Florida Keys kayaking and canoeing provide some of the best and most ecological ways to explore the islands for up-close encounters with birds and wildlife, including species found nowhere else in North America, and to really experience the unique ecosystem. The 129-mile-long archipelago is made up of more than 1,700 islands, and extends past Key West all the way to the seven islands of the uninhabited Dry Tortugas where Key West kayaking is possible. If you're looking for eco tours, this is one of the primary types that are offered.
Several outfitters offer transportation to Dry Tortugas National Park and provide you with a Key West kayak rental so you can spend the day exploring the park's coves and inlets or enjoy more time camping and snorkeling around offshore shipwrecks. There are other so-called rent & ride outfitters that take you to remote areas, such as Bahia Honda State Park, and drop you off for a period of time to explore and kayak at your own pace.
A different ecosystem is found in the vast wilderness of the nearby Everglades, where its coast and inner estuaries, coastal marshes, and Florida Bay waters protect more than 100 keys, most formed by mangroves. Islamorada and Key Largo kayaking allow you to paddle from the Florida Keys into this watery wilderness, where the fishing is great and your sense of isolation is complete. Many visitors to the Keys visit the Everglades on boat tours, and even Key West kayaking outfitters will take you out here for a guided day of paddling. If you want to stay longer and camp as you go, you can obtain a Key West kayak rental and hire a motorboat to drop you off and pick you up later.
If you want to enjoy Florida Keys kayaking in truly unspoiled nature without the camping expedition, you will find the ideal spot at Big Pine Key Deer and Great White Heron wildlife refuges. This is almost 200,000 acres of area containing numerous small mangrove and pine forest islands that protect the great white heron, osprey, bald eagle, and much other bird life. Also in these waters are endangered green sea turtles, loggerhead turtles, and hawksbill turtles. Because Big Pine Key is in the lower Keys and near Key West, you will find Key West kayak rental outfitters who offer guided and self-guided kayak tours to the wildlife refuges. There are also outfitters that offer these tours in Marathon Key.
Florida Keys kayak fishing is one of the most popular things to do on the water during a vacation in the Keys. It allows you to navigate silently into extremely shallow waters while stalking tarpon, bonefish, barracuda, and sharks. A number of Key West kayaking outfitters offer trips that can combine fishing as well as snorkeling and visiting remote beaches. Sunset cruises in kayaks offer another of the area attractions, and you can catch this spectacular sight as you paddle in after day of exploring. There is a Florida Keys kayaking trip that will suit most travelers' tastes and budgets, and you can even find kayak outfitters with tours where participants bring along the family dog.