12 Must Visit Sanibel Island Kayaking Trails

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Have you ever explored the natural beauty of Southwest Florida by exploring Sanibel Island kayaking trails? Known as an island destination to get away from it all, you can take the serenity of the area to an entirely different level when you enjoy the island from the view of a kayak.

The Sanibel Island kayaking trails and spots you must visit on your next adventure include: 

  • Lover’s Key State Park
  • Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve
  • J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge
  • Matlacha Pass Aquatic Preserve
  • Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail
  • Bunch Beach Preserve 
  • Manatee Park 
  • Koreshan State Historic Site
  • Blind Pass

Grab a paddle as we provide you with Sanibel Island kayaking tips.

Sanibel Island Kayaking Locations for Newbies

Are you a novice kayaker? There is nothing to worry about because the region in and around Sanibel Island is full of kayak spots for those with no experience. Beginners should take a kayak trip when the wind is below 10 mph. 

Where Can You Kayak on Sanibel Island?

  • The Lovers Key launch area allows you to try the Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail in less than an hour.
  • Bunch Beach Preserve is a south Fort Myers preserve that protects you from entering the more difficult-to-maneuver Sanibel Causeway.
  • Manatee Park allows you to launch from a canal that turns into the Orange River, which is a tributary of the Caloosahatchee River. This park is also a great place to spot some manatees.

Tarpon Bay is part of the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge that is protected by wind. DIng Darling kayaking is a must on your next vacation.

Sanibel Island kayaking tips

All of your Sanibel Island kayaking needs can be accommodated at Port Sanibel Marina.

Places to Kayak With Kids

Are you planning a kayaking adventure with children? A kayak is a great place for children to see up close and personal views of dolphins, manatees, fish and other marine life. Try these locations with your kids:

  • Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve is a great place to see dolphins swim alongside your kayak or possibly catch dolphins jumping out of the water.
  • Lovers Key State Park offers a concession stand and bathrooms. This is a great place for a picnic and bathroom break.
  • Paddle your kayak in J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge and paddle under and through mangroves while you see a variety of birds and wildlife in a shady trail.
  • The Matlacha Pass Aquatic Preserve at Pine Island allows you to see mullet jump in and out of the water over and over again. Locals call them the “magic mullet.”

Places for Advanced Sanibel Island Kayaking Adventures

Are you an intermediate or advanced kayak paddler? Try these spots for some fun and more challenging Sanibel Island kayaking excursions:

Discover The Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail

The Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail, a 190-mile kayak and canoe trail, is a great spot to paddle through the natural environment. You’ll have a front row seat to the area’s wildlife, shore birds, marine life and crustaceans. This paddling trail attracts both experienced and novice kayakers. Plan your paddling adventure with this trail map. There are also tips and paddling stop recommendations to help you plan your Great Calusa Blueway paddling trip.

Sanibel Kayak Launch Locations

Many people ask where you can launch your kayak on Sanibel Island other than at a marina. There are a ton of great kayak launch locations, including:

  • Bowman’s Beach Kayak Launch
  • The Commodore Creek Trail inside the J.N. “Ding Darling” National Wildlife Refuge
  • Public beach access points throughout Sanibel Island
  • Kayak launches exist along Wildlife Drive
Girl kayaking on Sanibel Island

Enjoy Sanibel Island and its peaceful surroundings from the view of a kayak.

Sanibel Island Kayaking Tips and Tricks

Whether you’re kayaking near Sanibel Island for the first time or you’re a beginner, follow these Sanibel Island kayaking tips in case you encounter any kayaking problems on your journey:

  • The waterways for kayaks are typically 4-feet in depth so if you roll over, stay calm and try to stand once you flip.
  • State law requires you have U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal floatation devices on board your kayak for you and all passengers. 
  • Life vests are required to be worn by all paddlers under the age of six.
  • Check tides.
  • Review wind patterns before your trip.
  • Avoid paddling alone whenever possible.
  • Create a plan with a map before you head out. 
  • Bring a flashlight for sunrise and sunset paddling journeys.
  • Stay a safe distance away from marine life

Kayak Tours Sanibel Island

Is this your first trip to Sanibel Island? Sometimes it’s best to plan ahead and plan for boat cruises and tours to survey the area.

At Port Sanibel Marina, you can plan the following boat tours:

  • Sea Life Encounter
  • Backwater Fishing
  • Shelling and Lunch Excursion to Cayo Costa
  • Morning Dolphin and Wildlife Cruise
  • Afternoon Dolphin and Wildlife Cruise
  • Sunset Dolphin and Wildlife Cruise

Rent a Kayak at Port Sanibel Marina

All of your Sanibel Island kayaking, canoe and other water sport rental activities for your island adventure can be accommodated at Port Sanibel Marina. The marina offers kayaks, canoes and Sanibel Island boat rentals.

You can also schedule a charter for fishing or a leisurely eco tour or sunset charter for your friends and family. Need a place to stay? Book a fully furnished condo at Royal Shell Vacation Rentals. Call us at (239) 437-1660 to plan your trip and water sports activities today!