How do I make a reservation?
Do you already have your travel dates set? Just check the Tour Calendar below to see what's available. Remember, this calendar shows only the currently scheduled trips and many other dates are possible. Simply specify the dates that work best for you when you make the reservation.
When you’re ready to book, simply complete and submit the online Tour Reservation Form below. After acceptance, your reservation will be confirmed by paying a $200 per person deposit. This can be securely paid online with PayPal, verbally over the phone or by check through the mail. Upon receipt of the completed reservation form and deposit, we will send you a reservation confirmation email, payment receipt, detailed Overnight Tour Info sheet, full packing list and Liability Waiver. Please do not make additional travel arrangements until you receive the 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!
What about my telephone?
Bringing a telephone for pictures is essential. You will almost certainly want to have it accessible in your kayak. However, there is a chance of getting it wet with ruinous saltwater, which only happens when it's out of the dry bag. If you don't want to take that chance, consider a one-use or inexpensive point-and-shoot camera rather your expensive phone. There is cell coverage in some of the places we visit, so if you want the phone for emergencies, to be in touch with family or for discrete private conversations, that’s fine. However, we strongly discourage you from using it while kayaking, in front of the group or even leaving it on. Thank you for respecting your fellow travelers’ desires to enjoy a vacation away from the connected world!
What camping equipment is provided?
All of our tours are fully outfitted and all inclusive. Unlike "bare-boat" guide services, we supply all kayaks, kayaking equipment and camping gear at no additional cost. We provide 2-person freestanding Kelty dome tents with fine no-see-um mesh, freshly laundered 20F Marmot sleeping bags, comfortable self inflating Thermarest mattresses, packable Thermarest camp pillows, and two (10L & 5L) SeaLine dry bags for personal items. We also bring a large walk-in screen tent for insect protection at meal time and a complete camp kitchen. We provide a single or double (your choice) expedition quality sit-inside sea kayaks with rudders and all kayaking and safety equipment. There is nothing other than a few personal items that you need to bring to Florida. Of course, if you have and prefer your own kayak and camping gear, you are welcome to bring it from home.
What will we eat?
All meals are included in the price and are prepared by your guide in camp. Unlike "bare-boat" guide services, you do not have to shop for, pack or prepare your own food. The exact number of meals is specified in the overnight tour itineraries. We feature fresh, nutritious, tasty foods and multi course meals of large portions. With our planning and experience, we've learned it is not necessary to use bland and unhealthy dehydrated meals in the backcountry. All meals include several courses where you are free to help yourself to what you like and as much as you like.
Dinner is a highlight that often includes appetizers, local seafood, fresh salads and desserts. We often gather for a "happy hour" at sunset with appetizers and drinks. We provide plenty of fresh drinking water for the duration of the tour along with some beer and wine. You are welcome to bring additional soda, beer, wine, liquor, although be aware it's not possible to keep drinks cold. We include cooked breakfast some mornings with fresh coffee, juice and fresh fruit. Lunches are buffet picnic style where possible or prepared brown bag meals that we carry inside our kayaks. Special diets such as vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, kosher, etc can be accommodated. Please list dietary restrictions and preferences on your Tour Reservation Form.
What personal items should I bring?
Protective water shoes or strapon sandals are a must. You will wear them inside the kayak and to walk in water, soft mud and sharp oyster beds. They will get repeatedly wet all day as we enter and exit the kayak while standing in water. The shoes must not pull off your feet as we walk in deep soft mud and must have thick soles and cover the entire foot to protect from sharp and oyster shells. Sport shoes can be adequate, but once wet, they will stay wet for the entire tour. Slipon sandals or flip flops are NOT adequate. The water in the Everglades does not get cold (always above 50 F), so insulating "wet suit" type booties are not necessary. You may optionally want to bring a pair of neoprene waterproof socks to wear for warmth if necessary. You may also optionally want a pair of dry flip flops to wear in camp after you take off your wet paddle shoes.
Sun protection is essential. The winter months are our dry season and we will spend many hours beneath the intense "Sunshine State" sun. There is no shade on the water in a kayak. A full brim hat and sun glasses are essential. A lightweight, quick dry long sleeve shirt and long pants are best when paddling. Plenty of waterproof sunblock and lip balm is also necessary, as is a pair of padded synthetic paddling gloves. If we encounter a rainy and cool day then a light weight rain jacket may be necessary. A heavy weight waterproof paddle jacket is not necessary in our tropical climate. Umbrellas and ponchos are not practical. Cotton and denim clothing is useless, because the saltwater, high humidity and heavy morning dew of the Everglades will keep all clothing feeling clammy for the duration of the tour. The best solution is lightweight quick dry synthetic material which will wick moisture and sweat away from your skin. This will keep you warmer, drier and much more comfortable than sticky and damp cotton.
What is the camping like?
We camp each night at the national park campsites as specified in the overnight tour itineraries. These are primitive backcountry campsites with no facilities. The campsites DO NOT have electricity, fresh water, cell service, flush toilets or showers. Some campsites do have picnic tables and port-apotty type toilets. As necessary, your guide will review appropriate leave-no-trace bathroom practices as specified by the park service. Although primitive, camping on our trips is spectacular and comfortable, even if you've never camped before. We supply 2-person free standing dome tents, freshly laundered sleeping bags, packable camp pillows and comfortable self inflating sleeping mattresses. Of course, you may bring your own personal camping gear, if you prefer. We provide ample freshwater for drinking and cooking, but it's not possible to bring enough fresh water for washing. We wash our dishes in saltwater using biodegradable green soap. It’s possible to wash ourselves in saltwater with the green soap, but we also provide ample wet wipes and hand sanitizer for cleaning hands and face. A small amount of freshwater can be used for brushing teeth.
What kind of kayaks do we use?
We use high volume expedition type sea kayaks of fiberglass composite construction on all of our tours. Our boats are manufactured by Seward Kayaks, Ltd of British Columbia, Canada. We have Seaward Ascente and Quest model singles and Southwind model double kayaks. You are free to select either at your preference. These are large and stable sit-inside sea kayaks with spray skirts and foot controlled rudder systems. Because of their size, these kayaks take some practice to maneuver, especially compared to more commonly used sit-on-top kayaks. Paddlers with experience often prefer the single kayaks. However, beginners and families with children will do better in the doubles. Simply indicate your preference on the Tour Reservation Form.
What about kayak safety?
Safety is the #1 priority for Florida Outdoor Adventures, Dave K and your guide! Even if you've never kayaked before, paddling with us is very safe. It's much safer than using a beat up and leaky rental kayak and taking off on your own. The Everglades are a unique place where everything looks the same and it's not unusual for first time visitors to become lost in the confusing mangrove maze as darkness approaches.
Your guide will thoroughly discuss all paddling safety procedures before we head out. Everyone is required to wear the provided life vest at all times on the water. Throughout the tour, your guide will carry kayak safety equipment such as tow system, paddle float, bilge pump, and first aid. Even the rare event of a capsize is not dangerous because the Everglades waters are warm, flat and shallow. Your guide also carries a navigation system including compass, detailed charts, and vast experience paddling this area. They also have communications equipment for use if an emergency evacuation is required. You will be paddling in comfortable, stable, high quality kayaks and using the best equipment. We never go out if unsafe weather conditions such as lightening is in the area.
Also, as a wilderness first responder, Dave K is trained to respond to medical emergencies in the backcountry. And, as an kayak instructor, he is qualified not only to perform, but to teach open water sea kayak safety and rescue skills. Florida Outdoor Adventures carries the required Everglades National Park Commercial Use Authorization permit and guide/outfitter business general liability insurance. We have also prepared and use an up-to-date Emergency Action Plan.
Your guide will be your navigator, route planner, gear packer, wildlife spotter, naturalist interpreter, camp site organizer, broken gear repairman, spirit motivator, emergency rescuer, personal chef and pot scrubber. They will share their knowledge of this unique environment with you, instruct you in kayaking skills, keep you safe, make you feel comfortable camping in the backcountry, and prepare delicious meals for you. They are also just plain fun! Kayak with us and you'll get to know the Everglades like the back of your hand.
Who is our guide?
You may be guided by Dave K the owner of Florida Outdoor Adventures or another of our highly qualified guides. We recognize that the guide is the single most important factor in the success of any guided trip and ours are the best! Dave K has worked as a professional guide since 1996 and lived in the Everglades since 2004. He is a University of Florida certified Florida Master Naturalist with training in the biology of all Everglades ecosystems. Allow him to show you his secret places while sharing his vast knowledge of this irreplaceable world treasure. Dave K is also a National Outdoor Leadership School certified Wilderness First Responder and American Canoe Association certified Open Water Sea Kayak Instructor.
How difficult is the trip, really?
3-Day 10,000 Islands Base Camp Tour - The 3-day tour is rated “Easy Active” and has a maximum of 6 miles and 3 hours of paddling per day. This is our easiest overnight trip and is suitable for beginning kayakers and families with children. It is also great for newcomers to active and adventure travel.
5-Day Complete Everglades Loop Tour - The 5-day tour is rated “Moderately Active” and has up to 12 miles and 6 hours of paddling per day. This is our most popular tour! It is best for individuals with some sea kayaking experience and primitive camping skills.
8-Day Wilderness Waterway Expedition - This 8-day tour is rated “Strenuous” and is designed only for very fit individuals and experienced kayakers. It has up to 19 miles and 10 hours paddling per day with potentially limited breaks. This trip also requires breaking and moving camp every day to reach our required campsites with no rest days. Proof of sea kayaking experience is required for this tour.
How bad are the mosquitos?
The winter months are the dry season in the Everglades when the insect levels are greatly reduced. However, at certain times in camp (warm/humid, dawn/dusk, no wind, near trees) the bugs can be irritating. We have both mosquitos and tiny biting gnats called "no-see-ums". When we're out kayaking on the open water we never have a problem. Also, all our tents have fine no-see-um mesh screens, which assures you of a good nights sleep. We also provide a large screened kitchen tent for use during meals. We will set up tents away from any trees to catch any breeze which also helps. The best way to protect yourself is with a long sleeve shirt, long pants with socks and a head net. A skin repellant with 15-30% DEET is effective for mosquitos, although it has limited effectiveness for the no-see-ums.
What will the weather be like?
The Everglades enjoys a subtropical climate and the "winter" months are the best time of year to visit! November to April is the tropical dry season with abundant sunshine, warm days, cool nights, low humidity and little rain. The infamous clouds of biting insects are also greatly reduced. However, temperate cold fronts do reach the Everglades in winter. These cold fronts can bring dangerous thunderstorms and be followed by strong north winds. Therefore, a packable rain/wind jacket and one set of warm camp clothes are still necessary on our tours. A specific personal packing list is provided with our Overnight Tour Information sheet.￼
Is kayaking in the Everglades safe?
There are many rumors about the dangerous alligators, huge pythons and poisonous water snakes lurking in the Everglades waiting to attack visitors. You've probably had friends and family warn about kayaking here. But, the fact is, we have never had a guest or guide harmed or even threatened by any wildlife. Contrary to popular belief, alligators are actually timid reptiles that are fearful of kayaks and people. Our gators are a different species entirely from more aggressive crocodiles found in the southern hemisphere. Gators and snakes submerge quickly and swim quietly away whenever we approach. Rare incidents of alligator attacks in Florida occur by hand fed gators which live in roadside canals or golf course ponds and have lost their natural fear of people. We do not encounter these dangerous "nuisance" gators in the backcountry of Everglades National Park.
Also, the widely reported invasion of non-native Burmese pythons is actually only a threat to the natural Everglades ecosystems and native wildlife, but not to people. Python are non-venomous constrictor snakes which feed on small prey they can swallow whole (raccoon, frogs, turtles, fish, birds, etc). Therefore even a starving snake would not attempt to stalk a kayak or human. By being knowledgeable and prepared, we have the experience to deal with all wildlife. In any case, please don’t let exaggerated fears or ignorant opinions stop you from experiencing the beauty of the Everglades!