Canoes & Kayaks

Paddle Sarasota, a guide to Sarasota’s Kayak and Canoe Trails

Discover Sarasota's natural beauty, its unique wildlife and habitat that beckons to residents and visitors alike as you explore the beautiful waterways of this county.

This guide can be used to navigate designated paddling routes through open water as well as mangrove trails. Each paddling trail has detailed directions to Launch Points. Each trail includes suggested Short Trips, Navigational Notes and Paddle Tips to help ensure a safe and enjoyable outing.

Visit the Sarasota County website for detailed printable maps of scenic canoe and kayak paddle trails. It is a great resource for paddlers.

Check It Out!

Almost Heaven Kayak Adventures
Phone: 504-6296

Biotica Ecotours
Phone: 941-350-4905

Cook's Sportland
Eric or Malcolm
4419 Tamiami Trail South
Venice Florida
Phone: 941-493-0025

Archery & Accessories, Camping Equipment, Clothing: Camoflage and Western, Canoes & Kayak sales, Fishing Tackle, Golf, Guns & Ammo, Shuffleboard

Economy Tackle
6018 S. Tamiami Trl.
Sarasota Florida
Phone: 941-922-9671

Island Style Wind & Watersport
2433 N. Tamiami Trl.
Sarasota Florida
Phone: 941-954-1009

Myakka River State Park
13208 State Road 72
Sarasota Florida
Phone: 941-361-6511

Myakka River State Park is one of Florida’s oldest and largest state parks, famous for its panoramas of lakes, river, marshes, hammocks and prairies, and for its abundant wildlife populations. Deer, alligators and many species of wading birds are abundant, as well as thousands of waterfowl in the winter months. Ospreys, bald eagles and sandhill cranes are commonly seen. A visitors’ center has exhibits of wildlife and plant communities on display. Park rangers provide videos, guided walks and campfire programs according to seasonal attendance. During the winter, they offer bird watching for beginners. A 7,500-acre wilderness preserve resembles Florida as it looked before the arrival of Europeans. A limited number of visitors are allowed to visit this preserve each day on foot or by boat. All plant and animal life is protected in state parks. Intoxicants are not permitted in any area of the park.

Park Highlights: Over 28,875 acres of pristine area, wildlife trails, canoeing, biking, camping, visitor’s center, elevated tree canopy walk, snack bar and highly recommended airboat rides and tram tours; each ride and tour takes about an hour, and no walking is required.

Canoes and bicycles are available for rental, picnic tables are located near boat and tram tour rides. If you are planning to take one of the tour rides, getting there early is a good idea. No reservations are accepted. Group rates and charters are available.

Tour Highlights: Extremely knowledgeable and entertaining tour guides; ranger-guided walks Sat. mornings at 9 a.m.; “Gator Gal” (the world’s largest airboat); alligators, deer, bobcat and bald eagles in the wild; plenty of fresh air. Fares: Adults $10; children (6-12 years) $5; toddlers (5 and under) free if held in lap.

A Brief History of Myakka River State Park
In the early 1920s, A.B. Edwards, a prominent resident and Sarasota’s first mayor, launched a movement to set aside a natural area for recreation and preservation. Edwards persuaded the Florida Internal Improvement Fund to buy more than 17,000 acres (at 37.5 cents an acre!) from the A.C. Honore Estate. A few weeks after the purchase, Honore and Potter Palmer donated more than 1,900 acres to the state — a memorial to their mother Bertha Palmer. In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps (one of many federal relief agencies established through President Roosevelt’s New Deal to help ease the Depression) brought in 200 men to make the 26,000 acres usable. From 1934 to 1941 the crew built roads, bridges, cabins, dug drainage ditches and planted over 100,000 trees. Everything constructed was done with native materials. The park opened to the public June 1, 1942.

Oscar Scherer State Park
U.S. 41 (Tamiami Trl.)
Osprey Florida
Phone: 941-483-5956

Hours: 8 a.m. until sunset
Admission: $4 per car (up to 8 people), sunset entrance $3
This park includes The Lester Finley Nature Trail, a special hiking trail constructed in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The park originally consisted of 462 acres of scrubby flatwoods and mesic flatwoods; South Creek, a blackwater stream, flows through this area. An additional 922 acres acquired in 1992 contain tracts of depression marshes, pine forests and additional flatwoods on the banks of a small tidal creek. The park is noted for its population of Florida scrub jays, a threatened species (some will land on your outstretched hand). Bald eagles, as well as bobcats, river otters and alligators, are often seen in the winter months, as are many birds. The rare gopher tortoise, gopher frog and indigo snake are occasionally seen here. Pick up an animal identification booklet at the entrance.

Highlights: Self-guided nature trail, voicebox information stations, freshwater lake swimming, picnic area, canoe rentals, fishing, both freshwater in the lake and saltwater in South Creek, campsites with water and electric hookup, plus the very impressive Lester Finley Nature Trail for outdoor enthusiasts with disabilities — a sight-impaired-adapted and wheelchair-friendly hike with touch-activated audio speakers that provide interpretive information.

Pinecraft Park
1420 Gilbert Ave.
Sarasota FL
Phone: 941-861-5000

Siesta Key Bike & Kayak
Phone: 941-346-0891

Siesta Key Watersports
1536 Stickney Point Rd.
Sarasota Florida 34242
Phone: 941-921-3030

Siesta Sports Rentals
6551 Midnight Pass Rd
Sarasota Florida 34242
Phone: 941-346-1797
Canoes & Kayak sales, Fishing Tackle, Golf, Guns & Ammo, Shuffleboard

Silent Sports Outfitter
2301-E N. Tamiami Trl
Nokomis Florida
Phone: 941-966-5477

Snook Haven
5000 E. Venice Ave.
Venice Florida
Phone: 941-485-7221

Open 7 Days a week serving casual, (and we really mean casual) lunch and dinner. This old Florida favorite features great food and entertainment, outdoor concerts and festivals, private parties with catering in the historic Hospitality House, boat rentals and river cruises. It’s a great place to see alligators, paddle a canoe, and enjoy a grouper sandwich and a longneck beer. Be sure to ask about the killer turtles and visit the killer turtle shop. (We don’t want to spoil the fun).

Walk On The Wild Side
629 41st Street
Sarasota Florida
Phone: 941-351-6500

Wildlife Services of Florida
Mark Barrow
Local Canoe Adventures, Fossil Hunts, Wilderness Survival Skills

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