It’s not the best known destination in southwest Florida, but there are a lot reasons that make Lovers Key State Park so lovable: A 2.5 mile beach lined with natural vegetation that is perfect for beachcombing and bird watching, and mangrove-lined waterways that are draws for both manatees and kayakers.
Kayak, Canoe, Paddle Trails
Caladesi Island State Park, off the coast of Clearwater and Dunedin, has been called the best beach in America. What’s even better? Kayaking to Caladesi and seeing wonderful wildlife along the way.
Emerson Point Preserve is an exceptional county park, off the beaten path on the southern end of Tampa Bay. There is excellent hiking and kayaking, and the real gem is the Portavant temple mound.
Donald MacDonald Park is one of those cozy little campgrounds you want to keep to yourself. Lush vegetation and access to a natural river with abundant wildlife.
If you have one day or its your first visit to the Everglades, this guide will help you see wildlife and experience the essence of Everglades National Park. We offer tips, too, for more in-depth Everglades experiences.
I’ve paddled a lot of trails in the Everglades, but so far, the Turner River is my favorite. It goes from pristine cypress swamp, through mangrove tunnels to sawgrass marsh, and it teems with birds, gators and fish. It’s everything the Everglades offers in one trip.
Just 45 minute from Tampa/St. Pete, the beautiful river, state park and region is a natural haven that can keep you busy exploring for days. There’s an outfitter to make trip-planning easy, plus it offers cabins and camping.
The Santa Fe River near Gainesville is a treasure for its many clear bubbling springs and its unspoiled beauty. It’s one of Florida’s most beautiful places to kayak, canoe, snorkel and swim. It’s way north, but worth making part of a trip.
A scenic kayak outing on Turkey Creek takes you to Palm Bay’s Turkey Creek Sanctuary, where you can explore 3.5 miles of trails. Along the way, see dolphins, manatees and other wildlife.
The Calusa Blueway is a 190-mile long paddling trail through the Gulf Coast waters around Fort Myers. It’s not designed to be through-paddled, but it IS designed to be Florida’s best kayak trail. You can get free maps of the various paddling trails sent to you.