonders. The tranquil beauty of the canal, combined with its rich history and ecological importance, creates an unforgettable adventure for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Preservation Efforts

While kayaking along the Haulover Canal, it is evident that conservation efforts have played a vital role in preserving this unique ecosystem. The designation of the canal as part of the Canaveral National Seashore ensures its protection for future generations. By practicing responsible kayaking and engaging in preservation efforts, we can contribute to the long-term sustainability of this natural treasure. So grab your paddle, launch your kayak, and embark on an unforgettable journey along the Haulover Canal.

Toufiq Ur

Toufiq Ur

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