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Kayaking in Sanibel Island Florida: Explore the Waterways Around Sanibel

20 Apr 2023
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On your next stay on Sanibel Island, try some paddle-powered adventures such as kayaking, canoeing, or stand up paddleboarding! Paddling around our islands is a fun, unique, and relaxing way to explore everything Sanibel and Captiva have to offer. Kayaking in Sanibel Island offers a unique perspective of Southwest Florida's waterways and wildlife, and it's a fun and relaxing way to spend the afternoon. 

Our Favorite Sanibel Island Kayaking Trails

1. Buck Key & Tween Waters

Buck Key is an uninhabited preserve about two miles long paralleling Captiva Island. The most popular kayak trip out of Tween Waters is to take the narrow kayak trail across Buck Key. The path crosses a pristine lagoon and continues through deeply shaded mangrove tunnels to the other side of the island and Pine Island Sound.

2. Tarpon Bay from J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge

Probably the most popular kayak outing on Sanibel puts in at J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Preserve. Most kayakers take the two-hour Commodore Creek Trail, a well-marked route through the mangroves where you can see a variety of birds and the occasional manatee, but there are many other possibilities here!

3. Sanibel Causeway area

You can paddle the Great Calusa Blueway Trail by starting from the lovely county park on the causeway itself or launching from the City of Sanibel boat ramp just east of the causeway. Starting from the base of the causeway, paddle two miles along the shore until you reach Tarpon Bay. Once in Tarpon Bay, you can paddle the mangrove islands of Ladyfinger Lake on the bay’s eastern edge.

4. Blind Pass Area and Wulfert’s Island

For the experienced kayaker, Blind Pass can be a fun adventure. There is a small public parking lot for the beach on Captiva on the north side of Blind Pass. If you’re lucky enough to get a spot there, you can launch a kayak off the beach and very cautiously paddle through Blind Pass. Be warned: There are strong currents in the pass.

Sanibel Island Kayak Rentals & Gear

kayak rentals sitting along waterfront

Be sure to stop by Tarpon Bay Explorers for rentals, tours, and much more!

Experience bird life, dolphins, and manatees while taking a Sea Life Cruise or doing it on your own by kayak, canoe or standup paddleboard. 

Tarpon Bay Explorers offers pontoon boats, fishing charters, Ding Darling Refuge Tram tour, Breakfast or Sunset Cruises, and much more. A real life touch tank is always a big hit with the little ones.

Tarpon Bay Explorers Contact Information

Phone Number: 239-472-8922 (Reservations Recommended)

Address: 900 Tarpon Bay Road, Sanibel Island, FL 33957

Tips For Kayaking in Sanibel Island Florida

If you've never gone kayaking before, it's best to start with a guided excursion to learn the basics and have an experienced leader. As a part of a guided tour, you'll typically learn the basic techniques and helpful tips for when you're out on the water. Plus, when you go on a guided tour you'll have someone bringing you to all the best spots throughout Sanibel and Captiva Islands.

If you're going out on your own, be sure you understand water conditions and are up-to-date with current weather patterns. Start by going out on calmer waters and be mindful of quick changes in conditions. 

Things to Bring With You Kayaking

  • Plenty of water
  • Sunscreen
  • Light layers and sweat-resistant clothing
  • Snacks
  • Bug repellent
  • Water shoes or sandals
  • Hat
  • Lip balm with SPF
  • Durable dry bag for your cell phone, camera, etc.

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