Bring Your Kayaks (Or Rent From Us)
Reserve a kayak excursion with your catamaran sailing cruise and we'll help you reach some of the best kayaking waters in the country!
Bring your kayaks aboard the boat (or call ahead to arrange rentals from us) and set sail for an unforgettable adventure.
We'll take you to any of the nearby access points of the Great Calusa Blueway, a 190-mile canoe and kayak trail that meanders along the mangrove-lined shorelines, back bays and tributaries of coastal Lee County.
Most of the Blueway trail is well-marked and consists of three distinct sections, all featuring abundant wildlife, breathtaking coastal scenery and pristine ecosystems:
- Estero Bay
- Pine Island and Matlacha Pass
- Caloosahatchee River and Inland Tributaries
Estero Bay is a specially-designated aquatic preserve. This section of the Great Calusa Blueway takes you past the mangrove islands and beaches behind the barrier islands of Estero Island, Black Island, Little Hickory and Big Hickory Island.
Here, on the leeward side of the barrier islands, the water is always calm and only 1-2 feet deep in most places.
Watch coastal seabirds catch their lunch from the water as you paddle by the mangrove-lined shore. You may see a manatee or a dolphin passing close by.
This section of the waterway trail offers a range of cultural and historical sites to see like the Koreshan State Historic Site, Mound House on Fort Myers Beach, and Mound Key, where the Calusa Native Americans and early Florida pioneers once lived.
Explore a maze of mangrove passageways and the backwaters of Hell Peckney Bay. Mostly free from boat traffic and development, this is a magical spot offering a glimpse through clear, shallow water of the abundant marine life below.
Or take the day to explore Bowditch Point Regional Park, which offers paddlers a bayside launch site and day dock that accommodates kayakers. There is also a concession stand, covered picnic shelters and lots of powdery sand on the beach to enjoy.
The park stretches across the entire tip of Estero Island, so you'll get to enjoy the bayside and the beach. Take time for a hike ashore to explore its 17 acres of unspoiled natural habitat. Go ashore and spend the afternoon or the day hiking along the trails and watch for gopher tortoises digging their burrows.
Pine Island and Matlacha Pass
The Pine Island Sound portion of the Great Calusa Blueway runs from San Carlos Bay at the south end, up the backside of Sanibel and Captiva Islands, while another fork heads up the mangrove-lined Matlacha Pass.
North of the fishing village of Matlacha, it forks again.
Paddle up the mangrove-lined tunnels of the Pine Island Sound Aquatic Preserve and Matlacha Pass Aquatic Preserve. Enjoy the sound of silence, broken only by the sound of your paddles dipping into the still water or the loud call of an osprey in the branches overhead.
Look for tiny crabs scurrying along the mangrove roots. Watch the long-legged herons stalking their prey, and see small fish hiding here from the bigger fish.
If you see an opening in the mangroves, feel free to paddle further in...but try not to get lost! Some of the creeks loop back around while others dead end.
Explore Cayo Costa State Park, or Picnic Island on the trail’s south end. This island was formed from the dredging of the ICW (Intracoastal Waterway) and it has become a popular spot for boaters on overnight trips.
Pine Island Sound offers a combination of great fishing and terrific scenery. Snook, redfish and trout can be found here in abundance for the kayak-fishing savvy.
Caloosahatchee River and Inland Tributaries
The Caloosahatchee River and its meandering tributaries runs west from the Hendry-Lee county line to the mouth of the river, a distance of 38 miles. Including the creeks and tributaries, another 52 miles exist for kayakers to explore.
The Calusa used this river as their primary transportation network centuries ago, as did the early settlers to Fort Myers. Now, recreational boaters use it to travel the sheltered waters of the ICW, which connects Texas to Maine.
Please note that unlike the Phase 1/Estero Bay and Phase 2/Pine Island Sound segments of the Blueway, this section is not marked. Instead, GPS coordinates for the mouth of each tributary are provided.
J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge
The J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge is located on the subtropical barrier island of Sanibel in the Gulf of Mexico. The refuge is part of the largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystem in the country and is famous for its spectacular migratory bird populations.
The refuge was created to safeguard the pristine wildlife habitat of Sanibel Island, to protect endangered and threatened species, and to provide feeding, nesting, and roosting areas for more than 220 bird species.
Explore more than 6,400 acres of mangrove forest and paddle among submerged seagrass beds, marshes, and West Indian hardwood hammocks. See thousands of shorebirds such as red knots, dunlin, and Western sandpipers, along with the great blue heron, reddish egret, roseate spoonbill and other wading birds.
Abundant in marine life, the shallow waters here attract thousands of fish, shrimp and crabs that use the seagrass beds and mangrove forests as shelter, nursery, and feeding areas. There are many fish species found here such as mullet, snook, redfish, mangrove snapper and others that help make the estuary a world-class saltwater fishing destination.
There are two designated kayak/canoe launch/landing sites along the right side of Wildlife Drive that paddlers can use to go exploring ashore.
Guided kayak and canoe tours are offered from several local outfitters; there is also kayak/canoe access at Buck Key off of Captiva Island.
Caloosahatchee National Wildlife Refuge
The Caloosahatchee National Wildlife Refuge is located on the Caloosahatchee River and runs through the city of Fort Myers. Originally, the refuge consisted of several mangrove islands but with shoreline development, dredging of the river, and construction of the I-75 bridge, the layout and appearance of these islands has changed over the years.
Still, its approximately 40 acres of mangrove shorelines and upland island habitats are excellent areas to explore by kayak.
Located next to the Florida Power and Light Company's Orange River Power Plant, a warm water outflow from the power plant becomes a winter-time home for the endangered West Indian manatee.
To Request a Reservation,
Call Capt. Bud at
OUR CATAMARAN CRUISES AND TOURS