The Best Paddleboarding and Kayaking Spots in and Around Sanibel

The Best Paddleboarding and Kayaking Spots in and Around SanibelSouthwest Florida offers ideal weather to enjoy water sports all year long. For this reason, kayaking and paddleboarding are some of the most popular outdoor activities in Sanibel. If you are a beginner or just prefer a calmer paddleboard or kaya experience there are many great spots to enjoy. If you are more experienced or prefer a little more of a challenge, there are excellent spots for you as well. 

The Wildlife Refuge

The J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge is the largest protected natural area on the island. It is an amazing place for several different outdoor recreational activities including paddle boarding and kayaking. There are two kayak launch points in the refuge on the 4-mile Wildlife Drive. The refuge makes up an estuary full of mazes that include mangrove forests, bayous, and seagrass beds.

One of the most popular spots for paddle boarding and kayaking in the refuge is the Tarpon Bay Recreation Area. This area has a place where you can rent equipment and navigate through the bay which is incredibly calm and quiet. The Commodore Creek Trail is connected to the bay and is also an amazing spot. You may even spectate a manatee and this is one of the best places on the island for birdwatching.

Causeway Islands Park

One of the most popular recreation spots on Sanibel Island is Causeway Islands Park. The area features long stretches of sand on both sides of the Sanibel Causeway Bridge. This is one of the easiest places to launch your paddleboard or kayak. The waters are a little more open so it is best traversed by more experienced people in the sport. It is easy to navigate so it's more of an intermediate level but is still worth noting that this is not your completely quiet and almost untouched waterway. If you do not own your own equipment you can easily have some delivered to this frequently used spot.

The Great Calusa Blueway

This is an impressive spot with several launch points and is very popular among avid paddle-boarding enthusiasts and kayakers. It is a spot that you'll find yourself returning to over and over again yet never discovering it all. It is a 190-mile trail that stretches from the Imperial and Estero rivers in the south through Fort Myers Beach Estero Bay aquatic preserve around Sanibel and Pine islands and up to the Caloosahatchee River. There are several marked GPS headings as places to launch your equipment there are also areas along the trail to rent equipment as well as to stop and grab a bite or to camp out. 

Buck Key on Captiva

Not far from the shores of Captiva Island is Buck Key which has been preserved as a natural mangrove island with a canopy channel through the center. This fun paddling trail winds from a hurricane's hole entrance through 4 miles of waterways including dense bird habitat. This is a popular spot to stay cool and protected from the hot summer sun and is calm all year it's a fun place to go slow and take your time as you will be able to spot plenty of wildlife if you are quiet and calm. Many people report seeing manatees, herons, bald eagles, stingrays, and more.

Pine Island Sound

Pine Island Sound is the body of water between Captiva and Pine Island. This is a popular spot for avid paddlers to explore open water. This area is a designated state aquatic preserve with several access points on both Captiva and Pine Island. One of the most popular paddle boarding routes for paddling pros is the route from Bokeelia to Cayo Costa State Park. 

Lovers Key State Park

Readers Digest recently labeled Lovers Key State Park as one of Florida's best-kept secrets. Lovers Key is the waters around Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve and is famous for its dolphin habitat as well as a home to manatees, ospreys, bald eagles, and several other coastal birds. If you don't have equipment you can rent some at the park's concessions and explore the shorelines of the islands within the park. It is also a great place to take a guided tour.

If you love to paddleboard or kayak or have always wanted to become an avid paddler then moving to Sanibel is the perfect place to make a daily habit of paddle sports. There's nothing like exploring the waters of Sanibel, especially in a slower-moving watercraft and getting in some physical activity that doesn't feel like work. If you are interested in moving to Sanibel and are looking for available homes in Sanibel, I am here to help. Contact me anytime with any Sanibel real estate needs.

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