The pristine waterways of the Daytona Beach area are truly delightful addition to any vacation experience. And whether it's high-energy adventure or peaceful mindfulness you're seeking, the best way to immerse yourself in these aquatic settings is via a kayak or canoe. 

For a bit of adventure, I love to get some families together and head over to Cracker Creek, where you can choose your floatation style and paddle (or in my case, sit in the back and let someone else paddle) at your own pace. Be sure to say hello to the gorgeous resident peacocks and chickens there; the kids have named them, they're so friendly!

Oh, and feel free to let the little ones paddle a head just a bit, since the waterway is narrow enough to keep track of them easily. It makes the kids feel a bit adventurous, even as the mommies lurk safely behind. ;)

With the convenience of local outfitters that rent all the equipment you'd want - and dozens of parks and launching points to choose from - your water-time fun is easy to plan.

Be sure to bring a camera. The area's wildlife is nothing short of stunning: birds, turtles, manatees - and even a few gators - are pretty much a sure bet.

Take a guided group or personal tour with a qualified local outfitter, or venture off on your own, with easy-to-download maps:

Hontoon Dead River Paddling Trail 

Spruce Creek Paddling Trail

Tomoka River Paddling Trail 

Even more trail maps, here!  

Either way, you're in for a memorable time that you'll be talking about for years!