10 Great Spots To Go Kayaking In Tampa

Kayaking in Tampa

Abigail ScottByAbigail Scott
Updated on 8/13/2022

The pleasant climate that can be expected throughout the year is undoubtedly one of the highlights of life in the Sunshine State. There are so many water access locations in the Tampa region that there are many places for you to go kayaking close by, regardless of whether you want to reserve a spot on a guided tour or hire a kayak from a local business that rents kayaks.

Kayaking in Tampa Bay, Clearwater, and St. Pete provides a one-of-a-kind opportunity to spend quality time with loved ones while enjoying the outdoors on the water. You're going to want to make sure you schedule some time in your schedule to go kayaking at one of these fantastic spots as soon as possible. Below you'll find a list that contains our best recommendations for places to go kayaking in Tampa Bay.

Shell Key Preserve

shell key preserve

Oh my goodness, there are manatees, dolphins, starfish, and birds here! Coastal Kayak Charters is one of many tour companies that provide guided kayaking trips through the tranquil Shell Key Preserve, located close to Tampa Bay and St. Petersburg. You may be able to paddle through the mangrove tunnels if the tide is in the correct position. You might have a once-in-a-lifetime encounter (quite romantic!) if you are fortunate enough to have a dolphin swim close to your kayak. This tour comes in at the cost of $49 per person.

Tampa Bay & St Pete Kayaking


Do you like to kayak while the beautiful skyline of Tampa serves as your backdrop? The stand-up paddle (SUP) board rentals offered by Urban Kai are its most well-known service, but the company also offers kayaking and starboard starship rentals. A distinctive feature of Urban Kai kayaking is that in addition to providing kayak rentals at their stores in Tampa and St. Pete, the company also gives customers the option of paying an additional price to have kayaking gear delivered to a place of their choosing. There is plenty of time to paddle about in the area if you hire a tandem kayak for $45 for two hours and share it with your significant other.

There are more opportunities to go kayaking on the waterways of the downtown area, such as those provided by Tampa Bay SUP (tandem kayak, $45 for two hours) and WhatSUP Paddle Sports (tandem kayak, $55 for two hours).

You can look up other companies on Google, just search for the term “kayak stores Tampa”

Kayak Adventure Along The Little Manatee River

kayak adventure along the little manatee river

Canoe Outpost – Little Manatee River is a kayaking outfitter situated on the banks of the Little Manatee River and is just a half-hour drive from the heart of Tampa. They provide a variety of kayaking excursions that range in degree. It doesn't matter whether you've never been in a kayak before or have been paddling for years; you'll have a good time either paddling out and back or going on a more extended excursion and taking a shuttle bus back. Participate in one of the monthly moonlight kayak paddle trips for an experience that is out of the ordinary. These tours include a break by a bonfire where participants may enjoy s'mores and other food while listening to music. Making a reservation for a kayak rental is strongly encouraged but not always necessary. The cost of renting a tandem kayak ranges from $49 to $59 a day, depending on the particular self-guided tour that you go on.

Aquaglide Deschutes Inflatable Kayak
Light weight
Easy to inflate

Island Of The Honeymoon And Island Of The Caladesis

island of the honeymoon and island of the caladesis

Honeymoon Island State Park is an unspoiled paradise just a few minutes from the trendy downtown area of Dunedin. This park is known for its natural beaches, breathtaking sunsets, and excellent shelling opportunities. After paying the $8 entrance charge and crossing the Dunedin Causeway, you will have access to the park. Although lounging on the beach and exploring the nearby hiking trails are two of the most popular things to do in the park, the park concession also offers kayaking, and visitors are welcome to bring their kayaks or hire one there. You also have the option to hire a tandem kayak from Sail Honeymoon, which is located outside the park, and paddle across to the beautiful Caladesi Island for a day spent on a deserted beach. Invest in a full-day kayak rental so that you have the flexibility to explore at your own pace.

Lido Key

lido key

Even though Lido Key is a bit of a drive from Tampa, the trip is well worth it because of the opportunity to paddle through some beautiful mangrove tunnels. Bring a plastic bag for your phone since you will almost certainly want to take some pictures while you are out adventuring. You won't be able to help but giggle when you run into trees or catch your paddle on a stray branch, but you'll improve your kayaking skills by negotiating the often narrow and winding tunnels. Several businesses, like Sea Life Kayak Adventures, provide kayak rental services. Even though there are opportunities to participate in guided tours, the tunnels are surprisingly easy to go about, and the current will assist you. This is the kind of encounter that even novices looking for a little bit of excitement may have no problem with. In addition to providing you with a kayak, the firm from whom you rent kayaks should also provide you with a map.

Tarpon Springs

tarpon springs

A manatee tour kayak trip is the best option for paddlers who are interested in seeing manatees and want to take their time on their excursion. During guided kayak trips, you will paddle in tandem transparent kayaks, providing you with an unobstructed view of any manatees you may be fortunate to see. After you have made your way out to the area frequented by manatees, you will have plenty of time to kick back in your kayak, unwind, and wait for the gentle giants to approach you and introduce themselves. During this journey, a manatee surfaced just in front of the kayak that I was paddling.

After your kayak excursion, consider paying a visit to the neighboring town of Tarpon Springs, which is full of tourists but is still a lot of fun. The region is most known for its sponges, which can be found just about everywhere, and a plethora of delectable Greek dining establishments. Tours take around 2.5 hours. Please be aware that this excursion is only available in the fall and winter when manatees are in season.

The Weedon Island Conservation Area

the weedon island conservation area

Paddle through some exciting mangrove tunnels and take in the breathtaking scenery. Since 1992, Sweetwater Kayaks has provided customers with kayak rental services from its location at Weedon Island Preserve. Not only does Sweetwater offer kayak rentals, but they also provide kayaking classes and go on kayaking trips. Although the rental business is open every day until 5 p.m., the final rental is at 3:30 p.m.; thus, you should be there as soon as possible. The hourly charge for renting a single room is $17, while the hourly rate for renting a double room is $25. Make sure you have a spot reserved by calling beforehand.

Longboat Key

longboat key

Longboat Key is a posh refuge located to the south of Anna Maria Island. It is known for its breathtaking shorelines and beautiful restaurants. When you go exploring on the water, you get a new perspective of Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key and have the opportunity to stop at a sandbar or look through some mangroves. There are other rental sites for Happy Paddler Kayak, but my favorite is the one in Longboat Pass. Once you have boarded your vessel, you can paddle to the sandbar in front of Jewfish Key close to Longboat Pass by going out and then around. If you are feeling brave, you may swim under the Longboat Pass bridge and out into the clear water of the gulf to get a glimpse of AMI and Longboat Key from that vantage point. Rental fees for tandem bicycles are $75 for a full day (4 hours).

Fort De Soto

fort de soto

See Through Adventures is a glass-bottom kayak experience that offers daily trips at Fort De Soto and Shell Key, located south of St. Pete. On these tours, it is practically sure that you will see friendly Florida wildlife. You have the choice of going on a toor that lasts either 1.5 or 2.5 hours, and you should keep a watch out for manatees and dolphins, who are often spotted in the seas that are shallow and tranquil. There is a minimum of one person necessary for a reservation, and the cost varies depending on the length of the trip, with a 1.5-hour tour costing $69 per person and a 2.5-hour time costing $99 per person. The final rental is at four in the afternoon.

Robinson Preserve

robinson preserve

Are you planning on spending a lazy day on the beach on Anna Maria Island? Combining a morning spent lounging in the sun with a paddle through Robinson Preserve's mangroves and placid waterways in a kayak make for a memorable experience. You may rent kayaks at the entrance to the preserve from the famous Surfer Bus, which is parked along Manatee Avenue just before you reach the island. Access to the preserve is just a short distance away via kayak. You will paddle through numerous small mangrove tunnels and open water, and you will have the option to paddle to the preserve's viewing tour, which provides breathtaking views of Anna Maria Island and the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Finally, we hope you enjoy kayaking in Tampa.