Florida Everglades and keys

We’re thinking of driving down to Florida in mid-December, spending about 2 - 2 1/2 weeks in south Florida and kayaking. We have sea kayaks and are intermediates, and we have an 18 foot hard side pop up trailer. We are up for day tripping from camp grounds and/or some 3 to 4 day wilderness trips with kayak camping. Any advice is welcome.

Check in with
Florida Bay Outfitters –

I’m out of Venice and do single day tours, but have heard very good things about Florida Bay Outfitters in South Fl. They know the Glades and Keys.

three websites for you

– Last Updated: Oct-07-10 12:38 PM EST –




Thats just the Everglades...There are more sites for rivers in the Ocala National Forest Area (yes with camping) and north of Tampa ( I have not had the pleasure of paddling there yet..this winters!)

The Everglades is often windy and the tides can run strong. You may need to paddle early in the day and watch the tides.

Some rivers require good technique to navigate twisty turns in kayaks

Go to amazon.com and put in under Books..canoeing Florida. There are a lot of guidebooks to choose from. Johnny Malloy is the expert on the Everglades. A Paddlers Guide to the Everglades is a nice informative read.

S FL paddling
There’s awesome camping out of Everglades City & you can park your trailer @ ranger station there free & secure while out. If you head N past Tiger & Picnic keys into Fish & Wildlife managed waters no fees nor permits apply. Camp where you want but it’s busier than to S inside ENP.

Daytrip the Gulf coast from Collier-Seminole SP.

Getting into campgrounds in FL Keys requires reservations months (or more) in advance. Other coastal SP’s tend to fill up so reserve early

Click on Great Calusa Blueway link on rt side of this website pg for more ideas just to N

One can spend a lifetime paddling FL & only scratch the surface of what’s available there. Enjoy !

Jack L will also provide great advice

Its funny but I think Florida has way
more paddling oportunities than Minnesota. The real big plus is that you will find Florida is the land of wildlife (I saw two panther last year) and not just condos.

We used the websites mentioned

– Last Updated: Oct-09-10 9:46 AM EST –

and did a trip of the Wilderness Waterway in Feb 2008. Maybe something in our trip report will help.
See paddleacrossflorida.com in the Past Trips section for trip report and photos. I go out of Everglades City on most my island camping trips. Flamingo is good too.

My biggest advice is to just do it! Also have a GPS, map(s) and know that all the islands look the same and you have to sometimes just paddle toward what looks like continuous land to find the waterways in between the islands.

One last point is there can be lots of no-see-ums if the weather is warm and the rats will eat into your gear - especially dry bags so keep them put away.

Go have a great time.


Rats are a problem on beaches
mostly and I store all food AND water in hard sided containers.

Dry bags for soft non edible stuff…like fleece. I have had cold near freezing temps all of my trips.

I don’t normally look at this forum, but
just happened to spot your post today.

We are quite familar with the areas you want to paddle and would be glad to send you some of our trips.

I can’t attach them to a reply here, but if you send me your e-mail, I can attach a bunch of them and also describe a few others.

I won’t be able to get back to you probably until Monday since we are on the road.

I just sent some info off to one of the posters above and to another person also.

Jack L

PS: I have over a hundred and fifty
trips, so give me a rough ideas of your likes and dislikes.

Jack L

florida Everglades Keys trips
Hi Jack L.

We will be staying at Big Cypress for 9 days, then near Key West for about 8 days. We are bringing our 17 and 18 foot sea kayaks with us and rank ourselves as intermediate paddlers with little tide experience (we paddle Lakes Superior and Michigan). We are interested in day trips and perhaps single overnight camping trips. We paddle at moderate speeds and like wildlife and birding.

Any advice would be very welcome!


I’m glad you didn’t say “expert” !
Perhaps you can join us for a few trips in the Keys.

And we will give you some good ones for up in Big Cypress.

Jack L


I can’t help it Jack.
You’re just too fun to pick on.