On March 29th and 30th, Julia and I led our first National Park Trust trip of the semester. Teaming up with the UCF Outdoor Adventure team, we guided a group of 12 UCF students on a backcountry camping and sea kayaking adventure amidst the serene mangroves of Cape Canaveral National Seashore.

On Friday, March 29th, excitement filled the air as students gathered at the rec center, brimming with anticipation for the aquatic escapade ahead. After securing their belongings in dry bags, we embarked on our voyage to River Breeze Pier. When we arrived, with everyone pitching in, we loaded our tandem sea kayaks with all our camping gear. Amidst the hustle, participants were treated to a spectacle as a family of dolphins and manatees glided around the dock. We conducted a brief yet paddling tutorial, ensuring everyone’s confidence in the water, then set forth.

Traversing the tranquil waters of the Indian River North, we found ourselves enveloped by the beauty of the red and black mangroves, accompanied by the sight of ospreys and gulls overhead.

Upon reaching the secluded Brickhouse Cove primitive campsite, we wasted no time in setting up camp, eating dinner, and sleeping under the stars. The following day, we ventured to the beach and enjoyed the beautiful 80-degree Florida weather before heading back to campus.

Our diverse group of participants, from various backgrounds, majors, and levels of kayaking expertise, reveled in exploring Cape Canaveral’s hidden gems. It was great to meet so many new people and create an outing that this group will always remember as part of their college experience!

We would like to give a special thank you to Annaliese from National Park Trust for joining the trip and sharing more about her journey to becoming part of the National Park Trust team. Lastly, a special thanks to National Park Trust for allowing students to explore the outdoors without financial barriers!