Florida was built for kayaking! With thousands of miles of coastline, Intracoastal Waterway, bays, islands, keys, rivers, lakes, canals, and streams its hard to imagine a state with more kayaking opportunities than the state of Florida. Couple that with the year-round agreeable weather and you have a veritable kayaking playground. Come to think of it, there is literally nowhere in the state of Florida that doesn’t have near immediate access to kayaking during any month of the year. Just consider this:
Facts Directly Related to Kayaking in State of Florida
Total Water Area Within Florida- 4,308 Square Miles
Total Florida Coastline - 1,197 Statute Miles
Tidal Florida Shoreline - 2,276 Statute Miles
Florida Beaches - 663 Miles
Florida Rivers, Streams, and Waterways - 11,000 miles
Florida Lakes greater than 10 acres - Aprox. 7,700
First Magnitude Florida Springs - 27
Islands in Florida Greater than 10 Acres - Aprox. 4,500
Here is a General Look at Florida’s Kayaking Options
Kayaking Florida’s East and West Coast Beaches
Being a peninsula, and a pretty large one at that, Florida is surrounded by hundreds of miles of beaches from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean. The kayaking opportunities, options, launch sites, and trip lengths are endless. Kayak shops and outfitters dot the coastline from Jacksonville down to the Florida Keys and up the other side to Tallahassee. While you can’t always launch a kayak anywhere on Florida's beaches, there is always somewhere close where you’re allowed to.
Kayaking in Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway and Bays
Just about the entire eastern coastline of Florida contains this strip of water a few blocks in from the ocean known as the Intracoastal Waterway. In some areas there are bays connected to the Intracoastal or in the immediate vicinity of it. When you drive to the beach and go over a bridge you’re probably going over the Intracoastal. Some of the most amazing homes, parks, restaurants, islands, and paddling in Florida are in and around the Intracoastal. Just watch out for boats and obey the “rules of the road” when kayaking in Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway.
Kayaking The Florida Keys
The Florida Keys are a highly sought after sportfishing destination. The same factors that make these shallow, clear, and blue waters great for fishing and sea life also make them perfect for kayaking. And since kayakers like paddling to and from and around islands, the Florida Keys are perfectly suited for it. Its hard to believe that in this less than 90 mile stretch there are 1700 islands connected by 42 bridges. Only 43 of the keys are connected by those bridges, making most of them accessible only by water. So, get out there and explore!
Kayaking The Everglades
The Florida Everglades are a huge subtropical wetland in the southern portion of the state. It’s a lot of swamp really. But don’t let the word swamp deter you. The fish, alligators, and birds make this ecosystem a wonderful area to paddle in. Just watch out where you swim!
Kayaking Florida's 10,000 Islands
The 10,000 Islands is located on the Gulf of Mexico, just northwest of the southern most tip of Florida and west of Everglades National Park This nutrient rich area of the Gulf has literally thousands of mangrove islands with even more miles of trails to paddle and get lost in. Be sure to take a map. You can paddle your whole life here and still not see it all!
Lakes, Rivers, Canals, Bays, and Inlets
While Florida is known for its beaches, don’t let that fool you. As the statistics above show, there are over 4000 square miles of water within the state. Much of this water mass are lakes that flow into rivers and canals, which flow into bays, which eventually make it to the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico. Now, that’s a lot of flowing! So, if you want a protected paddle on some fresh water find your nearest Florida lake and do some kayaking.