Everglades Kayaking & Birding

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  • No Hidden Fees
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  • Eco-certified Tours
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1.877.570.7373

info@greenloons.com

1 Day
Availability : Flexible Dates
Marco Island or Everglades City, Flordia
Marco Island or Everglades City, Florida
Min Age : 10+

A very popular set of day kayaking and birding tours that are best for viewing wildlife. Great for all ages and experience levels as the kayaks are stable, easy to operate, and quiet. Choose from the Boat Assisted Kayak Ecotour, Mangrove Tunnel Kayak Ecotour, and the Everglades National Park Kayak Ecotour. 

Opening up the remote areas of Everglades National Park, this very popular eco-adventure combines the best of a boat tour, a kayak tour and a walking tour. Using a dedicated kayak transport boat, you are comfortably and safely transported to some of the most beautiful and remote areas of the Everglades National Park, yet you will still be back in time for lunch, dinner or another tour.

 
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The company is dedicated to the experiential education of students, families, and travelers from Florida, the Americas, and the World. We believe that only through education, do we have the opportunity to preserve the Everglades, its culture, and its heritage. All guides are formally trained Florida Master Naturalists, Environmental Educators, and Full-Time Outdoor Leaders. 

Itinerary

Option 1Boat Assisted Kayak Ecotour

Everglades National Park is one of the most spectacular parks in the US National Park System. Surrounded by the Big Cypress National Preserve, Fakahatchee Strand State Park, Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and the 10,000 Islands National Wildlife Refuge, there are over 1.5 million flooded, pristine acres. The Park is world famous in the worlds of paddling and fishing, and people from all over the world travel to Everglades City to enjoy the splendor of the area.

Every day and every tour is certainly different as each trip is tailored to the group and the natural environment of the day … no trip is the same and the wildlife and the day’s conditions are just that … wild. However, you can expect to encounter a wide variety of the Park’s wildlife – manatees, dolphins, sea turtles, bald eagles, ospreys, herons, egrets, roseate spoonbills to name a few. Imagine paddling next to a manatee or a dolphin! The transport boat nestles six very stable kayaks in her bow and provides comfortable captains-style seating for six guests. With full safety equipment, satellite communications, a GPS tracking system, large sunshade and a cooler for your drinks, your guide will bring you deep into the Park in safety and comfort.

Once we reach one of our many destinations, we slow the tour down and turn it into a hands-on eco-experience with very stable, comfortable kayaks are used to get you close to the Park’s flora and fauna … closer than by any other means. (Not to worry, no previous kayaking experience is required and we do not paddle far. We also have two-person kayaks for those that do not wish to paddle alone).

You will continue your interpretive experience with a walking tour on pristine barrier island beach…an island that is seldom visited by others. There is a lot to see and a lot to experience on these barrier islands…the wrack lines, shallow tidal zones, dunes, uniquely adapted plants, mangrove swamps, many different invertebrate species, lots of shells, etc. Every day and every tide is different.

After your beach trek, we are back in the kayaks to paddle back the boat for the ride home in time for a seafood dinner at a local restaurant. Be sure to bring your camera!

It is not possible to experience all that the Everglades has to offer in a single outing. However, this adventure, combined with the Mangrove Tunnel Tour and a Swamp Walk Eco Tour, provides a complete Everglades experience as practical…three major pieces of the Everglades “pie”.

Option 2Mangrove Tunnel Kayak Tour

Each trip is led by an experienced Florida Master Naturalist who is certified by the National Park and licensed by the US Coast Guard. As our guest, you will be presented with a wealth of information on the colorful local history of the area, as well as, it’s wonderful wildlife and flora. The Everglades area is a vast and varied ecosystem containing the largest mangrove forest in North America. Throughout the forest are brackish lakes whose waters are a mix of sweet fresh water and salt water. This is part of what makes the Everglades so special. These lakes, surrounded by mangroves, are refuges and nursery grounds for herons, egrets, stilts, ducks, wood storks, spoonbills, alligators, otters and a gamut of fishes.

Interconnecting these lakes are narrow, flowing tidal creeks. The mangrove forest grows to the very edge and even over the tops of these creeks forming a canopy or a tunnel. The sunlight (or moonlight) shimmering through the canopy, the stillness of the forest vegetation and the sounds of the forest itself, make for a surreal and mystical experience in the tunnels.

The dense canopy regulates moisture and humidity allowing orchids, mosses, and bromeliads to thrive. A moonlight tour or sunset tour in the tunnels can be something you will never forget The mangrove tunnel tour is a completely different experience than the Boat Assisted Kayak/Canoe Tour. Many guests enjoy both.

Option 3Everglades National Park Kayak Ecotour

Led by Florida Master Naturalists, These, traditional kayak and canoe eco-tours depart daily into the beautiful 10,000 Islands of Everglades National Park. From various launch sites, these 3-hour tours leave from the shore and return to the starting launch site after the completion of the tour.

The launch sites and the tour routes that we choose vary daily and seasonally. You may paddle to a rookery where hundreds of wading birds nest in a colony; find yourself surrounded by feeding manatees; walk on a Calusa Indian shell mound, thousands of years old; or paddle with the tidal currents up a river to view endangered roseate spoonbills or small toothed sawfish.

Option 4Everglades Grand Heritage & Birding Tour

This is the most extensive tour of Everglades National Park offered. Approximately seven hours in duration, it culminates with sunset over the water. Your Naturalist Guide will safely and comfortably lead you on a personalized, interpretative ecological and historical tour into areas of the Park that few get to experience. You will go through the 10,000 Islands, the Everglades Tidal Rivers and Flats, the famous Wilderness Waterway, remote Mangrove Creeks and Tunnels, Coastal Island Beaches and remote historical sites in Everglades National Park.

Limited to just six guests, your experience will be varied and dynamic. It will include not only the boat experience, but kayaking and walking some of the most unique interesting and remote areas of the Park. You will make frequent stops at points of interest and comfort facilities throughout the day. Be sure to bring your lunch and refreshments to enjoy at a historic site or on a remote barrier island beach. One of our favorite places for lunch is the historic home site of “Bloody” Edgar Watson immortalized in Peter Matthiessen’s book, The Killing of Mr. Watson.

Not to worry, the state-of-the-art kayaks are very stable and easy to paddle and you do not need prior paddling or kayaking experience. We use both single and two-place kayaks so you can paddle together with a friend or partner. Since they are very quiet, stealthy and non-intrusive, the kayaks are an excellent tool to get you close the wildlife.

Each day is different in this wonderful wilderness and so each tour is also different. Your captain and naturalist guide is a full-time professional and is on the water most everyday. He/she will tailor the day’s tour to the local conditions at the time, the season, and where the wildlife chooses to be.

This tour is a wonderful eco-experience, but it is not always available, especially on short notice. It is very popular with returning guests, so it is important to book this tour as far in advance as possible. We do limit this tour to just six guests.

Wizard Creek and The Watson’s Place. One of our favorite destinations for birding and photography on the Grand tour is Wizard Creek. It is one on the more unique areas within the western Everglades National Park. A creek that runs from the Gulf waters through the mangrove wilderness into the backwaters of the Wilderness Waterway; it is a “”super-highway”” short cut for both fish and wading birds. While the place is always rich in fodder for the birds, sometimes it is like “”fish soup””, alive with wading bird feed. The area is always teeming with life and is a great place to bird most any time. However, when the area is “”soupy””, the concentration and variety of water fowl is amazing. The birds can be distracted in the creek since they are intent on feeding. The stealth of the kayaks can really help you observe their activity up close. Be sure to bring your cameras in addition to your binoculars.

To get there, we run through the mangrove backcountry waters of Everglades National Park . We depart from the 10,000 Islands, at Chokoloskee Island, and we travel up the Lopez River, though Crooked Creek, into Sunday Bay and then along the Wilderness Waterway above the headwaters of the Huston River through Chevalier and Cannon Bays. Along the way we stop at various points of interest as well as make stops at comfort facilities. At the mouth of Wizard Creek, we deploy the kayaks for a 2 to 2 1/2 hour paddle into the Creek. It can be a spectacular area for birding and photography.

After the paddle, we will motor the Chatham River stopping by the Historic Watson’s Place, usually for lunch, and then on to the mouth of the Huston River. We return to Chokoloskee along the Gulf Barrier Island beaches and shorelines. But first we typically deploy the kayaks a second time and access one of the remote island beaches for a unique hands-on experience. On the return trip, timed with the setting sun over the water, we motor past Duck Rock Cove, the Three Sisters, Pavilion Key, Rabbit Key, across the mouth of Chokoloskee Pass into Sand Fly pass and then back into Chokoloskee Bay. The boat trip alone is wonderful and a great way to experience the Park.

The Grand Tours leave from JT’s Island Gallery on Chokoloskee Island which is located just 3 miles from Everglades City. The actual departure time is varies throughout the year, but your captain will contact you ahead of time to coordinate the tour. You should budget a full eight hours of your day and expect to return after the sun sets.

Option 5Everglades National Park Birding, Wildlife & Photography Tour

Offering visitors, who cannot or will not paddle, a leisurely ride through the Everglades National Park’s 10,000 Island coastal ecosystems. Your naturalist guide will be on the hunt for birds and wildlife of all types … roseate spoonbills, osprey, ibis, great blue herons, tri-color herons, snowy egrets, shore birds, bald eagles; dolphins, sea turtles, manatees and other saltwater creatures.

The boat, limited to six passengers with comfortable seating, is a large, stable platform for birding and photography. There is space for a camera tripod so you can bring large telephoto lenses.

The Birding, Wildlife and Photo Expedition is essentially a two part adventure. First, it is a boat exploration of the 10,000 Islands where you will learn about the Everglades ecosystems, its history and rich culture. Here you are likely to encounter dolphins, manatees, sea turtles and a plethora of different birds.

On the second part, your guide will beach the boat and take you on an interpretive stroll on one of the Park’s many uninhabited barrier islands. These islands were for 1000’s of years the home of the Calusa Indians and after them came settlers that carved out hard scrabble homesteads and fish camps. For the most part, the untrained eye of a casual visitor would not see the signs of these long vanished people; however, our naturalist guides can and will show them to you. Expect lots of learning opportunities in and around the tidal flats, tidal pools, wrack-lines and beach dunes. Although you cannot harvest, the shelling is deemed by most to be extraordinary.

Tour Details

All of these tours can be organized as a private departure as well.  Tours leave from Marco Island or Everglades City (Chokoloskee).

Price Includes

  • Professionally Guided Tour
  • Gear As Needed
  • Noted Activities

Price Excludes

  • Taxes
  • Gratuities
  • Any Private Expenses

Optional Activities

  • Private Departures
  • Multi Day Camping