Kayaking & Canoeing
Fishing from your kayak or canoe can be a very exciting experience around Florida. We have thousands of miles of canals, mangrove islands, and bays chock full of fish. Choose your poison, either freshwater, saltwater, or brackish, then check out one of our launch sites to access great fishing. You can also launch your kayak at the beach for some great shore fishing.
We also have many Kayaking & canoe events throughout the year, check to local What's Happening listings for the latest happenings. And don't miss the Great Dock Canoe Race every 2nd Saturday in May in Collier County (fishing during this crazy event is not advisable).
"Sleigh Ride" is a term kayak fisherman use to describe what happens when you hook up a huge fish such as a Tarpon or Shark. Helpless kayak anglers can literally be dragged for miles if they do not learn how to use their kayak to create drag in order to control the situation. Watch this video of a Tarponn being caught by a kayak angler in Satellite Beach during the summer Tarpon migration north.
If you plan to be out on the water all day, be sure to wear sunblock and a hat. Local paddlers that are out all the time usually take extra precautions and cover most of their skin to prevent burns and skin cancer. This guy even has lightweight gloves to protect his hands.
Be sure to visit our Boat and Kayak Launch Directory.
Our inshore waters appear very calm, but the tides can be very strong at peak times, especially during moon tides. Even the strongest most experienced paddler can struggle against the current. Riding the tides in and out can be a lot of fun if timed correctly, so check the tides before you get your paddle wet. Also check out area charts so you don't get lost the tangle of mangrove islands or the vast waterways of the Everglades.
Kayaking & Canoeing by Region
- North West
- North Central
- Central West
- South West
- North East
- Central East
- South East
- The Keys
Gulf of Mexico
From any beach or from the shore it is an easy paddle to go offshore and visit many of the nearby islands. Use common sense when venturing offshore by checking the weather forecast and tides. The Gulf may seem calm, but there are strong currents that can test the strongest paddler.
If you are lucky you will see a Sea Turtle or two. Dolphins commonly aid kayakers on their journey, will you be lucky to have more than one join you for the trip?
Paradise Coast Blueway Trail, Collier County's Paddling Trail, is a network of paddling routes along the coastline from Bonita Springs in the north all the way south to Everglades City. The website for the Blueway Trail has Itineraries to help you plan your trip. Click here for Maps of the trail.
Isles of Capri
Isles of Capri Fire Station is a popular launch site for kayaks seeking to explore Rookery Bay back waters and the mangrove islands that lead to Marco River, Tigertail Beach, and Keeweydin Island. There is ample parking across the street from the fire station and if parking is limited, drop off your gear at the station and park your vehicle on the street near the empty land in the middle of the island. Always check the tides before you go and leave a float plan in your vehicle. The main current in Johnson Bay runs along the docks on the east side of the bay. It can be very difficult paddling against this current, so cross to the west side if you encounter opposing currents.
Isles of Capri Paddlecraft Park at the corner of 951 and Capri Blvd. The new park is the county's first public launch site designed exclusively for paddle craft, including kayaks, paddle boards, and canoes. The park allows entrance into the mangrove lined waterways of Rookery Bay. This park includes two pavilions for use by families, picnickers, school groups and summer recreation programs. It also serve as an important interpretive site where visitors can learn about the value of protecting some of Collier County's precious natural resources.
Sand Dollar Road across from Fiddlers Creek entrance on 951 has a kayak launch site that gives you access to the backwaters of Rookery Bay.
Golden Gate Canals
The Golden Gate Canal system consists of almost 70 miles of canals. These canals are locally famous for good bass and panfish fishing.
Golden Gate Community Park 3300 Santa Barbara Blvd., Naples, 34116 (239) 252-6128
Located in the northeast parking lot is a 24 foot wide boat ramp providing access to eight miles of canals.
The Gordon River
The Gordon River originates north of Pine Ridge Road in Naples. The river flows into Naples Bay and seven miles downstream to Gordon Pass where it empties into the Gulf of Mexico. The river flows along a habitat of pine flat woods, scrub and mangroves. There are many canals leading into neighborhoods and commercial areas in the City of Naples where you will find excellent fishing along the shores.
Gordon River Greenway Park has a canoe and kayak launch. It is located behind the Naples airport on North Road. Please check their website before going to be sure it is open as they recently closed it temporarily to remove evasive species. Click here for a map of the park.
Launching from shore, you can fish for snook, juvenile tarpon, redfish, speckled trout, and jack crevalle in the salt water mangrove estuaries of the 10,000 Islands, or target large mouth bass, snook, tarpon, peacock bass, Oscars, exotic cichlids in the fresh water environments. The waters are sheltered, calm and rarely fished. Perfect for fly fishing and the kayaks.
Collier-Seminole State Park
Big Cypress National Preserve
Everglades National Park