This is your first step in planning adventures for the coming cooler weather. We’ve paddled dozens of Florida waterways and here’s our pick for the best places to kayak by region plus a few “unsung” favorites we recommend you discover.
Author: Bonnie Gross
This isn’t frozen shrimp or imported shrimp or farmed shrimp. The huge boiling pots at the Fort Myers Beach Shrimp Festival are filled with fresh, right-off-the-boat Gulf pink shrimp. Members of the Lions Club have perfected the cooking technique over 50 years of Shrimp Festivals.
With their big eyes and tiny size, this endangered species is easy to love. Visitors to the Keys often want to know where to see Key deer. Now there’s a new free nature center in Big Pine Key in the Key Deer National Wildlife Refuge.
Florida winters were meant for this: Discovering wild and scenic places by kayak. To help you plan fun Florida kayak trips, I’ve selected three of my favorite kayak destinations in Southwest Florida. These aren’t well-known but deserve to be.
This state park has superior cabins and is a great base for kayaking the Suwannee and hiking. It’s also home to an oddly dated museum on Stephen Foster. (We considered it a funky Florida find.)
Cabbage Key is reachable only by boat. It’s popular as a lunch-cruise destination. But stay overnight in the inn or cabins to discover its true charms. On our visit, we also found it’s a great base for exploring by kayak.
You can get gator tail and swamp cabbage at this festival. But the real reason to go is to revel in a last corner of small town America in Florida — beauty pageants, high school bands, armadillo races and a rodeo.
This state park holds a special place in my heart. In urban South Florida, it preserves a sliver of the natural splendor once all around. There’s a lot to do here: beach, biking, shaded picnics, Intracoastal views. When visiting, a perfect day includes a stop to nearby Bonnet House.