Here in Sarasota County, there are countless adventures just waiting to be had by beginners and experienced kayakers alike. Whether you're more interested in the exercise or prefer breathtaking views of Florida’s natural beauty, there's no shortage of waterway day trips in the area.
Today, we'll highlight five of the local hotspots, favorited by kayaking adventurers.
South Lido Mangrove Tunnels
You can't enjoy Sarasota without seeing the variety of mangroves along the coast. Experience red, black, and white mangroves all in one kayaking trip at the South Lido Mangrove Tunnels, one of Sarasota’s most popular kayak spots.
You'll see marine life on these self-guided trails as well, including hermit crabs and channeled whelk.
Bird lovers will see plenty of brown pelicans, great blue herons, and other coastal birds. The waters can get shallow at times and require some careful maneuvering, but first-timers are welcome. You'll have a map to start you off and direct your adventure along numbered paths.
Myakka River State Park
Intermediate and advanced level kayakers have a favorite adventure in Sarasota, too.
The Myakka River State Park is one of Florida's largest and oldest state parks and the river itself winds through over 50 miles of prairies and wetlands.
See wild turkeys and majestic deer along this river. Before you head out, you can request special access to the Wilderness Preserve, allowing kayakers to venture to Lower Myakka Lake.
Watch out for the alligator-filled, 130-foot sinkhole, too.
With a host of convenient launch points, it's a great river to explore more than once.
If you're looking for a shorter, one-hour paddle trip, you might enjoy the Caspersen Trail. There are actually two creeks to sail, the Alligator Creek and Forked Creek.
Enjoy a relaxing float through the mangroves and bring the waterproof camera for all the unique birdlife along the way. Kayaking here is an excellent adventure for day trips that end in the park, for a get-together and barbecue at the pavilion. Great for little ones visiting as well, Caspersen Beach Trail is the perfect multi-activity day that includes a little kayaking too.
Neville Marine Preserve
If kayaking is new to you or you consider yourself a rookie with the paddle, the Neville Marine Preserve is a great first adventure.
Enjoy a winding flow of streams and tons of native wildlife to see as you paddle. In fact, depending on the season and climate conditions, you might spot dolphins, manatees, and migratory birds.
Oscar Scherer State Park
One of Florida's hot spots for fishing, swimming, and nature trails, the Oscar Scherer State Park is also explorable by kayak. Follow along the Casey Key barrier island via South Creek Trail and see incredible flora and fauna in this park.
You can turn a kayaking adventure into a camping trip with its variety of campsites as well. It can host a perfect weekend getaway itinerary, without having to really get away.
Notable Mentions: It's hard to narrow down the best five when Sarasota has so many unique and kayak-friendly adventures. Many recommend visits to Emerson Point Preserve, Robinson Preserve, and Snook Haven tours. You can try new waterways with your kayak to explore new scenery. Hone your kayaking skills and enjoy a variety of wildlife viewing with each trip.
Sarasota is home to a multitude of day trips, adventures, fine dining, and culture-rich activities. If you ‘d like to learn more about our community and living in Sarasota, contact us.