10 Amazing Kayaking & Paddle Boarding Spots in Southwest Florida

10 Amazing Kayaking & Paddle Boarding Spots in Southwest Florida

As an experienced paddler who’s paddled across the beautiful state of Florida, I can tell you that Southwest Florida is a paradise for kayaking and paddleboarding. The diversity of its waterways is simply breathtaking. Let me take you on a virtual tour of my top 10 favorite spots for kayaking or paddleboarding in Southwest Florida.


1.  Mound Key, Estero

The first time I paddled out to Mound Key, one of the amazing places to go kayaking or paddleboarding in Southwest Florida, I was struck by the clear blue saltwater of Estero Bay. The archaeological significance of the island, once the ceremonial center of the Calusa Indians, adds an extra layer of intrigue. Launching from either Koreshan State Historic Park or Lovers Key State Park offers a fantastic day on the water. 


2. Imperial River, Bonita Springs

Old Bonita Springs is a sight to behold from the Imperial River, another great spot for kayaking in Southwest Florida. The river winds through some truly scenic areas, and if you’re lucky, you might even encounter a manatee or two. I remember one early morning paddle; a manatee surfaced right next to my kayak, giving me quite the surprise! 


3. Bowman’s Beach, Sanibel

Bowman’s Beach, a true gem among Southwest Florida’s kayaking spots, with the largest public parking area among Sanibel’s four public beaches. It’s an ideal spot for shell collecting and discovering serene, secluded beaches. A tranquil haven is just a two-mile paddle away from the public beach, replacing what would otherwise be a lengthy walk. 


4. Manatee Park & the Orange River

Winter kayaking in Manatee Park & the Orange River, one of the amazing places to go kayaking or paddleboarding in Southwest Florida, is an experience like no other. The park becomes a haven for manatees seeking warmer waters, and seeing these gentle giants up close is truly special. 

5. Bunche Beach, Fort Myers

Bunche Beach in Fort Myers is a heaven for kayakers and birders alike. One memorable morning, I spotted a roseate spoonbill in full flight – its pink wings against the sunrise was a sight I’ll never forget. 

6. Matlacha Pass Preserve, Matlacha

The Matlacha Pass Preserve offers nature-filled paddling trails with the artsy town of Matlacha as its gateway. The preserve is teeming with wildlife and beautiful mangrove lined trails to explore. 

7. Koreshan State Historic Park, Estero

Paddling in Koreshan State Historic Park offers a unique blend of nature and history. The historic buildings and gardens are a testament to the industrious lives and unique beliefs of Florida pioneers. It’s like paddling through time!

8. Lovers Key Park, Fort Myers

Lovers Key Park, with its many paddling canals and dreamy beaches, is another must-visit spot among Southwest Florida’s top kayaking spots. Paddleboarding here at sunset is an experience that’s hard to put into words. 

9. Dog Beach, Bonita Springs

 Dog Beach in Bonita Springs offers a unique paddling experience with its tidal flat subject to incoming and outgoing tides. It’s always fun watching dogs frolic in the water while their owners relax on the beach.

10. Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail

The Calisa Blueway Paddling Trail is indeed a remarkable journey among Southwest Florida’s top 10 amazing places for kayaking or paddleboarding. This trail, which spans an impressive 190 miles, meanders through the coastal waters and inland tributaries of Lee County, Florida across Fort Myers, Pine Island, Sanibel, and Estero. It’s a haven for both novice and advanced paddlers. Each trip on this trail brings new discoveries and adventures.



Each location offers unique experiences for kayakers and paddleboarders alike. So grab your paddle, life vest (safety first!), sunscreen, and plenty of water, and get ready to explore these amazing places to go kayaking or paddleboarding in Southwest Florida. Trust me; you’re in for some unforgettable adventures! Remember: Always check local regulations or guidelines for paddlers before heading out. Happy paddling! 🚣‍♀️

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