Florida’s undeveloped rivers are lined with beautiful wild vegetation and are very popular for recreation. Rivers usually start as tiny streams, or begin in swamps or lakes that overflow. Some rivers begin abruptly at springs that issue cool, clear water. Eventually rivers wind their way to the sea, forming brackish estuaries that support saltwater fish and wildlife.
Probably the most important part of a river is its flood plain, the low land along either bank that is occasionally flooded. The flood plains contain forest of water-tolerant trees or extensive low marshes like those along the Kissimmee River.
No two Florida rivers are exactly alike, and flood plains along the same river will have different characteristics every few miles.
Flood plain vegetation reduces flood damage and also becomes habitat for many interesting creatures. Many flood plains are being purchased by the state for protection of water resources.
The best way to see a river is to travel slowly and quietly, by canoe or through the flood plain on foot, early in the morning when few people are around.