By Sharon Still
Canoeing, kayaking, tent camping for individuals and groups, RV camping, plus RV and deluxe cabin rentals, all along the Little Manatee River is what explorers will find at the Canoe Outpost in Wimauma.
In business since 1978, husband and wife Brian and Andrea Ruddeforth have owned the location since 2003. Their son Brian is also part of the team that provides knowledgeable, friendly and professional service.
“We really do care about our customers,” said Brian senior and avid paddler.
He added that when the Canoe Outpost came up for sale in 2003, he jumped on it, knowing that he would enjoy the lifestyle and living in the country.
He said, “We strive to exceed our customer’s expectations and provide them a memorable experience. What sets us apart is that we actually do accomplish this for almost every customer.”
Whether a first time paddler or a full-out paddle sports enthusiast, self-guided canoe and kayak trips through the unspoiled natural surroundings on the Little Manatee River are sure to provide memorable experiences.
The most popular paddling trips start at the Canoe Outpost and go downstream with the current through the Little Manatee River State Park. Busses then pick customers up and return them to the Canoe Outpost.
“We’re open all year and can get solo paddlers and groups as large as 100 on the water,” said Brian.
In addition to adventures on the water, Canoe Outpost also offers tent camping for group or individuals, RV site camping, RV rentals and deluxe cabin rentals, all of which allow customers to choose the experience they want to have on the river and at the outpost.
Canoe Outpost also hosts a series of special events from outdoor movie nights, moonlight paddles, small “outback” concerts as well as a major music festival each November. A big concert featuring the Bloody Jug band is planned on Saturday, July 19 at 8 p.m. It also has been the site for weddings, baptisms and charity events.
Stewart Cooper, a regular visitor to Canoe Outpost, said, “Twice a year a group of about 30 or 40 of us camp on the group site and spend one day paddling down the river. It is always a good time.”
Canoe Outpost at the Little Manatee River is located at 18001 U.S. Hwy. 301 S. in Wimauma. For more information, visit www.thecanoeoutpost.com or call 634-2228.