– Last Updated: Nov-30-05 7:11 AM EST –
First there are no reasonable hotel rates or vacancies in the upper Keys on those dates.
Secondly the State Park campgrounds in the Keys are booked solid eleven months in advance.
The only way you could get into a campground or motel is by someone else cancelling.
On the paddling (for what you describe):
A couple of thoughts come in mind:
First Put in a John Pennekamp State park and paddle the marked canoe trails. They have beautiful clear water for viewing the fish and if you get lucky you might see a spotted eagle ray. The canals are protected from the wind and no power boats are allowed.
If you feel adventourous and have your own kayaks or canoe, head out beyound the canoe trails and head north on the ocean side of El Radabob Key.
It is complete wilderness and you are bound to see small sharks cruising the area as well as barracuda, etc.. Check the weather report first to make sure you will have calm conditions.
Another option is on the Florida Bay side.
Put in at Florida Bay Outfitters which is about a half mile before the entrance to John Pennekamp state park and is on the right side of the road heading south.
There is free parking and a small sandy beach to launch from.
You will be in Black Water Sound. - Head to the left or south and follow the shore line around until you come to the inland water way, ( a mile and a half or so). Don't go left into the first canal which leads back through Key Largo to the Atlantic and also pass another small canal.
When you get to the inland water way you will have to be cautious of power boat traffic, but cut across to the right side and still head left, (south) and you will come to Dusenbury Creek on the right. It is a mangrove tunnel and will lead to Tarpoon Bay. When you get there head right or west. Go as far as you like and then return the same way.
Again; check the weather report before you go and if it is going to be windy don't since the chop can get quite large for a newbie.
Florida Bay Outfitters offer guided trips, and you could end up with fellow P-netter Grayhawk being your guide.
Another option (if the hurricnes have not wrecked it) is nine mile pond canoe trail in the Everglades National Park and you could camp at Long Pine Key, (not a key, just a national park campground). You can almost always get a campsite there, but make sure your tent or camper has no-seeum netting, (which some of the cheaper ones don't have).
Get a map of the trail from the ranger station.
Caution check with the rangers to make sure the hurricanes didn't blow away any of the markers. You could get lost real easy.
If you want a bunch more trips and put-ins, e-mail me and I will e-mail you our last years trip report, which has dozens of them.