Kayaking in the Florida Keys can be a very relaxing adventure. The shallow water flats around the backcountry of the Lower Keys provides the perfect backdrop for an afternoon of kayaking, swimming, bird watching and relaxing in the sun.

Many kayak companies provide tours in the Lower Keys and some of the local marinas including Ibis Bay Paddle Sports, Sugarloaf Marina and Hurricane Hole Marina rent kayaks by the hour, day or week. Little instruction is needed for paddling a kayak and most kayak rental places will either provide you with a chart of the area you can explore.

Captain Andrea Paulson runs a unique adventure called Reelax Charters out of Sugarloaf Marina. She provides transportation on a 25ft. T-craft equipped with kayaks to the backcountry islands. Once there, she leads you on a tour of the mangrove islands while pointing out interesting sea life, bird life and some history of the area.

Some other kayak companies that provide similar trips are Bill Keogh and Big Pine Kayak Adventures and Hurricane Hole Marina also offers kayak adventures direct from the marina dock.

In Key West, Ibis Bay Paddle SportsBlue Planet Kayak Eco-Tours offers 2.5-hour kayak tours and full- and half-day rentals. Guided tours have a maximum of 10 guests per guide. Guides will explain the ecosystem's uniqueness in plants, marine life, birds and natural history, as well as catch marine animals only an expert could find for you to handle and photograph. Geared for any level of paddler. Pickup and dropoff at your hotel is provided.  Ibis Bay Paddle Sports also offers night tours with LED illuminated paddleboards and clear bottom kayaks. 

Blue Sky Charter Company LLC. provides private paddleboard, nalu board, and kayak excursions (maximum of 2 guests) as well as eco tours and snorkeling excursions (maximum of 4 guests) to the Key West Wildlife Refuge and the Great White Heron National Refuge.  Three and Six hour excursions are offered daily and all skill levels are welcome! 

 Also, Key West Kayak Fishing & Eco-Tours offers easy reservations for a variety of kayaking trips including: kayak fishing or a backcountry kayak snorkel & sail.

A good guide, both book form and human form, is essential to truly discovering the hidden treasures of the Florida Keys shallow seas. The most comprehensive guide to date was written by 25 year resident guide , Captain Bill Keogh, and published by Backcountry Guides. The Florida Keys Paddling Guide has devoted over half the book to the explaination of the unique natural ecosystems and descriptions of the natural inhabitants . A comprehensive bird list, common fish, marine invertebrates and really unique algea species are all described in a fun, intriguing narrative. Line drawings, simple maps and excellent photos accompany the 50 kayak tour descriptions that are scattered throughout the 140 mile long stretch of islands. A seperate section describes kayak access throughout all the keys so that you may rent or bring your own kayak and explore on your own. www.keyskayaktours.com has information on how to obtain your own copy signed by the author. 

Dangercharters.com offers a sailing, snorkeling, and kayaking half day eco tour.  You sail to some of the private keys off of Key West, snorkel pristine waters in the National Wildlife Refuge, then you go to some of the smaller mangrove isles were the birds breed, marine life is abundant and enjoy kayak tours. On the way back you sail into Key West with  watching the sun set.  They have refreshments through out and good equipment. They also offer snorkeling instructions for beginners and help you find interesting sealife while you are snorkeling.