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Florida Keys for Families  

a to z guide
K

KAYAKING


K

KAYAKING

 

Prices subject to change

Take the kids kayaking . Various kayaking trips, programs, and tours for all ages and abilities are offered throughout the Florida Keys. Families can explore in dependable ocean kayaks the wildlife rich backcountry, mangrove islands and ocean flats of the Florida Keys. Explore coral reefs, see tropical fish, bird habitats, island rookeries, tidal stream bordered by mangrove islands, seagrass meadows see Tarpon, bonefish, rays and more. Experiencing the natural environment in a kayak is for many visiting families the highlight of their Florida Keys vacation. Resident families love the quiet excitement of kayaking in the rich waters of Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.

 

A GOOD RESOURCE BOOK

Kayaking the Keys: 50 Great Paddling Adventures in Florida's Southernmost Archipelago - Each profile inclused directions to the lauch site, detailed itinerary, route map, availability of kayak rentals, and approximate time needed to complete trip.


Kayaking the Keys
by Kathleen Patton - presents 50 trips around the islands up and down the Keys.
 


 

Editorial Review - Book Description

Spanning the 200-mile stretch of the Florida Keys, this field guide to the entire island chain highlights 50 paddling adventures, many for canoeists as well as kayakers. Trips include short paddles suitable for beginners and children, half-day trips as well as day-long and overnight excursions.

Kathleen Patton provides an overview of the region's environment, describing its terrestrial and marine habitats. She covers equipment needs, safety concerns, weather patterns, and adapting tide tables for specific areas. Trips are arranged geographically, beginning near Miami at the top of the Keys in Biscayne National Park and stretching 73 miles past Key West to Dry Tortugas National Park. Each profile includes directions to the launch site, estimated paddling time, kayak rental availability, a detailed itinerary, and a route map. Icons mark each route's particular strengths: for example, great snorkeling, historical interest, camping, and appropriate trips for canoeists and for children. Patton also directs paddlers to the best reefs, swimming holes, and pristine sandbars for wildlife viewing--birds, manatees, dolphins, tropical reef fish, coral heads, sponges, sea stars, and huge spotted eagle rays.

Clear, concise trip descriptions and detailed maps make Kayaking the Keys the most complete guide for paddlers of all ages and abilities who want to explore the only tropical waters in America that are accessible by automobile.

 

Kayak Tours by Skimmers - MM 47.5, Marathon, 305-743-0771

This guided tour starts out at 9:30 AM and returns to the dock at 3:30 PM. Prices start at $39. Patrons motor by boat out to the back county and explore mangrove islands with their kayaks. There is a break for lunch and then kayaks explore a second site and do some snorkeling. Tour includes kayak, life jacket, snorkel pack, instructions, coolers, drinks, and lunch.

Hawk's Cay Resort Kayak Tours - MM 61, Duck Key, 305-743-7000 Extension 3543 for reservations

One of the best ways for you to learn about the Key's interesting ecosystem is by going sea kayaking. The resort offers to guests a two hour guided tour at $15 per/single and $25 per /double. The tour starts at the resort and meanders passed homes of Duck Key on the way to Tom's Harbor mangrove islands and flats. Kayakers see and learn about bottom seascape, sea life, sea grass, fish and crabs, an array of sea creatures, mangroves, and birds roosting.

Marathon Kayak Resource at Sombrero Resort - MM 50.5, 19 Sombrero Blvd., Marathon 305-743-0561
email:  info@marathonkayak.com  - http://www.marathonkayak.com 

Guided tours of protected waters of Boot Key Harbor and mangrove channels of Sister's Creek and Whiskey Creek. Half day 3 1/2 hour AM and PM tours at $40 a person. Other offerings. Rentals for self exploration 4 hours single $30 and double $40. Full day $50 and $55.

 

Sunset Kayak Tours at Crane Point Hammock in Marathon - paddle off Crane Hammock explore around Little Rachael Key - Kayak Dave from Marathon kayak guides participants through the mangrove and flats Thursdays from 10 AM to noon at Crane Point Hammock , Marathon 743-9100 for Information

 

A FUN DAY TRIP. Kayak, Search for Key Deer and have pizza at the No Name Pub. Leave the touristy sites of the Overseas Highway and spend a day exploring Big Pine. Kayak in the back country with a nature guide, visit several nature sites and take a break at the No name Pub.

Make reservations with Big Pine Kayak Adventures below. After kayaking cross the bridge at the Old Wooden Bridge fish camp and search for Key Deer. Then visit the No Name Pub for Pizza. The National Key Deer Refuge on Big Pine is a Key Deer haven. Also on Big Pine is the Blue Hole, a sinkhole with a nature observation platform and a walking trail. Freshwater fish and turtles as well as alligators at times reside in Blue Hole. A short walk from the Blue Hole on Higgs Lane will take you to Watson's Hammock and Jack Watson's Nature Trail. For additional information go to Florida Keys Nature Trails. During late fall to early spring, the Big Pine Flea market is a activity available on Saturdays.

 

Big Pine Kayak Adventures - two locations in the Big Pine area : (old wooden bridge fish camp & Parmers Resort). - 305-872-7474. The old wooden bridge fish camp is located close to the famous No Name Pub. A great place for the kids for pizza after a kayaking trip. The kids can try to guess how many thousands of signed one dollar bills hang from the ceilings and walls of the No Name Pub.

Big Pine Kayak Adventures caters to small groups and families. Operated by Bill Keogh, it is in its tenth year of operation. Bill has been staff photographer at seacamp for 15 years. Bill has had the opportunity to work with kids in this tropical environment teaching as well as photographing kids in the ocean. Great write-ups in many media. Along with kayaking we Big Pine Kayak Adventures has several custom motor boats that allow for eco-excursions to the refuge and reef areas. Website http://www.keyskayaktours.com . call with questions

Bill Keogh - guide and photographer
Lucrecia St., Big Pine Key, FL 33043
email: KEOGHKEY@AOL.COM

19th year as a  popular guide and photographer, educator and backcountry guide in the Lower Keys. phone: 877-LWKAYAK , 305-872-9860, 305- 872-8950 - Photography published in National Geographic, The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund, The New York Times, and L.A. Times

He has two books about the Florida Keys.

A good source book is The Florida Keys: The Natural Wonders of an Island Paradise
by Jeff Ripple (Photographer), Bill Keogh (Photographer)


The book, The Natural Wonders of an Island Paradise by Bill Keogh

"The Florida Keys" addresses the origins, natural history, and ecological importance of the Keys in a manner that entertains and educates ... The photographs bring to us in startling color many images that we may have never seen." - Irene Hooper, Executive Director, SeaCamp/Newfound Harbor Marine Institute, Big Pine Key, Florida

 

 

Editorial Review : Library Journal

"Thoroughly researched and filled with outstanding photographs . . . recommended."

Book Description

Those who think of the Florida Keys as miles of sandy beaches have much to learn about our southern Florida archipelago.

Each year, about four million people visit the Florida Keys, a 150-mile chain of tropical islands known for its diving, seagrass beds, mysterious mangrove forests, lush hardwood hammocks, rocky pinelands, and both fresh and saltwater wetlands (but not miles of sandy beaches).

The Florida Keys explores the extraordinary beauty of this ecological treasure in stunning color...

 

Double Diamond water craft rentals - kayaks and jet ski at Blackfin Resort, Marathon, 305-743-5099

 

Florida Keys Kayaks and Canoe Tours and Rentals - Scarlet Ibis Tours , FLORIDA KEYS NATURE TOURS AND ECO TOURS, Big Pine & Cudjoe Keys and the surrounding Lower Keys - http://keys-kayak-canoe-tours.com/ or http://courtesyfloridakeys.com/kayak.htm - informative and friendly guides! Call or email Captain Markus - KAYAKTHEKEYS@AOL.COM    Phone: 305-872-0032, Canoetours@aol.com  or  Ecotours@aol.com EMAIL: canoetours@aol.com or kayakthekeys@aol.com, Ecotours@aol.com

Kayaks / Canoe rentals and Self-Guided Tours include rental, paddles, vests, line. half day - $35 / full - $50 , $5 extra per-person for Map and Bird ID Card, weekly special - $225, double kayak rentals  half day - $45  / full - $60,
Guided Standard Tours: $45 per person / 3-4 hours

Sea-worthy, "semi-v"style canoes offer extra room and high and dry feeling. Kayaks are Ocean Paddle

Experience the Wildlife and Marine life of the National Marine Sanctuary, Great White Heron Refuge and National Key Deer Refuge - Backcountry waters and Oceanside flats, Mangrove Islandsand some of the most rare and beautiful Marine Life, Birds & Flora in the U.S.

Try the "Wayback Tour" on a flats' skiff and the "kayaks aboard". deep into the pristine areas of the backcountry known by a few locals and flats fishing guides. A little bit of everything - birding, nature photography backcountry beach lunch, kayaking along a mangrove tunnel , snorkeling, swimming, fishing

 

Kayak Adventures - 601 Front Street, Key West - call 305-7444-8335 or toll free 1-888-733-5455, http://www.floridays.org

Backcountry kayaking and snorkeling departures twice daily. Limited to six with kayaks ideally suited for families. Each kayak takes two adults and a child. The boat , Floridays Outback , takes you deep into the backcounty of the National Wildlife Refuge where the kayak tour begins. Experienced guides lead you on an informative ecological journey of the Keys mangrove islands. View marine life - small sharks, sea rays, tropical fish and bird wildlife - herons, pelicans, ospreys. Adults $59, children $49

 

Blue Planet Kayak - Eco Tours - 305-294-8087 - http://www.blue-planet-kayak.com

AM and PM tour, easy paddling single and tandem tours available, all tours near Key West.
scenic tropical flora and fauna, learn about plants unique to Keys, wildlife, geologu, and ancient people, nesting and wading birds, 2 1/2 Hour Boca Chica Tour, $35 per person; 3 1/2 to 4 hour, Tour Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge; Special Tours, also kayak rentals for those desiring to do own exploring

 

Adventure Charters and Tours - 6810 Front Street, Stock Island, 305-296-0362

http://www.keywestadventures.com

Offers several tours of varying length - tours depart Safe Harbor marina MM 5, US1 to McDonald Ave., then 4th Ave. to Front Street, all ages welcome 2 1/2 hour $30, half day $35 and full day - call for price. Full day trip takes you twelve miles into the heart of the Great Natural Wildlife Refuge aboard the Island Fanta Sea, a 42' by 25' catamaran. Kayaking the Mud Keys in the morning, lunch and beverage, then on to the Snipe Keys for kayaking, snorkeling, bird watching, beach combing or fishing.

Paddler's Paradise - MM 82.5 1-888-88KAYAK

Daily tours of all sorts AM, PM, and Evening. Adventure eco-tour and special kids program. Guided eco-tour from $29.

Florida Keys Kayaking - MM 77.5 next to Robbies, Islamorada

Offers a 3 hour Back Country Tour starting at 8 AM for $39 a person and a 2 hour afternoon tour starting at 3 PM for $29 pp. They also have a Sunset Tour two hours before sunset priced at $29 pp. Single and double kayak rentals at $10 and $15 for an hour. Half day rate $25 for single and $35 for double 305-664-4878

Paddle Explore at John Pennekamp State Park- MM 102.5, Key Largo
Explore the Park's mangrove wilderness by canoe or kayak
( $10/single/hr. - $15/double/hr.) along the 2 1/2 miles of marked trails. Park entrance fee $4 for car and 50 cent per passenger.

Long Key State Recreational Area - MM 67.5, Long Key, Layton

Children will enjoy paddling and marvel at the tidal lagoon on the Long Key Lakes Canoeing Trail which takes about an hour to journey. A self-guided tour brochure describing the mangroves, ecology and wading and marine life to be seen along the way is available. For more see Beaches and Parks Section.

Reflections Kayak Nature Tours - MM 28.5

Guided kayak eco-tours with reservations or self exploration of the back country. Charts provided for those wishing to explore on their own. Suggestions provided for exploring the shallows and mangrove covered islands in search of tropical and local birds and marine life. 305-872-2896.

 Florida Bay Outfitters - Key Largo - MM 104, US 1 Highway, Key Largo, tours, sales, rentals

One of the largest kayak and canoe operations in Florida, near John Pennekamp Park, Florida Bay Outfitters offers guided and self-guided tours throughout all areas of the Keys, Prices range from $39 per person to $600 plus. Half day tours and over nighters, trips to the Everglades, John Pennekamp, Great White Heron Refuge, Lignumvitae Key and Indian Key, 305-451-3018,

http://www.kayakfloridakeys.com

 

ANOTHER GOOD RESOURCE BOOK

Sea Kayaking in the Florida Keys by Bruce Wachob


Sea Kayaking in the Florida Keys by Bruce Wachob

 

 

 

Customer Reviews

Yes, definately take your map and compass., August 1, 2000

Reviewer: Keith M. Wellman from Miami, Florida USA. As a south Florida resident for many years and a 6-year kayaker, I have found Bruce Wachob's book very useful. It gives excellent directions to launch sites in the last 30 miles of the Florida Keys. His self-taught descriptions of this sub-tropical ecosystem are excellent. His maps are some of the best you will find in this type of book; however, it is wise to always have a high quality nautical map handy. Good nautical maps can be obtained at dive shops and elsewhere throughout the keys. In any case, whenever kayaking in south Florida, pay close and continuous attention to your location. A navigation lapse can cost you miles of paddling and severe anxiety! Wachob's book is a must read for first-time kayakers in the area.

Take your map and compass, April 3, 2000

Reviewer: A reader from Tallahassee, FL My review is based on reading this book, and then traveling to the Keys where a friend and I followed some of the trip itineraries. I am not from the Keys, and this was my first visit there in 20 years, so good directions were of the utmost importance. The book does make easy work of finding launch sites, especially for those who aren't familiar with the area, but some paddling routes were confusing to follow. The mangroves look very much the same, and it can be difficult to distinguish one small island from the next. My paddling buddy and I took turns navigating and he had the same problem. The book gives the impression that you'll see sharks, fish, rays, etc., even noting that sightings are "common" in some areas. We saw little marine life in our week of paddling, but did see plenty of wading birds. Make no mistake - this is a beautiful paddling destination. And the book is worth reading, but a good nautical map is a must-have. We ended up using the book as a starting point, and planning our own itineries.

Great book for the kayaking afficianado or Keys nature buff!, June 8, 1999

Reviewer: A reader from Summerland Key, Florida. As a 14 year Keys resident, I can say that this book is a must if you love the water and are visiting the Keys. It would also be enjoyed by nature-lovers everywhere as the author describes in detail the unusual sub-tropical ecosystem that one will be witness to if kayaking in the Keys. Mr. Wachob's love of his subject is unequalled and it makes for an easy and thoroughly enjoyable "read". As a man who grew up in the Keys and is a kayaking guide, the author's knowledge of where to go to kayak and what to see in the varied Keys waters is invaluable to the Keys visitor or resident. If you didn't want to visit these islands before reading, you will definitely want to afterward. Recommended!!

 

Outdoor Explorers Summer Camp - children 10 to 15, 9 AM to 4:30 PM Monday through Friday, starts June 2, 2003 sponsored by Conch republic Kayak Company - kayaking, water safety, marine Sanctuary Infoirmation, marine science,and environmental education, field trips - location of camp is Geiger Key Marina, 5 Geiger Road, Big Coppitt, Fee call 305-294-7550

  

Conch Republic Kayak Company - Sea Kayak Eco-Touirs 305-294-7550, 5 Geiger Road, Geiger Key marina, Key West, FL 33040 - 0ffers several tours : sunset dinner paddle, back country mangrove tour, ghost tour and full moon paddle, bed and breakfast getaway,

 

Banana Boat Services - Murray Marine, Stock Island - 1-866-293-9330 or 305-293-9330 - back county excursions consisting of your choice a little or a lot of kayaking, photography, snorkeling, bird watching and exploring.

 

Ace Kayaking Eco Tours - two hour tours 305-744-9977 or 305-240-0804 , lowest price on rentals and tours call for rates - mangove tunnels to corals and sponges, full or half day, midnight or midnight, ocean or gulf, sunrise or sunset, small personal groups, you decide where, when and what - guided by Bill Schneider, semi-retired College Biology teacher

 


 

A to Z INDEX OF CATEGORIES   

A -

ACCOMMODATIONS - FAMILY ORIENTED RESORTS
ACCOMMODATIONS FAMILY - OTHER

AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAMS
AIRPLANE RIDES
ANIMALS
ART AND CRAFTS

ACTIVITIES, BOOKS, GAMES, IDEAS FOR TRAVEL

B -

BABY FOOD, ACCESSORIES, BABY SITTING
BASEBALL AND BASEBALL DIAMONDS
BARBERS AND BEAUTY SALONS
BATHROOMS

BEACHES AND BEACH ADVISORIES
BEACH PHOTOGRAPHERS

BICYCLES

BIRDS AND BUTTERFLIES

BIRTHDAY PARTIES - BALLOONS, COSTUMES, ENTERTAINMENT, MAGICIANS
BOATS - CANOES, RENTALS, SAILING, TOURS AND SCENIC RIDES
BOWLING

C -

CAMPING
CAR SEATS
CHILDREN'S CAMPS
CHILD CARE CENTERS
CHILDREN'S SERVICES
CHRISTMAS
COMPUTER GAMES

D -

DANCE LESSONS
DENTISTS
DEPARTMENT STORES
DOCTORS - FOR CHILDREN
DOLPHINS PROGRAMS AND ENCOUNTERS

E -

ENVIRONMENT

F -

FISH FEEDING, FISHING - DOCKS - MARINAS - PARTY BOATS

FOOD - CHILD FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS , BURGERS , PIZZA

FESTIVALS

G -

GAMES - COMPACT FOR TRAVEL

GOLF
GYMNASTICS

H -

HOCKEY
HOSPITALS

I -

ICE CREAM

J -

JOURNALS, TRAVEL DIARIES AND SCRAPBOOKS FOR KIDS

K -

KARATE
KAYAKING

L -

LACROSSE
LESSONS (See
tennis, wind surfing, wakeboarding, piano,sailing, swimming, recreation programs, arts and crafts )
LIBRARIES

M -

MAGICIANS
MOVIES
MUSEUMS

N -

NATURE WALKS
NURSERY SCHOOLS (See CHILD CARE CENTERS )

P -

PARASAILING
PHOTOGRAPHY FOR CHILDREN / FAMILIES
PIANOS LESSONS
PLAYGROUNDS AND PARKS (see also SCHOOLS)

 

Q -

QUARRY

R -

RAILROADS
RECREATION
READING
RESCUE SQUADS

 S -  

SAILING - LESSONS, SAILBOAT RENTALS, SUPPLIES, EQUIPMENT
SANDALS AND SHOES
SCHOOLS - REGISTRATION, IMMUNIZATION (public),
SCHOOLS (private),
SKATING
SNORKELING AND SNUBA,
SOCCER
SPAS
SUMMER RECREATION
SUNSET CELEBRATIONS AND CRUISES
SWIMMING

T -

TACOS
TENNIS COURTS AND LESSONS,
TOURS
TOYS
TRANSPORTATION
TUTORING

V -

VIDEO MOVIE AND GAME RENTALS,

W -

WAKEBOARDING,
WALKING,
WINDSURFING SUPPLIES AND LESSONS,
WEDDINGS

Y-

YOUTH GROUPS, ORGANIZATIONS, AND CENTERS (see also CAMPS),

Z -

ZOOS (see ANIMALS )

 


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