Kitching Creek is a small tributary that flows into the Loxahatchee River at Jonathan Dickinson State Park near Hobe Sound, Fla. Visitors can rent a canoe or kayak from the camp store or launch their own vessel at the park boat ramp and paddle a short distance (about 1 mile) up the Loxahatchee River to the mouth of Kitching Creek.
The Loxahatchee, a Seminole name meaning “turtle river,” is a tidally influenced river as evidenced by the numerous mangroves lining the river banks. As paddlers enter Kitching Creek, the banks give way to giant ferns, cabbage palms, towering cypress and Spanish moss. Osprey and wading birds are also a common sight along the river and creek.
It’s generally an easy paddle upstream. Visitors will pass a wooden observation deck extending from Kitching Creek Trail within the park at about .04 miles in. Past this point the creek begins to narrow, forcing paddlers to travel single file until eventually they must turn back roughly less than a 2/10ths of a mile upstream and then enjoy a leisurely float back downstream.
Although short, Kitching Creek offers unspoiled views of the local flora and fauna and provides an excellent opportunity for beginning kayakers to practice paddling without overdoing it. For those desiring a longer paddle, head approximately 2 miles upstream (or 3 miles from the swimming beach at the state park) on the Loxahatchee River and aim for Trapper Nelson’s historic homestead for a taste of the real “old” Florida.
Jonathan Dickinson State Park is located at 16450 S.E. Federal Highway, Hobe Sound, Florida 33455. For more information and current admission fees please visit the park website.