Why You Should Try Kayaking in the Everglades

Why You Should Try Kayaking in the Everglades


The Everglades is a unique eco-system. Spreading over 2 million acres, it’s the only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles coexist. Alligators don’t digest salt, so they live in fresh water, whereas crocodiles thrive in both fresh and salt water. This stunning wetland area is an absolute must-see if you’re visiting Florida and one of the best ways to see it is by kayak. These are just a few of the reasons why you should try kayaking in the Everglades.

everglades-area-tour-waterlilyAn alternative to the theme parks

Who doesn’t love a good theme park, and Florida has more of them than any other area in the world. Yet for adventure-seekers, it is easy to combine a trip there with a visit to the Paradise Coast. This region has many attractions besides the Everglades that we will be sharing with you over the coming weeks.

everglades-area-tour-waterliliesEco-friendly

Kayaks have the advantage of being totally silent and for that reason they’re allowed to venture fully into the Everglades National Park. Air boats are not permitted in most of the park itself, only on the outskirts due to the noise of the motors. Everglades Area Tours are one of the specialists in eco-tours in the area, leading excursions by kayak, bicycle and on foot.

everglades-area-tourWildlife in abundance

By choosing an eco-friendly tour, you’re likely to see more wildlife. Our guide, Ronald, is a Florida Master Naturalist, licensed by the US Coast Guard and certified by the National Park. He knows the area like the back of his hand and takes great pleasure in sharing his knowledge with others. The wildlife was in abundance on the day we kayaked but there are no crocodiles in that area of the Everglades, just alligators who are perfectly safe if undisturbed. Check out Paul’s video here…

Ron pointed out these magnificent specimens perching in the trees.

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We also came across a  sea-turtle, admiring the scenery like we were 😉

everglades-turtle
This Great Blue Heron took flight at one point, impressing us with his grace. We also spotted many egrets and an impressive sea eagle.

everglades-bird-spotting
Perhaps the biggest thrill was getting up close and personal with the alligators…The saying goes, do something that scares you every day, and I have to admit to being a bit apprehensive about kayaking among them. However, I asked Ron beforehand and he reassured us that alligators, unlike crocodiles are safe if left unprovoked.

everglades-tour-alligator
In the areas where he took us, they were young alligators that were also extremely docile. They hardly moved as we glided by, much to my relief!

everglades-kayaking-tour-alligatorExplore the mangroves

The Everglades are home to the largest mangrove forest in North America and on this tour, we had the privilege of kayaking through them. Mangrove trees grow along tidal creeks and provide refuge for many birds and mammals. In parts, the mangrove roots are so omnipresent that you can’t easily paddle. The solution is to use the branches to push through gently with your hands. The canopy overhead provides welcome shade and an eerie sense of stillness.

mangrove-florida-tripGet fit…

Whilst kayaking is a great upper body workout, thankfully it’s not too tiring.  It’s actually suitable for all ages and fitness levels. The youngest person that our guide has taken kayaking was 2 years old and there have been several participants in their 80s and 90s. We kept stopping to take pictures so didn’t work up too much of a sweat, and Ronald was happy for us to do so – in fact he pointed out many great photo opportunities. Both Paul and I wore a shirt designed to repel mosquitoes and I’d definitely recommend that you do the same. It’s also worth applying insect repellent liberally and wearing a hat to protect you from the sun.

everglades-alligator-kayak-tour-reviewWork as a team

The reason why kayaking in the Everglades is suitable for all ages is that you can go out on tour own or in a 2 person boat. Just be warned that it may take some time before you get in sync with your fellow paddler;-). Our guide was extremely patient, instructing us how to work as a team. A 2 person kayak is more stable though it’s harder to get photos of the other person so next time we’d probably go separately.

2-person-kayakEat stone crab

Did you know that fishing Florida stone crabs is considered to be eco-friendly too? The reason is that only their claws are harvested, with the crab itself being returned to the water and growing new claws. They are only fished between 15 October and 15 May and Everglades City is one of the best places to go and sample them.

everglades-stone-crab
Our guide recommended Camellia Street Grill, a colourful place on the Barron River.

everglades-camelia-grill-restaurantWe had also heard good things about City Seafood on Begonia Street. Camellia Street Grill has a quirky decor and most importantly, some delicious food. The veggie burgers are a good alternative for those who aren’t keen on seafood.

everglades-camelia-grill-stone-crab
We tucked into deliciously tasty crab that came away from the shell so easily that you could tell it was at its freshest. For dessert, we savoured a lovely Key Lime Pie, a great end to our adventure, kayaking in the Everglades.

Have you ever been kayaking in the Everglades or elsewhere?

This post was brought to you in association with Visit Florida and Paradise Coast

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  • It looks like so much fun!

    Candice | Beauty Candy Loves

  • I bet the Kayaking was so peaceful!

  • Wow, I’d have been terrified going so close to the crocodiles and alligators! How amazing to see all that wildlife up close though 🙂 and that’s sooo weird about the crabs being returned to the water after their claws are harvested – cool, but weird!! xxx
    Lucy @ La Lingua | Life, Travel, Italy

    • Luckily there weren’t any crocodiles in this area of the Everglades so it’s really safe. As for the crabs, it’s great that they’re so sustainable

  • I’d be totally freaked out doing this but it looks like such a great adventure!

  • WhatWouldVWear

    Wow! Just amazing! I love kayaking too! It’s so fun, babe!

    xoxo, Vanessa
    http://www.WhatWouldVWear.com

  • It seems so fun!!!

    http://www.brooklynglam.com/

  • Whoa I would have totally freaked out but it seems like fun though. I mean how many times in life do we get to experience such adventures?!

    xx
    Makeup, Style and Sugar
    https://simpliannie.wordpress.com/

  • I would have been so scared even though it sounds fairly safe. I’ve done kayaking before and I remember that I had sore muscles for several days after! 😉

    • I was expecting to feel quite sore but we didn’t – the only explanation I can think of is that we stopped a lot to take photos

  • I’d prefer activities in and around nature over an theme park any day! I just love the suspense of not knowing what animal you can spot and I love to exercise and when you’re in nature, I feel as though you don’t realize that you’re exercising when you are because you’re so busy looking around you! These photos are gorgeous, as always! Thanks for sharing and I hope you’re having a great week so far!

    XO,

    Jalisa
    http://www.thestylecontour.com

    • That’s a very good point, it doesn’t actually feel like exercise and yet you’re getting a proper workout

  • I have never been kayaking anywhere but it sounds and looks awesome!

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

    • It’s quite easy to get the hang of and at times you can just glide through the water without paddling

  • Hayley Rubery

    Sure this looks SO much fun! I kayaked for the first time in Costa Rica and bloody loved in and did some more in Phuket, it’s just so fun! This looks another level awesome though!

    Hayley xo
    http://www.frockmeimfamous.com

    • I can’t wait to visit Costa Rica, hoping to go there in 2017 so I will pick your brains if I do

  • This does look like a nice alternative to theme parks, as well as a perfect opportunity for spotting some local wildlife!

    Gabrielle | A Glass Of Ice x

    • I must say, the wildlife camouflages itself well but thanks to our guide we managed to spot quite a bit!

  • This looks like a great experience and a fantastic way to get close to wildlife!

    Miriam
    http://www.londonkitchendiaries.com

  • What a fun adventure! The Everglades have their own special charm. 🙂

    -Ashley
    Le Stylo Rouge

  • Kayaking through the Everglades seems very beautiful. We love kayaking on the rivers in Kauai. Of course the flora and fauna are very different, but we’ve seen turtles in Kauai too.

    • That sounds like heaven, Anda – and I love the fact that you never know what you are going to spot whilst kayaking!

  • Ellie Adams

    What an incredible thing to do and such a lovely alternative to the parks too, I would definitely go and check this out, perfect!

    Elle
    http://www.theellenextdoor.com
    xx

    • It certainly made a nice change, Elle – and I’ve just read your Christmas post, I’m with you on that!

  • What a wonderful and adventurous thing to do! I would love to kayak around the Everglades but having watching too many episodes of planet earth recently I think I would be a little worried that an alligator or croc might lunge for me and tip the boat over. Do you know if that kind of thing has ever happened before?

  • Coco Cami

    Great post, thanks for sharing. This looks like an amazing experience!

    Camille xo

    http://www.cococami.blogspot.co.uk

  • Wow what an amazing experience! Great post!

    Gemma x
    http://www.jacquardflower.uk

  • what an amazing adventure! I want to do this!

    kelseybang.com

  • Aditi Oberoi Malhotra

    Looks like so much fun! So Beautiful!
    Adi xx
    fancycorrectitude.com
    instagram.com/fancycorrectitude

  • This looks amazing!! I love that you are getting a work out while touring around, I would be a little worried about the aligators though!

    Ash | http://www.liakadatravel.com

  • Agness

    I went kayaking once in France and I totally loved it 🙂 Happy to see that you’ve also enjoyed your kayaking adventures!

  • ♫ Alison M ♪

    I would love to see the everglades one day, not so sure about the alligators. It looks like a real experience getting so close

  • Talk about getting right into nature! I love these shots!

    -Ashley
    Le Stylo Rouge

  • Ok so the aligators would scare the life out of me regardless of how much reassurance I was getting from a guide but definitely exhilarating and such gorgeous views to reward those who can brave it! ☺

    • After a while you almost forget they are there! They are just relaxing and not at all interested in anything else

  • Krista Marie ↟

    Ahhhh that looks amazing! I would so love to do this!

  • This looks incredible! I went to the everglades 8 years ago but we were on a boat – I can’t imagine my family getting up close and personal with the gators ahaha! xx

    http://www.diaryofanexpatgirl.com

  • Lucy

    Wow absolutely stunning and loving Paul’s camera work, felt like I was a passenger in the boat with you Lucy x