To experience the preserved, natural beauty of old Florida, it doesn't get much better than Stand Up Paddling on Lake Mary Jane from Moss Park! Moss Park is gorgeous, filled with towering, mossy oaks & tall pines. It's easiest to put in on the beach next to the swimming area, with a convenient parking lot just 50 feet away. It's about 6 miles when you circumnavigate the lake, which we highly recommend, to enjoy it's character to the fullest. The wind direction should always determine your course, but this description will begin by heading south.
What Makes It Great
Beginning your paddle from the beach, you'll see Bird Island directly in front of you. Heading south through the canal, Bird Island will be on your left, with Moss Park on your right. Bird Island is teeming with native birds like Ibis, Great Blue Herons, Little Blue Herons, Egrets, Storks, & more. Throughout your paddle, you will be graced with the wing-beat of low-flying Sand Hill Cranes. This canal forks between a marshier segment of Bird Island & you may choose either direction as they spit you out just about 250 feet away from each other.
After exiting the canal, paddle southeast, aiming for a tiny circular island, only consisting of tall green grass, simply called "The Island" or "Soul Patch" to some. This island marks a shallow, waist-high depth with a radius of about 500 feet where many lake-goers anchor their water crafts to swim, play water frisbee & more. This is a nice spot to take a rest or a dip!
Continuing southwest, toward Moss Park's shoreline, you'll pass the public dock & the last man-made structure on this side of the lake, followed by the pine-tree & cove-lined nature preserve, called Split Oak Forest, that makes this destination quite the hidden treasure in Orlando. At the far south side of the lake, there's a narrow canal that leads to a lock. It's very quiet & peaceful to paddle down & back with lovely cypress trees & gnarly cypress roots lining the way. Doing so will add about 1 mile on to your total distance.
Heading north on the east side of the lake, you'll pass lovely houses with beautiful docks in the Isle of Pines neighborhood.
The shoreline is meandering and the sunsets are spectacular from this side if you time it right. After reaching the far north end of the lake you'll continue west, back toward the park which is easily visible with it's sandy beach.
Your paddle may end here at Moss Park, or you may choose to continue down the canal at the north end of the park to enjoy an oak-canopied SUP tour. This canal leads you past the boat ramp, under the Moss Park Road bridge, & eventually to a bigger (and often windier) Lake Hart. Exploring this canal will add about 1.5 miles to your total distance.
Who is Going to Love It
The park is family friendly (but not pet friendly), complete with primitive & RV camp sites, boat ramp, pavilions, charcoal grills, children's playground, mountain biking/hiking trails, tennis court, beach volleyball court, white sandy beach & designated swim area.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
For more information on Moss Park, call 407-254-6840. For more information on Lake Mary Jane, from a resident who was raised there, contact Jessica Cichra, owner of Wave of Wellness.
It costs $3/vehicle to enter the park.
Pack a picnic to replenish at the end of your paddle in the comfort of a pavilion, where there are also very clean public restrooms.