Clint and I had a great time. This was a fantastic way to see the Everglades. I loved spotting the orchid, seeing an alligator, watching the sun set over the Gulf of Mexico, observing the pelicans fish while the tide went down, kayaking across Ponce De Leon Bay, exploring the Wilderness Waterway, and of course eating Dave’s good cooking. Thanks for a great trip.
8-Day Everglades Kayak Tour
Paddle the entire 99-mile length of the famous Wilderness Waterway through the full length of the Everglades from Flamingo in the south to Everglades City in the north. Experience a complete eight day immersion in the largest wilderness backcountry in the eastern U.S. You will see Everglades National Park, and nobody else, on this trip!
Why Choose This Tour:
Strenuous level – Only for very fit individuals and experienced kayakers. This trip requires breaking and moving camp every day to reach our required campsites with potentially limited breaks and no rest days. Proof of sea kayaking experience may be required for this tour.
99 miles in total (up to 19 miles and 10 hours paddling per day).
Day Tour Runs:
Any day of the week. Typically runs Sunday-Sunday, one/two tours per season. See calendar for currently scheduled tours.
Departure and Drop Off:
Departure: 9am from the Canoe/Kayak Access at the Everglades National Park Gulf Coast Visitor Center
Drop Off: 4pm (same location).
Click here to see the map.
Max group size 4 | Min group size 2.
18 years old.
Winter dry season, November to April.
The Everglades enjoys a subtropical climate and the “winter” months are the best time of year to visit! November to April is the tropical dry season with abundant sunshine, warm days, cool nights, low humidity and little rain. The infamous clouds of biting insects are also greatly reduced.
What to Bring:
A specific personal packing list is provided with our Overnight Tour Information sheet.￼
About Your Guide:
Your guide will be an ACA kayak instructor, NOLS wilderness first responder, and certified Florida master naturalist.
Read more about our guides here.
Price: $2100 (See below for what's included)
Day 1: Flamingo, 5 Miles
Your 8-day adventure begins at 9:00AM in Everglades City. After introductions, we’ll shuttle to the kayak put-in at the national park marina in Flamingo. Flamingo is a tiny outpost at the southernmost tip of the state – named after the colorful birds which occasionally pass through the area, but now live more abundantly in the Caribbean. Here we say goodbye to civilization and head out into the wilderness! Our first day will take us through the other-worldly eeriness of this beautiful landscape and along the coastline of Florida Bay, where we will spend a night under the stars surrounded by nature at the East Cape campsite. After unloading the boats and setting up our first camp, we’ll enjoy a delicious dinner. Our hearty meals are a highlight! We provide fresh, plentiful, and delicious food. With our backcountry experience, we’ve learned that depending on bland and unhealthy dehydrated meals is not necessary.
Paddling distance: 5 miles. Lunch and dinner included.
Day 2: Cape Sable, 11 Miles
After our first day of paddling, we´ll recharge with a freshly-made breakfast of pancakes, eggs, bacon, toast, cereal, cold milk, fresh fruit, juice and coffee. Throughout the day, we’ll stop for leg stretches, bathroom breaks and a buffet picnic lunch. Long and undeveloped Cape Sable is completely exposed to the open Gulf of Mexico. This beautiful and wild coastline is fronted by long beaches completely devoid of the condominiums backing most of Florida’s coast. We camp tonight on Middle Cape where our own 5 mile long beach with an unobstructed sunset view awaits us.
Paddling distance: 11 miles. All meals included.
Day 3: Desolation Coast, 17 Miles
We continue north today in the Gulf of Mexico. This wild coast is regularly thrashed by hurricanes. The area’s isolation and the dead trees have earned it the name “Desolation Coast”. Late this afternoon, we reach Ponce de Leon Bay where we’ll paddle approximately three miles across open water at the mouth of the bay. In the open water, we have a great opportunity to spot dolphin, sea turtle and white pelican. If the weather does not cooperate, we’ll head east toward the protected inside of the bay. We camp tonight on a wooded ground site at Graveyard Creek.
Paddling distance: 17 miles. All meals included.
Day 4: Nightmare Route, 19 Miles
We head inside today from the open gulf and into the narrow, twisted and shallow Nightmare Route. This route was named by motor boaters who became stranded at low tide and swarmed by clouds of mosquitoes. It is actually a very pleasant paddle for kayakers through a shady canopy of mangrove tunnels. Our destination tonight is Rogers River Bay Chickee. Chickee is the Seminole native word for “house” and is what the national park calls their camping platforms. These platforms are wooden decks with metal roofs constructed over the water on stilts. We´ll set up our tents and sleep directly over the water tonight for a unique experience listening to fish jump and manatees surfacing for a breath.
Paddling distance: 19 miles. All meals included.
Day 5: Wilderness Waterway, 13 Miles
Following the Wilderness Waterway all day, we´ll paddle through shallow bays and creeks. The route is marked by the national park with consecutively numbered posts from #1 in Flamingo to #137 in Everglades City. All day we’ll be counting up toward our destination. This area is also the farthest inland we reach on the trip and the freshwater here is preferred by alligators. Take advantage of fantastic alligator-sighting opportunities along your journey, especially in the aptly named Alligator Creek. Don´t worry, these reptiles shy away from kayaks, but look great on camera! Our campsite tonight is Plate Creek Chickee at Lostman’s Five Bay.
Paddling distance: 13 miles. All meals included.
Day 6: Watson Place, 14 Miles
Today we head down Chatham River to a destination of historical significance, the infamous Watson Place. Around the turn of the century, the notorious Ed Watson, a headstrong and violent tempered man with a shadowy past, lived and farmed here. The campsite is in a clearing on a man made “shell mound” constructed by the Calusa natives, the original people in southwest Florida. The Calusa constructed dozens of these engineered mounds over generations as dry land for home sites. Our camping destination, the Watson Place mound, is one of the Everglades largest at 38 acres.
Paddling distance: 14 miles. All meals included.
Day 7: Pavilion Key, 8 Miles
This morning we leave the waterway behind and paddle down the Chatham River back to the Gulf of Mexico, where we will arrive at our destination – a breathtaking sandy beach at the northeastern tip of Pavilion Key. The powder soft and sparkling white sand is composed of calcium carbonate produced from the shells of marine invertebrates. Stretch your legs and shell hunt along this beautifully remote coastline. We’ll enjoy our last night in the backcountry sharing memories around a blazing beach campfire and taking in the glorious Florida sunset.
Paddling distance: 8 miles. All meals included.
Day 8: 10,000 Islands, 12 Miles
By the end of our 8-day adventure, we’ll have locked into the backcountry rhythms and forgotten our concerns from the outside world, but unfortunately the fun has to end! Before we say our goodbyes, we´ll enjoy our last paddle weaving through the 10,000 Islands. This vast tangle of “islands” is actually a maze of mangrove trees growing in a shallow tidal estuary. A fantastic opportunity to witness our abundant migratory and resident birdlife, including flocks of ibis, diving osprey and vibrant pink spoonbills. We end our trip back in Everglades City before 4:00PM with our heads and hearts full of memories of the Everglades.
Paddling distance: 12 miles. Breakfast and lunch included.
Just wanted to thank you again and say what a great time I had on our trip last week. You did a wonderful job and cooked wonderful food! I love it down there and you will definitely see me again one day