Snipe keys in florida?

anyone have any experience with kayaking and camping in the snipe keys/mud keys down NW of sugarloaf key down by key west?

i have a reference book put out by pineapple press (sea kayaking the florida keys/wachob) and while it mentions snipe and mud keys, it doesn’t reference where you can camp in the area. there seems to be a nice long NW/SW running island between snipe pt and middle narrows that looks like it may offer somewhere to do a little leave no trace, camp an go…but i don’t know.

what i am looking to get is any info concerning where to camp in/around that area.


I’ll be watching…
for replies to your post with interest, since we will be down that neck of the woods in Feb, and are always looking for a new adventure.



oh, it’s an adventure…

step one - married in KW on a boat at sunset

step two - sloppy joes/casual reception/pub crawl

step three -

step four - camp along the back country down there while it’s still gorgeous and we still haven’t ruined it or paved it over…

an impressive schedule
I live in Miami and have always been interested in paddling that route. Nigel Dennis listed the trip in his Florida kayaking book and the area is shallow water with a good chance of sighting a lot of sharks on the white sand bottoms. I wish you a good time and low winds.

The Lower Keys
Although have not paddled as far out as the Snipe keys, I have launched a good many times at the Sugar Loaf Airport before being forced to launch at the marina next to the Sugar Loaf hotel. Its a beautiful area as with most gulf side paddling jaunts. Always see plenty of stingrays, sharks and birds, quite often forego the Mallory Square Sunset activities for this one. I have never heard of any island campsites in the lower keys nor seen them in a guidebook. I imagine the locals may know of something, what I have seen is most islands are either all mangrove or coral rock. If an island is camp-able with beach, I imagine it would be the furthest out barrier islands.

There are two Islands off the east side of the 7 mile bridge that are sometimes camped on.

If you need a break from driving on the way down, take a short paddle to Indian key (Islamorada)and catch up on some old history.


paddled the keys…

– Last Updated: Oct-20-04 11:21 AM EST –

paddled from largo to KW a coupla time now and have found that the best camping is NOT anywhere near the blather of rte 1 and generally done with a hammock (hennesey or the like) as a lot of those little keys are just mud, limestone marl or mangroves and so flat, dry space is at a great premium.

hoping for a little "insider knowledge" on where i may find a bit of that sandy, flat, loveliness to toss up the tent and stare up at the stars and out at the sea in a bit of solitude.

those 2 little keys on the hawk channel side are very nice and there are sandy beaches but i was hoping to be on the gulf side and farther down a bit to be right in the thick of it.

as for lignumvitae key, i spent a week one night on indian key in a big blow - it was pretty eerie considering the history. met a couple that had been blown out there too and after a night of self doubt, those 2 were exactly what the doctor ordered in the morning! we shared breakfast had a nice cuppa tea and chatted awhile and i left refreshed despite a lack of sleep.

same experience down off marathon - met a woman/friend down there that i still exchange email with every now and then. she was pretty much an angel one afternoon and offered a very weary paddler a warm, fresh water shower, shave and great conversation after a day or two of just paddling alone. it was great!

so yeah, want to share all that on the honeymoon as they were some fantastic experiences....

Florida bay Outfitters - Key Largo
Might try picking Monica’s brain, they have been the driving force establishing the overseas paddling trail.


oh yeah…

– Last Updated: Oct-20-04 12:10 PM EST –

met frank and monica on the first run of the trip and so know what a great resource they are and their bid to establish a keys version of the maine islands trail that we enjoy up here in the northeast. emailed 'em last night.

while i was at it, emailed jeannie over at sweetwater in case she had any info or experiences that far down as well. we took a class together and while she won't remember me, i recall her and what a resource she could be.

anyways, that's all the outftters i know down that a-ways. if folks have other references they could pass along, that might be a help! of course the odds of folks giving up their favorite "commando" camping spot to a guy from new england....let's just say i am depending upon the kindness of strangers and that legendary southern hospitality!

emailed them all last night as i watched the sox rally and make history...history baby!

A boat that takes kayakers out there
There is a kayak tour type boat that takes kayakers out there. They if anybody would know the lay of the land. I’ll need to dig around the internet to come up with the name.


Scarlet Ibis Tours -
It doesn’t appear to be camping all on your own but they do advertise camping on a private Island named “Howell Island” Thurston Howard the III perhaps ?

Maybe surprise the bride, paddle out to Little Palm Island and stay in the self contained 5 star resort of the rich and famous.

Primative camping according to them not by national park or state parks standards. $ 85 a day, ouch.


There is an outfitter with a boat on
Marathon Key. I think its

A friend stayed with them and had a good experience.

Does anyone know of a good outfitter near Marco Island? I will be there in November sometime.

Sweatwater Kayaks
a little further north, web page easy to find on a search engine. There is another one at the turnoff that takes you to Old Marco/Goodland that name I don’t know off hand, Ivey Tours out of Everglades City probbaly covers Marco also, they also have a web page.


Here is two


Their kayaks aren’t big enough to pack the bread needed to pay for THAT venture -and it won’t be an ADventure in the least. Those good folks have 5-star accomodations, a 5-tire restuarant, 5-star AC (but you CAN walk around outside -I understand that’s permitted) and 5-star bug relief. They also apparently have 5-star hot & cold running help…

THAT should be “Howell” island indeed…!

But the keys are as noted: many will be wondrous, berautiful dots on the horizon, and up close, low-level, barely awash, mud & sand flats whcih may or may not harbor bug populations and above which in a “screend-in, tight mesh, no-seeum-proof, jungle hammock” would be your best bet strung from between 2 stout trees. Most of the good ones are already taken -Key West, Bahia Honda, etc… So, maybe it’s better in some instances to stay on the noisy and noisome “civilized” side of the water nights, and use the days to enjoy the splendor as you

Paddle On!

-Frank in Miami

You must be reffering to
Little Palm Island ? what the hey, its a honey moon right, suppose could paddle to Sunset Key and stay in one of those fine establishments.

They being huge bucks also, saw them on the Fine Living channel last week and Little Palm Many times before. Whats a $ 1000 a night anyway if its not my money.


my mistake
Rates start at $ 695 per night

I would say almost worth it for a honeymoon


Acadia 1 Water Sports
is the fella at the turn into Marco 1-888-786-0676 nice fella great local knowlegde not so sure about his rental fleet but way better than the IvyHouse . They’re tryin to make up for the constuction costs ! You can find cheaper accomedations in E-City and there’s the state campground -Collier-Seminole Park just down the way from the turn to Marco , not a bad lil state park . An outfitter that has good yaks up in Estero right off 41 , good boats and prices last time I stopped in .