Going to rental home that has kayaks - what should I bring?

Going down to Florida for a couple weeks, Pine Island. Rental has basic rec kayaks and located on a canal. Will bring clothing of course, also my pfd and thinking about a paddle if there is room in the car. Will be paddling solo and with the rec kayak just puttering about not getting out into the gulf or anything. Maybe one day with a tour if I find something interesting. What else should I consider?
Also any tips from anyone who has been there.

Oh yea, we have rented a plane and flown over Pine Island and that whole area!
The first thing I always pack is my Stanley cup. I fill it with ice and it lasts 1-2 days.

Hat, nylon lightweight hoodie

Maybe a small nylon rope

Sunscreen and bug spray! Also it’s been a chilly winter for us down here so you might want to pack more layers than you would think, just in case.

Lots of good paddling in that area but be aware that it is extremely shallow at low tide and many channel markers are still missing from hurricane Ian. If you can get out to Cabbage key there is a cool restaurant there - definitely worth a visit.


I was in Crystal River, FL in December and within 15 minutes of being outside in shorts, got chewed up by what they called noseeums. I had not been around those before and didn’t understand what was going to happen to my lower legs…lol. I got a few hundred bites that itched for days and my legs are still “scarred” …it’ll take another month or so for them to disappear.


We found it fascinating from the air because you could see all the varying depths and water movement.

Two items I can’t paddle without:
Whisper weight hoodie for exposure protection and my little bag.

I have a bungie clip that hooks into the iPhone

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The pictures are great! They also explain why I couldn’t outline the shore or small islands on google maps satellite view. Looks like I will want to fully understand the tides around there.

How does the bungie attach to your phone? Special case?

I also figured I should bring foam blocks and straps for taking the kayak to a nearby launch point.

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I’ll snap an image for you.

I have a case with the ring on the back.

It’s not perfect but so far it’s worked for about eight years. I’ll eventually drop it but I don’t have a better solution as I like taking pictures. It’s all in the cloud so it wouldn’t be the end of the world.

Also the newest iPhone (15 Pro Max) has an emergency beacon. Maybe from 14 on?

I don’t have much room in my kayak.

I’d like to hear about the trip, my mom live near there.

Those photos are from further north than Pine Island - first pic is near the pass between Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key, second pic is Passage key off the northern end of Anna Maria. The water clarity down around Pine Island is generally not nearly as clear as that. (I live just across Tampa Bay and paddle those areas in the photos frequently)


Where do you think this is?

I know we flew over Captiva…

I’ve only been to Sanibel by boat as a kid. Lots of shells, right?

Also a line would be easy to pack or ask if they have one in the kayak

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I suggest that you bring a compass. And several zip-locks so you can double-bag your phone.

I suggest that you try yellowtail snapper. If you like ribs you might enjoy a drive down to Michelbob’s.

North end of Anna Maria island (AMI). Passage key at lower left. ICW, manatee river and Emerson Point at top. Very close to where the other pics were taken.

Edit: meant to add that Pine Island is about 80 miles south of where these pics are.


the tides can be affected by wind direction and strength. Often they do not obey predictions. A chart is quite useful too to help you avoid being mudded out. I haven’t been back there since Ian . We used to stay in Matlatcha. Download Windy or Windfinder for good wind predictions.

Tampa Gulf water temp is 62 today.

Temp at my dock ne Fla is 66. We just finished a couple of 80 degree days headed for cooler temps next week, afterjan 28

Winter has fluctuations. Lows can be 30s, but normally gets warmer. Bring some layers.

Consider, if you’d like an alternative on a day the winds pick up: Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is about an hour and a half drive inland. Audubon manages the area, and the boardwalk is a wonderful intro to swamp ecology, with amazing birding and orchids to see, depending on the time of year.

Another closer option are the Edison and Ford Winter Estates, near downtown Fort Meyers - only about half an hour from Pine Island. Beautiful tropical trees and plantings, preserved buildings and exhibits for a rainy day. All situated on the banks of the Caloosahatchee River. Enjoy!

Too bad the Dome Homes finally succumbed. While not a trip for a rec boat, they were certainly interesting.

If you’re looking for something to do on land, check out the historical Smallwood Trading Post, about 1-1/2 hours drive south from Ft. Myers (http://www.smallwoodstore.com/). Part museum, part general store, part souvenir shop (without the tackiness of most).

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Thanks everyone, great stuff. I should clarify we will be there mid March, but regardless I will have layers. Added the rope to the list. Keep the places to check out coming!

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Definitely bring your own paddle. That way, if the rental paddle is too long (as they usually are), you can carry it as just a spare.

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I didn’t realize that Pine Island was hit so hard by Ian?

My mom was hit directly in Punta Gorda but they fared ok.

You might want some really cheap Amazon neoprene water shoes unless you take some old tennis shoes.

Lots of good advice. I used to pollenate various crops on the Island back in the 80s when I would run bee hives down to FL in the winter. The water behind the island is brownish sort of like the upper end of Tampa Bay. Yeah, that area was hit hard by Ian. The biting bugs can be bad on shore if there isn’t any wind.

Pine Island to i 75 takes an hour. If birding and gatoring is an interest Six Mile Slough is much closer to you than Corkscrew its a 3500 acre park with boardwalk trails, see the gator walk beneath you.

Both are well worth a visit iMO