Everglades/Naples FL area

I didn’t put this in the “getting together” forum because it’s not so much a request for paddling partners as it is for information…

I may be taking a job in the area and I’m wondering how the paddling is in general. Obviously I probably won’t need a dry suit anymore, but does anyone have any experience in this neck of the woods? Is the paddling better farther north, like near Ft. Myers, in the Keys, etc? I was told that this was the “brown water” side of FL, which doesn’t exactly conjure up the best paddling, but I can make do if I need to. Sorry for the vague question.

Thanks for any info!

Don’t know what type of paddling you do, but I travel from NJ to Florida every winter solely for the purpose of sea kayaking. If you like to view wildlife and plan expeditions, or just day trip, this area is awesome. I spent a week in the area. Every day was fun. The Gulf, being open-water, can be more exciting to paddle, but it is often calm. Plus, it’s not too far a drive from the Atlantic Ocean. Hopefully, some of the paddlers who live down there can fill you in. Enjoy. I am jealous! Steve

Ft Myers to the Glades
The “Brown Side” is true. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t good paddling. I love the area. I have tried rivers, bays, estuarys, swamps…any spot I could find. I would do any of them again.

its got all types of conditions.
No the water is not turquoise like Lake Superior, but it has protected paddling, challenging navigation, big waves, big water, small water, no water if a northeast wind comes up, beaches, mangrove tangles, a fantastic amount of wildlife and tidal races.

What more could you want?

Thanks for the replies. My wife thinks I should be more worried about real estate, crime, etc. - the stuff that MOST people worry about when they move, but I already know housing is kinda pricey and that worst of the criminal element is over near Miami, so I gotta spend some time worrying about the paddling, too :).

worry about those VT’ers
you will find many paddling in the Glades when they are sick of shovelling snow.

However they are good for Long Trail Ale and Green Mountain Coffee. The Ben and Jerry’s is a bit problematic…

Naples area
Send me an email. I live in Naples and should be able to answer your paddling questions. The area is rich with paddling opportunities.

Love it!
Although I love paddling around my home area of Tarpon Springs, we take lots of trips down to the Naples area.

Here are my favorites

For fresh water there’s Fish eating creek. It’s an unspoiled 7 or 14 mile paddle through a cypress swamp just West of lake Ochechobee. It’s some of the best bass fishing in Florida. You can primitive camp the banks and listen to the alligators below.

For saltwater just south of you we often paddle out to Kice island and camp the beach. Also south there’s rookery bay environmental center. Blackwater river through the collier seminole park is a nice 13 mile loop paddle (lot’s of Tarpon). And of course there are tons of places to paddle in the coastal Everglades out of everglades city and chokoloskee.

Just north of you is the paddle from Pine island to Cayo Costa.

Like I said- there’s lots of great paddling down in Naples. If you’re going to be here in Feb check out http://www.evergladeskayakfishing.com/ekf-events.htm

Guess we’re some of “that criminal element over near Miami”…

Can’t say I’ve paddled MUCH over that part of the state, but where I’ve dipped a paddle it’s been nice. The rivers & their estuaries are good places to paddle. Near the mouths, they’re more like bays, and you’ll contend with Gulf-oriented boaters and tides, and some -to quite a bit of -urban area-type paddling, while upriver most of these waterways become quintessential Florida freshwater runs with Spanish moss-draped trees overhanging the banks interspersed with palmetto thickets and sabal palms.

Pick up some good old regular run-of-the-mill road maps (from AAA, for example) for a first approximation of the layout of not just the land, but the waters as well. Then, progress to municipal maps, where details will be significantly increased due to scale -they can be had for Naples, Ft. Myers, Marco Island, Sanibel & Captiva Islands, & Ft. Myers, all proximal to what -if you indeed move -will be your Naples base.

Finally, go with Teall’s fish charts (free or cheap but reliably accurate repros of USCG charts, available at many of the many marinas, bait shops, and ship’s stores) or the USGS or Coastie charts themselves, for the best take on the water side of things.

Several fine State Parks in the area offer inland paddling opportunities -the ‘brown water’ paddling you’ve heard of. But don’t fret -the water -actually ‘black water’ -is stained deep mahogany to near black by the leaves that fall into it. It’s actually usually clear, like tea (same principle, actually) and mostly benign.

To the south, just beyond Marco, the Ten Thousand Islands offer myriad opportunities to paddle coastal mangrove island habitats and see birds, turtles, dolphins, manatees, and all kinds of fish.

Both the state parks and Ten Thousand Islands (including the northwestern corner of Everglades National Park at Everglades City) offer paddling-based camping possibilities, as do some of the Gulf coast beaches and inland river banks -but ask or call first, some parks areas are off-limits, and much waterfront is privately-owned.

And fishing? The entire area area is a wonderful place to wet a line and pull in a fine specimen

But I must admit, as lovely as that area is, I still prefer to live with the rest of my fellow criminals in Miami, and stay here in Sunny South Florida and most of all go down to The Fabulous Florida Keys to


-Frank in Miami

I am 75% sure I saw an American Crocodile at Collier-Seminole SP! Not recently, but someone mentioned there.

Bat Bridge (Imperial River)

Estero Bay, Tarpon Bay, Matlache, Turner River…tons and tons of awesome spots.

come on down
that’s in my neck of the woods. lee county (Fort Myers) has a designated paddling trail that includes every major river, creek, bay and barrier island along the coast. The south end of Naples is where the wilderness really starts. you’ve got the Everglades to the south, lots of rivers in Fort Myers. you want bigger waves, drive 1.5 hours to miami.

Calusa Blueway…
great path. Be sure to see Steve at Backwater Outfitters in Cape Coral for all your gear and bait needs!

I like this book.

– Last Updated: Feb-10-08 10:33 AM EST –


Nigel describes about 35 trips on the Gulf Coast, ranging from Tampa Bay down to Miami, plus 7 more in the Keys. Enjoy.

this is my Florida paddling guide…
“Florida’s Fabulous Canoe And Kayak Trail Guide”

Go to

and they will send you nice free maps with lots of paddling ideas. You will love that part of Florida if you don’t mind alligators.

Yes the water clarity .
in the northern glades is very poor until you get off shore to the outer areas such as Cape Romano, and the outer Keys such as Tiger and Picnic where it is nice and clear.

There are a bunch of good paddling opportunities and places to explore in close, but n one of the water is clear.