Paddling the Florida keys!

Im planning a trip to paddle from key largo to key west. The Internet says 10 days for the trip. The keys are 120 miles long, so 12 miles a day in a 16’ wilderness systems tarpon. Is this crazy or casual? Any ideas or advice is welcome, I’m a newbie!

It can be fun or it can be a disaster!
Depending on the wind conditions

We are in Key Largo right now and winter here in the Keys.

We know the entire length of the Keys like the back of our hands.

Your longest open water crossing will be paralleling the seven mile bridge.

Pay attention to weather reports. You would not have accomplished your goal in the past two weeks. The wind has been high out of the east almost every day.

The upper Keys run from the north east to the south west, so either side is good if you have light winds.

Once you get to Big Pine Key you’ll have to paddle in the Atlantic or go way out and around Big Pine and a half dozen more Keys in Florida Bay so pray for wind out of the west or light out of the east.

If the weather gods are with you, you can easily do twenty mile days.

A few years ago training for the Everglades challenge we would do fifty milers from Bahia Honda to Boca Chica and back

Will you be stealth camping ?

If you are, that can turn into a disaster unless you know in advance where you will be staying.

Good luck and have fun

Jack L

Still planning
I’m shooting for May '16. I want to camp as much as possible. I’ve never been to the keys so I’m planning on getting some guide books soon to start planning a route. So yet again I welcome any tips and advice!!!

A couple more things:
I almost forgot:

-Time your paddles to go with the tides. It will be a lot less work.

  • If you go under any of the bridges from the Atlantic into Florida Bay, depending on the tides and winds the areas closest to the Keys can be a washing machine.

    Don’t cut through the pilings close to the keys. Go past several pilings and get to a place where the conditions are much more sedate

    You might get some good hints from our Google web site that has lots of trips up and down all of the Keys:

    Jack L

Jack L
Thanks!! The info on your site should give some helpful points to go by! The gps info will probably keep me from getting lost! Now I just need to figure out how to connect the dots so to say. Is May a good time to go? I wouldn’t mind meeting other paddlers along the way.

May in south Florida…

– Last Updated: Mar-14-15 8:49 PM EST –

is going to feel like full blown summer. Even here in central Florida May is long past any hope of cool weather. Lows will probably be in the mid 70's and highs in the mid 90's. Sun protection and hydration are crucial. If you've never been this far south, the radiant heat from the sun will impress you. Afternoon thunderstorms may begin by middle May, but not always.
It's a beautiful area and I hope you follow through and enjoy it to its fullest. Just be prepared!
Edit: If you have a spare day on your way south or north, and would like to see some of the neat paddle trips in central Florida, I'd be happy to be your guide.

super trip
Read Burnham, Foster Nigel, Molloy

Read Flamingo to Long Key Boomerang here in Padnet Key&req_state=FL&req_statename=&

May is too late. But go anyway.

There is a paddling trail

where campsites should be researched. The Key West camping area should be reserved or called for.

Bring a bicycle, head net, light gloves, a dust mask with flap for chickees, Walmart painters tarps for tent bottoms, screen tent, Campmor poly blankie and long underwear, long sleeve polyester shirts, Sunday Afternoon’s sun hat, serious sunglasses, rope, Wal’s floating painters, cell phone…

Where to leave the car ? There are storage areas and bus service.

And just how often have you been…
to the Keys ?


Bring a bicycle…
on a Tarpon to be in the way for 10 or more days?

This is a particularly ripe one.

Bicycle on a kayak ?
Sounds like the title to a Will Ferrell movie, not an actual event ! Please forward photo examples ?? LOL

18+ months ? I’m based near Fort Myers.

If you bicycle, riding windward and if possible roughly downwind in cycling direction, of traffic across the bridges is outstanding.

Using a Garmin with marine charts is encouraged for charting course with tides, thru obstacles with local advice.

If you read ‘Flamingo to Long Key Boomerang’, see how winter weather allows W-E-W paddling with Gulf/Atl tides.

Sugar Key is more heavily sprayed with insecticides than the other Keys. The boat ramp north of the Blimp Base is toxic.

An extended landing should abort if you cough, sneeze or feel kidney sensations below the diaphragm.

Consider bottled drinking water a necessity. Key Largo boasts a Publix market.

This is suburban Miami. Exercise caution on parking and unattended parking.

Keep it up
You are doing a fine job of ruining!

I sincerely hope no one pays heed to you nonsense and BS

Jack L


It was datakoll’s idea
to whom I was replying.