The Santa Fe Canoe Outpost has been owned and operated by Jim and Sally Wood since 1990. Jim and Sally’s tenure as owners of the Canoe Outpost was a product of two adventurous spirits and darn good timing! It all started with a four-month trip across the United States. The young couple, looking to take a break from their hectic fast-paced life in downtown Philadelphia, set out for an exciting journey with their three toddlers.
About a month into the trip Jim and Sally realized that they wanted to leave the rat-race for good and make a major change. What started out as a cross country trip to recharge their batteries, turned into a search for the perfect place to raise their family. Their criteria became: close to a college town, near the water, and a good climate. On the last leg of their trip, Jim and Sally finally came to Florida. They immediately fell in love with north-central Florida and even more so with the charming town of High Springs.
Eventually Jim and Sally followed their dream and left Philadelphia for High Springs, Florida. Jim describes the move with three young kids in tow and no jobs: “We were completely winging it!” Stemming from his days as a Jersey Shore lifeguard, Jim had always hoped to work outside again. The circumstances could not have been more perfect when he and his family took their first trip down the Santa Fe River.
While driving back to the Outpost after the canoe trip, the original owner of the Outpost mentioned off hand that he was interested in selling the business. On the spot Jim said “I’ll buy it.;” Jim and Sally bought the business in 1990 and have seen the company and the town of High Springs grow into a lively ecotourism hub. Business has grown steadily and the Canoe Outpost fleet has gone from 40 canoes, 10 kayaks and 2 vans to 100 canoes, 30 kayaks and 6 vans.
The Santa Fe River is now the axis to an outdoor recreation economy in High Springs. Opportunities abound to boat, swim, snorkel, dive and hike in the areas many waterways, springs, parks and trails. In addition, the restaurants, shops, hotels and inns of High Springs invite travelers to plan a weekend in this charming town. Check out the links on the High Springs page to learn more about what the community has to offer and to plan your next weekend get away.