The Everglades is a unique eco-system. Spreading over 2 million acres, it’s the only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles coexist. Alligators don’t digest salt, so they live in fresh water, whereas crocodiles thrive in both fresh and salt water. Here are some reasons why you should try kayaking in the Everglades, Florida.

Kayaking in the Everglades

This stunning wetland area is an absolute must-see if you’re visiting Florida and one of the best ways to see it is by kayak. 

A kayak tour of the Everglades National Park, Florida, USA

1. An Alternative to Florida Theme Parks

Who doesn’t love a good theme park, and Florida has more of them than any other area in the world. It is easy to combine a trip there with a visit to the Paradise Coast, which has many cultural attractions and outdoor activities in Naples, or to the Everglades to get close to nature.

Kayaking in Florida in the Everglades National Park - read our review at

2. Eco-friendly Kayaking in Florida

Kayaks have the advantage of being totally silent and for that reason they’re allowed to venture fully into the Everglades National Park. Air boats are not permitted in most of the park itself, only on the outskirts due to the noise of the motors. There are many Everglades kayak tours, but Everglades Area Tours are one of the best for eco-tours, leading excursions by kayak, bicycle and on foot.

Everglades National Park tour

3. Everglades Wildlife

By choosing an eco-friendly Everglades National Park tour, you’re likely to see more wildlife. Our guide, Ronald, was a Florida Master Naturalist, licensed by the US Coast Guard and certified by the National Park.

He knows the area like the back of his hand and his is one of the best Florida Everglades tours. The wildlife was in abundance on the day we kayaked but there are no crocodiles in that area of the Everglades, just alligators who are perfectly safe if undisturbed. Check out our video here…

You will spot magnificent specimens like this perching in the trees.

You may also come across sea-turtles, admiring the scenery. The Great Blue Heron is another common sight in the Everglades. There are also many egrets and sea eagles to look out for.


Perhaps the biggest thrill is getting up close and personal with the alligators. The saying goes, do something that scares you every day.

We have to admit to being a bit apprehensive about kayaking among the alligators. However, we asked Ron beforehand and he reassured us that alligators, unlike crocodiles are safe if left unprovoked.

plants in the Everglades and alligators!

In the areas where he took us, they were young alligators that were also extremely docile. They hardly moved as we glided by, much to my relief!


4. Explore the Everglades Mangroves

The Everglades are home to the largest mangrove forest in North America and on this tour, we had the privilege of kayaking through them. Mangrove trees grow along tidal creeks and provide refuge for many birds and mammals.

In parts, the mangrove roots are so omnipresent that you can’t easily paddle. If you do an Everglades swamp tour, the solution is to use the branches to push through gently with your hands. The canopy overhead provides welcome shade and an eerie sense of stillness.


5. Get Fit in the Everglades

Whilst kayaking is a great upper body workout, thankfully it’s not too tiring.  It’s actually suitable for all ages and fitness levels. The youngest person that our guide has taken kayaking was 2 years old and there have been several participants in their 80s and 90s.

We kept stopping to take pictures so didn’t work up too much of a sweat, and Ronald was happy for us to do so. In fact he pointed out many great photo opportunities.

Both Paul and I wore a shirt designed to repel mosquitoes and I’d definitely recommend that you do the same. It’s also worth applying insect repellent liberally and wearing a hat to protect you from the sun.


6. Work as a Team

The reason why kayaking in the Everglades is suitable for all ages is that you can go out on tour own or in a 2 person boat. Just be warned that it may take some time before you get in sync with your fellow paddler;-).

Our guide was extremely patient, instructing us how to work as a team. A 2 person kayak is more stable though it’s harder to get photos of the other person so next time we’d probably go separately.


7. Everglades City Stone Crab

Did you know that fishing Florida stone crabs is considered to be eco-friendly too? The reason is that only their claws are harvested, with the crab itself being returned to the water and growing new claws.

They are only fished between 15 October and 15 May. Everglades City is one of the best places to eat stone crab.

Best places to eat stone crab - Everglades City, Florida, USA

Our guide recommended Camellia Street Grill, a colourful place on the Barron River, as a good place to try Everglades stone crab.

Camellia Street Grill, Everglades City, Florida, USA

We had also heard good things about City Seafood on Begonia Street, one of the top Everglades City restaurants. Camellia Street Grill has a quirky decor and most importantly, some delicious food. The veggie burgers are a good alternative for those who aren’t keen on seafood.

Camellia Grill - a great place to eat stone crab in the Everglades National Park, Florida, USA

We tucked into deliciously tasty crab that came away from the shell so easily that you could tell it was at its freshest. For dessert, we savoured a lovely Key Lime Pie, a great end to our adventure, kayaking in the Everglades.

Best places to eat Key Lime Pie - Camellia Grill, Everglades City

Have you ever been kayaking in Florida or elsewhere?

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Why You Should Try Kayaking in Florida

This post was brought to you in association with Visit Florida and Paradise Coast.

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52 thoughts on “7 Reasons Why You Should Try Kayaking in the Everglades”

  1. Wow! Just amazing! I love kayaking too! It’s so fun, babe!

    xoxo, Vanessa

  2. Whoa I would have totally freaked out but it seems like fun though. I mean how many times in life do we get to experience such adventures?!

    Makeup, Style and Sugar

  3. I would have been so scared even though it sounds fairly safe. I’ve done kayaking before and I remember that I had sore muscles for several days after! 😉

    1. Suze @LuxuryColumnist

      I was expecting to feel quite sore but we didn’t – the only explanation I can think of is that we stopped a lot to take photos

    1. Suze @LuxuryColumnist

      It’s quite easy to get the hang of and at times you can just glide through the water without paddling

  4. Suze @LuxuryColumnist

    That’s a very good point, it doesn’t actually feel like exercise and yet you’re getting a proper workout

  5. This does look like a nice alternative to theme parks, as well as a perfect opportunity for spotting some local wildlife!

    Gabrielle | A Glass Of Ice x

    1. Suze @LuxuryColumnist

      I must say, the wildlife camouflages itself well but thanks to our guide we managed to spot quite a bit!

  6. Miriam - londonkitchendiaries

    This looks like a great experience and a fantastic way to get close to wildlife!


  7. Anda @ Travel Notes & Beyond

    Kayaking through the Everglades seems very beautiful. We love kayaking on the rivers in Kauai. Of course the flora and fauna are very different, but we’ve seen turtles in Kauai too.

    1. Suze @LuxuryColumnist

      That sounds like heaven, Anda – and I love the fact that you never know what you are going to spot whilst kayaking!

  8. What an incredible thing to do and such a lovely alternative to the parks too, I would definitely go and check this out, perfect!


    1. Suze @LuxuryColumnist

      It certainly made a nice change, Elle – and I’ve just read your Christmas post, I’m with you on that!

  9. Planes & Champagne

    What a wonderful and adventurous thing to do! I would love to kayak around the Everglades but having watching too many episodes of planet earth recently I think I would be a little worried that an alligator or croc might lunge for me and tip the boat over. Do you know if that kind of thing has ever happened before?

  10. Great post, thanks for sharing. This looks like an amazing experience!

    Camille xo

  11. Aditi Oberoi Malhotra

    Looks like so much fun! So Beautiful!
    Adi xx

  12. This looks amazing!! I love that you are getting a work out while touring around, I would be a little worried about the aligators though!

    Ash |

  13. I went kayaking once in France and I totally loved it 🙂 Happy to see that you’ve also enjoyed your kayaking adventures!

  14. I would love to see the everglades one day, not so sure about the alligators. It looks like a real experience getting so close

  15. Shikha (whywasteannualleave)

    Ok so the aligators would scare the life out of me regardless of how much reassurance I was getting from a guide but definitely exhilarating and such gorgeous views to reward those who can brave it! ☺

    1. Suze @LuxuryColumnist

      After a while you almost forget they are there! They are just relaxing and not at all interested in anything else

  16. Lexi | Diary of an Expat Girl

    This looks incredible! I went to the everglades 8 years ago but we were on a boat – I can’t imagine my family getting up close and personal with the gators ahaha! xx

  17. Wow absolutely stunning and loving Paul’s camera work, felt like I was a passenger in the boat with you Lucy x

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