Florida Pontoon Notes

Palatka to Dunns Creek

St. Johns River

Palatka to Dunns Creek

This was our first time launching in Palatka and heading south down the St. Johns River to do some exploring of the Bartram Trail. William came through here in the late 1700’s and documented his observations as well as his drawing of different species of Flora & Fauna.

His journeys took him up the St Johns River, passing by Dunns Creek, entering Dunns Creek onto Crescent Lake.

Dunns Creek, beginning at the northern side of Crescent Lake, 29°32’1.06″N, 81°33’24.15″W is a tributary to the St. Johns River. It flows northeasterly from Crescent Lake until it reaches the St. Johns River at  29°35’17.93″N, 81°37’50.55″W.  The creek is located between the towns of San Mateo and Satsuma in Putnam County, Fl.  Dunns Creek is rather wide for a creek, ranging from 275′ – 500′.  The easterly side of the creek is populated for almost the last 1/2 of the distance, while the westerly side includes sandhills and wetlands.  Among several protected species are the Gopher Tortoise – Gopherus polyphemus and Fox Squirrel – Sciurus niger.  During the last century, the area was used for turpentine logging, cattle ranching, and farming.

We also went a little beyond Dunns Creek, on the St Johns River to the ‘Redneck Riviera’, a sandbar in the middle of the St Johns River, and a very popular anchorage….James

St Johns-Dunns Creek Boating Map
St Johns River – Dunns Creek Boating Map

Palatka to Dunns Creek Notes

icon-launches-smBoat Ramp:

Palatka City Boat Ramp
Palatka City Boat Ramp

Palatka Public Boat Ramp @ Riverfront Park
319 River St, Palatka, FL 32177
St. Johns River (Putnam County)
Plenty of parking with two concrete ramps, open 24 hours with no fee.






From the launch in Palatka…

7.95 miles to Dunns Creek

10 miles to the Redneck Riviera

Dunns Creek is 8.3 miles long to Crescent Lake

icon-width-depth-smWidths and Depths: Dunns Creek averages 325′ wide and about 12′ deep.


icon-current-tidal-smCurrent – Tidal: Not of much importance.


icon-time-duration-smAverage Boating Speed: We averaged 15 mph


icon-restrooms-smRest Areas: There are several places to stop along this route.

St. Johns River

Rocky Point - St Johns River
Rocky Point – St Johns River

Historically, a variety of people have lived on or near the St. Johns, including Paleo-IndiansArchaic peopleTimucuaMocama, French, Spanish, and British colonists, Seminoles, slaves and freemen, Florida crackers, land developers, tourists, and retirees. It has been the subject of William Bartram‘s journals, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s letters home, and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings books. In the year 2000, 3.5 million people lived within the various watersheds that feed into the St. Johns River.

Dunns Creek

Approaching Crescent Lake
Approaching Crescent Lake from Dunns Creek

Dunns Creek is a 6-mile long deep creek linking the St. Johns River to Crescent Lake. The shoreline is largely uninhabited except for the first two miles on the eastern shore.  Dunns Creek State Park is located on the western shore for nearly its entire length.  At Pine Landing, the State Park offers picnic tables, artesian well water, and restrooms.  Dunns Creek is best known for its catfishing and its connection to nearby Crescent Lake.  Many species of birds and animals live on the shores of Dunns Creek.  Manatees regularly travel the waterway and the American Alligator grows large in these waters.  Wetlands, Cypress trees, hardwoods, and lily pads line the entire trail.  

Redneck Riviera

The Redneck Riviera

The “Redneck Riviera” at the sandbar in the middle of the St Johns River 1o miles south of the Palatka Boat Ramp. Weekends are usually busy. Just pull your boat up, BBQ on board, or float around. Fun place to be on a hot day in Florida when you don’t feel like fishing.

Palatka to Dunns Creek Photo Gallery

Guides, Maps & Info…

Crystal River | Homosassa River | Intercoastal Waterway | Lake Kerr | Lake Lochloosa | Pellicer Creek | Salt Springs | Santa Fe Lake | Silver Glen Springs | The Cedar Keys | The Ocklawaha River | The St Johns River | The Santa Fe River | The Silver River | The Suwannee River | The Rainbow River | Withlacoochee River

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