Everglades Kayak Tours

Explore and truly experience the REAL Everglades!

After acceptance, your reservation will be confirmed by paying a $200 per person deposit. We will email you a PayPal invoice with secure link make a credit card payment. Upon receipt of the completed reservation form and deposit, we’ll send you a reservation confirmation email, detailed Overnight Tour Info sheet with personal packing list, and Liability Waiver. Your trip is scheduled to go at that point. Please do not make additional travel arrangements until you receive this confirmed reservation from us.
We look forward to having you join us for the trip of a lifetime. Why wait? Many trips fill fast, reserve your adventure today!
Day 4 - Pavillion Key. This morning we leave the estuary behind and paddle down the Chatham River out to the Gulf of Mexico. In the open water, we have a great opportunity to spot dolphin, sea turtles and white pelicans. Tonight we camp on the sand beach of Pavillion Key. Key is an English corruption of the Spanish word cayo which translates to “small island”. Pavillion Key is one of the largest and most open of the islands with a mile long west facing beach. The powder soft and sparkling white sand is formed of calcium carbonate produced from the shells of marine animals. This is very different from the more familiar coarse tan sand found on Florida’s Atlantic beaches. This afternoon we'll have plenty of time to stretch our legs and shell hunt on the long beach. Tonight we'll enjoy a vibrant Florida sunset and blazing beach campfire. Paddling distance: 8 miles. All meals included.

Day 5 - 10,000 Islands. Today we head back to civilization. But first, we enjoy our last paddle weaving through the 10,000 Islands. This vast tangle of "islands" is actually a maze of mangrove trees growing in a shallow tidal estuary. At high tide the inaccessible islands are completely flooded and at low tide they are surrounded by boat­ trapping mud flats. The 10,000 Islands afford a fantastic opportunity to witness our abundant migratory and resident birdlife, including flocks of ibis, diving osprey and vibrant pink spoonbills. We end our trip back in Everglades City before 4:00PM. Paddling distance: 12 miles. Breakfast and lunch included.
48 miles total
"Moderately Active" rating
$950 per person
 WHAT'S NEXT?
​Does this sound like something for you, but you still have more questions? Feel free to contact Dave K directly at evergladesdave@gmail.comor (386) 295-1850. He'll be happy to personally answer all your questions. We look forward to hearing from you soon!
​Click on the Tour Calendar below to see currently scheduled trips. Parties of two or more are welcome to schedule a new tour on any open dates. Simply complete and submit the online Tour Reservation Form and specify the days that work best for you. Solo travelers may book any of the scheduled trips with available spots. This 5-day tour typically departs on Sunday or Tuesday with a maximum of eight people.
NOT INCLUDED
● Transportation to and from your home. All trips start and end at the Canoe/Kayak Access at the Gulf Coast Visitor Center in
Everglades City. In order to arrive at the start point on time, you will be required to travel to Florida prior to the tour and drive to Everglades City. See our Overnight Tour Information document for more details.
●  Pre- and post-tour accommodations. For convenience and comfort, we recommend spending the night before and after your tour at the Ivey House in Everglades City. See our Overnight Tour Information document for details.
●  Pre- and post-tour meals. Breakfast on the first morning and dinner on the last day is not included. See the above Detailed Itinerary for all included meals.
●  Alcoholic beverages and soft drinks. We provide plenty of fresh drinking water for the duration of the tour along with a small amount beer and wine. If you enjoy soda, beer, wine or alcohol, you are certainly welcome to bring additional with you. Although be aware that it's not possible to keep drinks cold.
●  Personal travel/trip insurance. Insurance which offers comprehensive coverage and peace of mind is strongly recommended for all participants. These policies are designed protect you in case of lost or damaged luggage, flight cancellations or delays, family emergency, medical expenses, emergency evacuation costs, trip cancellation and other covered situations. Inexpensive and short term policies of this sort are routinely issued by most travel and insurance agencies (available online).
●  Gratuities for your hard working guide. The generally accepted practice for tipping is 15% of the tour price or an average of $30US per person per day.
​●  Personal items. Please see the specific Packing List in our Overnight Tour Information document. 

● Four nights camping accommodation in shared 2-­person tents. We provide free­-standing dome tents with fine no­-see­-um mesh.
● Single or double expedition quality sea kayaks (your choice), including all kayaking and safety equipment.
​● All necessary camping gear including freshly laundered sleeping bag, comfortable self­-inflating mattress, packable camp pillow and several dry bags for personal items. Of course, if you own and prefer your personal tent, sleeping bag, mattress or even kayak you are welcome to bring them from home.
​● All required national park camping fees and permits. You won't have to arrive 24 hours ahead to stand inline and risk being shut out of a campsite.
WHAT’S INCLUDED
● A variety of paddle routes as described above in the Detailed Itinerary. We will paddle in all the major habitats of Everglades National Park including mangrove estuary, famous Wilderness Waterway, tidal rivers, protected bays, open Gulf of Mexico, freshwater mangrove tunnels and 10,000 Islands.
● Wildlife viewing opportunities including Bottlenose Dolphin, West Indian Manatee, Loggerhead Seaturtle, Spotted Sting Ray, Bonnet Shark, Tarpon Fish, American White Pelican, Double­-Crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Roseate Spoonbill, Osprey, American Oystercatcher, Royal Tern, Common Racoon, American Alligator, Burmese Python, plus many others.
● Five days professional guide services and quality leadership of your experienced kayak guide. Dave K is an ACA certified Open Water Sea Kayak Instructor, NOLS certified Wilderness First Responder and Florida Master Naturalist graduate.
● All meals from lunch on the first day through lunch on the last (4 breakfast, 5 lunch, 4 dinners, 13 total meals). We provide tasty and plentiful food, including fresh and delicious camp made meals and carry along brown bag lunches. We don’t use tasteless and unhealthy dehydrated boil­-in­-bag meals.
 Day 2 - Watson Place.This morning we awaken to a sunrise view over the water from inside our sleeping bags. After a hearty breakfast of pancakes, sausage, fresh fruit, coffee and juice, we break camp, load the boats and paddle today following a section of the famous Wilderness Waterway. This waterway is the only marked route through the entire length of the national park from Everglades City in the north to Flamingo in the south. It is routed for easy paddling, following protected inside creeks and shallow bays.
Our destination today is one of historic significance, the infamous Watson Place. Around the turn of the century, the notorious Ed Watson, a headstrong and violent ­tempered man with a shadowy past, lived and farmed here. His employees, neighbors and associates too often disappeared and were never heard from again after disputes with Mr Watson. The homesteader met an early demise when the local men took the law into their own hands. This story was made famous in Peter Matthiessen's 1991 book Killing Mr. Watson.
​The campsite here is in a clearing on a man made “shell mound”. The mound was constructed by the Calusa natives, the original people in southwest Florida. The Calusa lived and thrived in Florida for centuries, well before the more famous Seminole people who migrated here only in the last few hundred years. Sadly the Calusa were wiped out by smallpox and warfare with the Spanish. The Calusa constructed dozens of these engineered mounds over generations as dry land for home sites. The Watson Place mound is one of the Everglades largest at 38 acres. Paddling distance: 10 miles. All meals included.

Day 3 - Sweetwater River. There is no need to break camp and load the boats today. We’ll stay a second night at Watson Place and paddle with our empty boats to explore the surrounding area. You may use this as a rest day to take a break from paddling and relax with a good book in a hammock under the shade of a tropical Gumbo Limbo tree. If you're interested in kayaking, we will leave camp and head north deep into the interior of the Everglades to explore the Sweetwater River. Slowly, jungle will close in on us as we paddle upriver and the mangroves form a canopy overhead. In these tunnels, the channel becomes so narrow it's challenging to maneuver our kayaks. This river drains freshwater from the Big Cypress National Preserve. As the water becomes "sweeter," you will notice the color change from brackish turbid green to clear tannin­ stained brown. These freshwater rivers are a favorite habitat of the timid American Alligator. We may catch a glimpse of several basking on the river banks before they silently slide into the water. Near the mouth of Sweetwater River is a chickee camping platform which is perfectly located for our lunch, leg stretch and restroom break.
This afternoon we'll head back to our campsite with plenty of time to explore Watson Place on foot. The 38­ acre shell mound has become completely overgrown with jungle and is unrecognizable as the sugarcane plantation it was during Watson's days in the early 20th century. There are, however, still plenty of relics from those days hidden in the jungle and waiting to be discovered. Paddling distance: optional 8 miles. All meals included.
DETAILED ITINERARY
​Day 1 - Crooked Creek.
Your tour begins when we meet at 9:00AM in Everglades City. After introductions, we’ll distribute group gear and provisions before loading the kayaks. We will also take as much time as you need to pack and load your personal gear. Before starting, we’ll have a quick briefing covering the day’s itinerary and a review of sea kayak safety procedures. After this orientation, we will launch our stable one and two­-person expedition style sea kayaks on the warm waters of Everglades National Park.
Today we will paddle through the brackish mangrove estuary. Here we’ll keep our eyes open for shy manatees which gather in this warm estuary water during the winter months. These large marine mammals typically live in the saltwater of the Gulf of Mexico, but have little tolerance when the water temperature dips below 68F. Because they move from the open water into shallow canals with heavy boat traffic at this time of year, they sadly often carry scars on their backs from impacts with boat propellers.
We camp tonight on Crooked Creek Chickee. "Chickee" is the native word for home and what Everglades National Park designates its elevated wooden camping platforms. Camping on the chickees allows the unique opportunity to sleep directly over the water listening to the manatees breathe and fish jump throughout the night. Upon arrival, we will unload the boats and set up our first camp before eating dinner. Our dinners are a highlight! With our extensive backcountry camping experience, we've learned that depending on bland dehydrated meals is not necessary. Dinners include local seafood, fresh salads, appetizers and desserts
. Paddling distance: 10 miles. Lunch and dinner included. 

Client Testimonial ­ "What a wonderful trip we had for 5 days and 4 nights. Dave is a wonderful leader, always organized, attentive to his guests and perhaps best of all, a wonderful cook. We had amazing meals for camping, including appetizers every night followed by an awesome dinner. Our packed lunches were also really good and healthy to keep us paddling happily. It's obvious a lot of attention is given to planning the trip because the equipment was excellent, the food choices perfect (including things to meet my special dietary needs). We kayaked different types of waters (small creeks, open water) and saw dolphins, manatees, alligators, and tons of birds. It was such a wonderful trip...physically challenging but doable even for a relatively new kayaker like myself. I highly recommend this trip. It was, as I said, awesome!" Debra Ackers <ackersdebra@yahoo.com> February 2-6, 2012

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Explore Entire Everglades - On this loop itinerary you will visit all of the major Everglades' ecosystems including the 10,000 Islands, inland freshwater rivers, Wilderness Waterway and open Gulf of Mexico. ​
  • Stay at Every Type of Campsite -­ You will spend a night at every type of Everglades campsite including wooden "chickee" platform, historic Watson Place "shell mound" and remote Gulf of Mexico beach.
  • Observe Exotic Wildlife ­- You will be shown the secret hiding places of alligators, dolphin, manatees, sea turtles, plus countless migratory and resident birds.
  • Guide Services -­ Go directly to the hidden places and avoid difficult navigation in a place where everything looks the same. Learn fascinating natural history from a certified Florida Master Naturalist.
  • Included Backcountry Permit -­ You won't have to arrive 24 hours ahead of time to stand in line and risk being shut out of a campsite. Let us handle the details!
  • All Inclusive -­ Our tours are fully outfitted and guided. Unlike “bare­boat” guides, all kayak equipment, camping gear and food is included at no additional cost. Don’t waste your valuable vacation time packing and hauling gear to Florida or trying to run down a supermarket in an unfamiliar city!
  • Safety -­ The internet is full of stories about dangerous gators and venomous snakes lurking in the Everglades. But, the fact is, we have never had a guest or guide harmed or even threatened by any wildlife. Please don’t let exaggerated fears or uninformed opinions stop you from coming!
  • “Moderately Active” Rating -­ This is our most popular tour and is best for individuals with some sea kayaking experience. It is intended for active and fit adults who feel comfortable camping in the backcountry and with kayaking up to 12 miles over 6 hours each day.

This five day Everglades kayak tour is our most popular trip because it allows you to experience all of the different habitats in Everglades National Park. You will spend five days kayaking in the Everglades backcountry on a loop route that does not backtrack. You will also camp each night at a different type of campsite including elevated wooden platform ("chickee"), ancient midden island (“shell mound”) and remote Gulf of Mexico beach. On this diverse trip you will kayak through the maze of 10,000 Islands, explore inland freshwater rivers, follow a section of the famous Wilderness Waterway, and sea kayak the open Gulf of Mexico. You will also have plenty of time to observe all of the exotic wildlife such as manatees, alligators, dolphin, sea turtles and flocks of birds that inhabit each of these areas. All of this without paddling more than 12 miles in any day. This tour is best for those with some kayaking and primitive camping experience.

Crooked Creek Chickee, Everglades National Park
5-Day Complete Everglades Loop Tour