Sea Kayaking Pensacola FL

-- Last Updated: Mar-26-04 1:09 PM EST --

Is Pensacola a good place for Sea Kayaking? Can someone tell me more about Kayaking in Pensacola FL? I am moving to Pensacola for about 4 months and I need some Kayaking buddies!! I am leaving all my friend in Eastern North Carolina for about 7 months :(

The Gulf can be a little boring, if you are used to more action. It is nice and flat most days. The water is a little murky. It can be very shallow for a long distance out.

It is a smaller body of water and it gets warmer in the summer and colder in the winter. The Atlantic and Pacific remain more consistent.

It’s been many years since I was a lifeguard in the Panhandle, but I would guess most locals are still into more traditional hobbies…

Panhandle kayaking links

Their “Kayak Club” page is not done, but they’re bound to be a good source of info.

Another panhandle shop, in Destin:

Also try Florida Sea Kayak Association at:

They’re centered more in NE FL, but have members in other areas and may know where to point you. They have a listing of other Florida clubs:

One is in Pensacola - but link is dead - mabe phone works?

Pensacola area has some interest
The nearby Apolachiola area is particularly nice and there was a good article about it in a recent issue of Sea Kayaker magazine. There is a lot of protected water, birding is good, fishing is good. Not bad at all.



We also recently moved to the Pensacola area and there is a canoe club here that seems to be fairly active. Kayaks are no problem.

Search under " West Florida Canoe Club "

There are many rivers in the panhandle from Appalachiocola to Mobile. At least one in Alabama has some sort of whitewater associated with it.

There are plenty of Bays to explore, the Gulf can be flat or really wavey depending on the wind/weather. Kayaking here depends on what you’re looking for. There is a lot of quiet water. Folks are friendly with a small town atmosphere.

If you want to email me when you move I’ll be happy to share what I’ve learned about this area.


You guys are awesome thanks for all the help!!!

i will paddle with you in October
If we can find a kayak for me to rent, I will paddle in the gulf with you in October. I plan on coming down to visit family during the shrimp festival in Gulf Shores, AL (right on the FL-AL line).


Pensacola to Destin
and a little beyond, has been my regular area. Since I don’t have any regular paddling partners to hook up with, and the wife has no interest in the sport (and I’m not a “club member” type person), I’m pretty much an “out and back” paddler. I’ve explored the East bay and East Bay river, 95% of the Santa Rosa sound from P’Cola to Ft Walton, and I’ve bounced around the Choctawhatchee Bay out from Ft Walton to the Mid-bay bridge (Hwy 293) Destin side, as well as around the bayous in the Niceville/Ft Walton areas. I go out at least once a week, and usually don’t paddle anymore than 12 to 20 miles a trip. If this sounds like your cup of tea, send me an E-mail. We can pack a lunch and a couple of “cold ones” and meet up on a Saturday or Sunday.

I will be in Missouri from Aug. 25th to sometime in late October…when is the festival?

but they’ll do all right sans paddles.

Went out in an old Malibu II rental I got freebie for a half day at the Sandestin Resort in Destin, sort of the easternmost end of the more famous Redneck Riviera areas to the west.

I was looking for something to do while Sally attended a VA research Administrators Conference that I tagged along on.

I’d already done the requisite (exquisite) golf, seen a friend at the Pensacola MPO and checked out the geography and urban landscapes of the areas, and had biked a bunch. Swimming, per se, and sunbathing, per se, don’t hold too much up there for a South Florida guy, but it WAS nice -and INTERESTING! -to walk to blindingly white sugar sand along the isthmus spit of land the is the Redneck Riviera: it SQUEAKS!

At any rate, it was a bright clear sunny afternoon and I took up the resorts offer for a freebie half-day of “kayaking” -but when I got to the shack on the lagoon, (an inlet on Choctawhatchee Bay) it wasn’t open for business, something about closed for repairs. Besides, they didn’t want any boats beyond about a quarter-mile away, in the immediate lagoon fronting the marina. (Wonder if they’d’ve come after me if I’d’ve just kept paddling…)

They directed me to the Gulf-front beach where there were others available.

So I biked over and they had these short, wide (3’ X 12’) M2’s for rent -"…They’re safe, folks, SUPER safe! Nobody falls off in the ocean, folks, not on these babies, and they don’t tip over either!.."

So what the heck, I could always come back in if I got bored or whatever, right? -I took one out, using those bottom-level cheap flat-bladed plastic and shiny aluminum ‘beginner’ paddles thay had…

It was like paddling in a swimming pool!

The water was crystal clear, tinged blue. The bottom was barely ridged from the 3" wave action and pure pure white. The water was warm -about 80oF or so.

One in a great while, a small, blond gray fish wouold swim by.

And that’s it!

Swimming pool paddling -WITHOUT a roll class…

Whoosh… Whoosh…!




I turn around, and lo and behold, I’m in the midst of a pod of seven dolphins (mammals, not the fish), steadily, inexorably, doggedly making their way west parallel to the shore about a hyndred yards -maybe only 75 -out.

WOW! So I pick up my cadence, and am pushing that rather barge-like M2 at about 75% power as keep up, and it’s like they’re just on some kind of uncouncious internal cruise control. They wove i and out and around each other, but just kept on keeping on.

It was marvelous!

So I click the throttle lever up a nothc, and get a little closer -this is cool!

And man! Would I EVER have loved to just dive right in with them. The last -and only -time I’ve swum with dolphins was when I was 12, and we went out from Matheson Hammock in a friend’s dad’s old wooden cabin cruiser -we came upon a pod of maybe 4 or 5 of them in the lee of Key Biscayne across Biscayne Bay -we were enthralled, then jumped over the transom and in with the bottlenoses… It was quite THE thrill for a 12 year-old ex-NY/Long Island Sea Hunt/Mike Nelson junkie who’d just moved to Florida…

But there was no paddle leash or a place to clip the paddle on the M2, and no way in HELL was I gonna pay if one of THOSE el cheapos got lost. (OTOH, it’d be a damn unplesaant paddle back without even them!)

So I just paddled along, and them over and among them…


They evemtually outstripped my ability to keep the M2 up their speed, and just kept going west -almost like it was a commuter run…!

So, up there Panhandle way, you may find buddies, and then again you just might find “buddies”, as you get out there and

Paddle on!

-Frank in Miami

like the story
Great story…you sound just like one of my professors…are you a attorney? sound like one!!

Fighting Words!
Actually, people ask me if I am a lawyer sometimes, too???

fighting words
opps…did i misspeak…are you a lawyer? Scupperfrank sounds like my PhD Electrical Engineer Patent Attorney Technical writing professor…What do I know I am just a 22 year old Undergraduate student

We Are Transportation Planners

Ha, ha, he, he,…
…now we know why those Miami and Hileah street systems are so screwed up!

Frank had his mind on canals, rather then streets.



in Venice…!

C’mon, Jack -it wasn’t ME who devised a separate numbering system for “Hija-Leeya” even tho’ the roads are the same, nor was it I who decided to put my favorite political contributor’s name on this 4-block section -and his mother’s father-in-law’s great uncle who fought and single handed- and donkey-edly won the Panaruvian Sibil War for Independency in 1777, for the NEXT 4-block section, and then the former mayor’s in the following section…

Well, NC-CYakker, you now know how to gently break the subject of whether one is an attourney at law (AKA “loy-yuh”) to some of us… LOL!

Now, if it wasn’t for the filth, and all the zooming motorized gimcrackery whiz-bang super-modified gondolas flying about as they make movies (Bond, The Italian Job…) in Venice (Italy, not Florida), wouldn’t THAT be a neat place to plan “surface transportation” -and then, to

Paddle on!

-Frank in Miami

Lots of water to
chose from there. haven’t been back in a few years but aside from the gulf, there is a sound between the barrier island and the mainland, a bay, and lots of rivers within a few miles in any direction. need to watch out for snakes and weather…can get some nasty t-storms blow up pretty quick.