Last Updated on December 22, 2023

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Are you in the market for the best Sarasota kayak tours available? If so, you’ve come to the right place!

Learn everything you need to know about the top Sarasota kayaking excursions in this post.

Have a great time exploring the beaches and byways by kayak or opt for the ultimate adventure of a mangrove tunnel tour!

There’s no better way to experience the beauty of Sarasota than on one of these outings.

Even better, there are options for every level, from beginners to experienced kayakers.

Let’s get to it!

Top Choice √ Best Sarasota Kayak Tour

Sarasota Kayak Tour Through Mangrove Tunnels

 

 

Booking a last-minute trip to Sarasota?  

If so, we have you covered.  Here are some top recommended hotels and accommodations!

Top Hotels & Accommodations in Sarasota

Kompose Boutique Hotel Sarasota – (Most Booked Hotel In Sarasota)

Carlisle Inn Sarasota – (Top Rated Sarasota Inn)

Tropical Beach Resorts – (Budget Resort Nearby Beach)

Captiva Beach Resort – (High Rated Resort With Private Beach Access)

Looking To Get Around In Sarasota

Check out rental car rates here! 🚗

 

 

5 Best Sarasota Kayak Tours

Photo Credit-  SURFit USA

Experience the beauty and other-worldly nature of the Lido Key Mangrove Tunnels on this incredible Sarasota Kayak adventure!

This tour is rated 5 Stars on Viator with over 401 reviews!

 

Tour length- Approximately 2 hours

Experience the beauty and other-worldly nature of the Lido Key Mangrove Tunnels on this incredible Sarasota Kayak adventure!

Launch a kayak from Ted Sperling Park and paddle through the shallow bay.

As you go, keep an eye out for manatees, dolphins, bald eagles, ospreys, and cormorants hunting for fish.

Now for the real highlight! You’ll enter a maze of mangrove tunnels!

These resilient trees surround you with walls of trunks and greenery.

They form a canopy overhead so thick you can’t see the sky.

It’s like being in a different world. The only sounds are the splash of paddles, the rustle of wind, and the quiet rain of falling leaves.

Fiddler crabs scurry along the branches and fish and jellyfish swim through clear water mere inches from your kayak.

During this guided outing, you’ll learn about this ecosystem from your top-notch tour guide.

You can also choose to go on a stand-up paddleboard, single kayak, or double kayak.

What’s Included:

  • Safety Equipment (Life Jackets, Leashes)

  • Double Kayak

  • Paddles

Here’s what a past guest said about this tour:

“Relaxing, fun, informative tour of the mangroves. Jaquan was an excellent guide. Very knowledgeable about the growth and life in the mangroves. An awesome adventure!

 

Donna_S

 

 

 

Photo Credit- Sea Life Kayak Adventures

This tour is rated 5 Stars on Viator with over 1,164 reviews!

 

Tour length- Approximately 2 hours

 

Kayaking is an excellent way to explore Florida’s unique ecosystem and enjoy the tranquility of nature! 

Keep an eye out for starfish and other local wildlife as you paddle through Little Sarasota Bay.

Nothing compares to seeing all sorts of marine life in their natural habitat!  

Next, you’ll explore the South Lido Beach Nature Park with its otherworldly mangrove tunnels.

All of the tunnels are interconnected, so you don’t have to worry about getting lost (plus your guide will watch out for you).

Immerse yourself in the tranquillity and beauty, paddle, or let yourself drift for a while. Breathe deep. Be.

It’s no wonder this is one of the most highly-rated day tours for kayaks available!

Note: Single and tandem kayaks are available.

What’s Included:

  • Local guide

  • Professional guide

  • USCG Life vests

  • Lightweight carbon fiber paddle

Here’s what a past guest said about this tour:

“My husband and I had a wonderful experience on this Mangrove Tour. He’s from a landlocked state and has never kayaked a day in his life. But our guide Hoppe showed him the ropes and he was paddling like a natural after her instruction. She greatly enhanced our experience through her encouraging words, limitless knowledge, and bountiful enthusiasm. The entire staff was friendly and helpful but the excursion itself was unlike anything we’ve experienced before. We got to experience wildlife and nature in completely new ways. This was a wonderful experience and we’ll be sure to come again when we make the next trip down.”

Megan_H ⭐

 

 

 

Photo Credit-  Kayaking SRQ Tours and Rentals

Save yourself from the chaos of large groups and enjoy a more intimate tour on this Sarasota kayaking adventure!

This tour is rated 5 Stars on Viator with over 300 reviews!

 

Tour length- Approximately 2 Hours 

Save yourself from the chaos of large groups and enjoy a more intimate tour on this Sarasota kayaking adventure!

The expert guides are Florida Master Naturalists and kayaking pros.

To start the tour, they’ll give you a detailed lesson on how to kayak safely and well–making this a perfect excursion for all skill levels.

The paddle begins in Ted Sperling Park and leads to one of the most beautiful areas in Florida: the mangrove tunnels.

Kayaking is a great way to explore this majestic forest!

As you paddle through the tunnels, you’ll have a chance to see local marine life and a plethora of birds.

You’ll also enjoy a completely clear view of fish in the crystalline water.

What’s Included:

  • A high-quality kayak and lightweight paddle

  • Professional guide with vast knowledge of the area

  • Coast guard approved life jacket

Here’s what a past guest said about this tour:

“Being out on the open water is by far the best feeling. Experiencing beautiful nature and its creatures was amazing.”

Veralys_I

 

 

 

Photo Credit- SURFit USA

Another wonderful way to experience kayaking in Sarasota is on this Siesta Key Guided Kayak Tour! For this tour, you'll have your choice of paddle boards or kayaks.

This tour is rated 4.5 Stars on Viator with over 28 reviews!

 

Tour length- Approximately 2 Hours

 

Another wonderful way to experience kayaking in Sarasota is on this Siesta Key Guided Kayak Tour!

For this tour, you’ll have your choice of paddle boards or kayaks.

Follow your great guide through the Jim Neville Marine Preserve, enjoying the beauties of mangrove islands and sand dunes.

You might even spot über-friendly bottlenose dolphins!

Next, you’ll pull up at Turtle Beach. This is a “secret beach” because it is super isolated and beautiful. You might have the place to yourselves!

Explore the sand dunes, walk to the Gulf of Mexico, swim in the ocean, or simply relax and enjoy the vistas!

As you go, you’ll learn about the amazing wildlife and fragile ecosystems of the area.

What’s Included:

  • Use of Kayak or Paddleboard, Paddle, Life Jacket, Dry Bag

Here’s what a past guest said about this tour:

“Tim was a fantastic tour guide. Very knowledgeable and you could tell he really likes doing this. He taught us a lot of things about the flora and fauna that we didn’t know. Also a funny dude. The beach was great too. We all had a great time and would definitely do this again.”

Lee_A 

 

 

 

Photo Credit- Sharkey’s Glass Bottom Tours

Step into a glass-bottom kayak for an incredible late-night outing.  During this excursion, you'll launch your kayak from Ken Thompson Park and explore the shallow grass flats of the bay.

This tour is rated 4.5 Stars with 43 Reviews!

 

Tour length- Approximately 1.25 Hours

Looking for something unusual to do? Consider this popular night tour!

Step into a glass-bottom kayak for an incredible late-night outing.

During this excursion, you’ll launch your kayak from Ken Thompson Park and explore the shallow grass flats of the bay.

If you’re lucky, you might even see some wildlife illuminated by the high-powered LED dangling from your kayak. 

Seeing the bubbles and drifting grass slip past the clear bottom of the boat, and admiring the beautiful lights of downtown Sarasota is unforgettable.

Both night and sunset tours are available, so choose whichever option works best for you.

This is the only clear kayak tour you’ll need, as it definitely tops the list of fun things to do in the late evening.

Note: You’ll need a U.S. SIM Card to hear the guide.

What’s Included:

  • We provide all safety equipment for the tour which includes USCG-certified life vests with whistles

  • Fish Food is included to feed the fish that we see at a certain part of our tour.

Here is what a past guest said about this tour:

“Emiliano was an excellent tour guide. Hilarious and informative. Was my first time in Florida and I love kayaking so I chose their experience. Went with my family in early September at 8 pm and we saw some beautiful lightning and clouds.” 

Omer_E 

 

 

 

Sarasota Kayak Tour FAQS

Can You Kayak At Siesta Key Beach?

Yes! You can kayak at Siesta Key Beach. According to Kayak Florida, Siesta Key Beach is a perfect place to enjoy kayaking, water sports, volleyball, biking, and tennis.

Explore the mangroves, paddle to Turtle Beach, or head to the exotic mangrove tunnels.

If you don’t have your own kayak, kayak rentals and paddleboard rentals are available from Robin Hood Rentals and Kayaking SRQ Tours.

Paddle board rentals are available from Siesta Key Paddleboards. 

Tip: Avoid going out at low tide, as the waterways may be too shallow and not have enough clearance.

What Time Of Year Can You Kayak With Manatees In Florida?

Although there are some manatees in Florida throughout the year, the largest populations arrive from November to March.

The manatees flock to Florida in search of warm water during the winter months.

Kayaking is one of the best ways to sight these gentle mammals.

Not only are kayaks silent, they’ll also give you access to narrow channels and springs where the manatees enjoy hanging out.

Remember, don’t follow the manatees, make a lot of noise, paddle over them, feed them, touch them, or harass them.

Can You Kayak In Sarasota Bay?

Yes! Not only can you kayak in Sarasota Bay, but in multiple different locations in the greater Sarasota area.

There are 29 different spots to launch a kayak in Sarasota County.

Check out the Blueways Paddling Guide for maps, launch sites, paddling rules, and other tips to get you out and about on these Floridian waterways.

What Should I Bring On The Kayaking Tour? 

Never hit the water without your sunscreen.  You’ll want at least SPF 30 to protect from the Florida sun.

 

Sun Bum Sun Screen 

 

If you’re planning a boat cruise, quick drying beach towels are an essential item to pack.  Unlike regular towels, quick drying beach towels are made from materials that dry quickly, meaning you won’t have to worry about them getting wet and heavy as the day goes on.

 

 Quick Drying Beach Towel

 

Bring back memories from your underwater adventure with this waterproof camera!

Waterproof Camera

 

Keep your phone dry and take beautiful pictures under water with a waterproof phone case. 

Waterproof Phone Case 

 

Enter the tranquil vibrant world of a mangrove forest in Sarasota, paddle to a secret beach, sight marine life, birds, fish, and crabs, and immerse yourself in nature.

Sarasota Kayak Tours: Final Thoughts

Enter the tranquil vibrant world of a mangrove forest, paddle to a secret beach, sight marine life, birds, fish, and crabs, and immerse yourself in nature.

All of this and more is possible on one of these fabulous kayaking adventures.

Now all you have to do is pick!

Which of these Sarasota Kayak tours is perfect for you?

 

 

Travel Resources

 

Book Your Next Trip!  For Accommodations and short-term rentals, I recommend Booking.com as they are the best in the business when it comes to rates and places to stay.

To Book Activities- For activities, I suggest booking with Viator, they have thousands of 5-star activities to choose from!

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