Kayaking in the Everglades is a popular activity, but it’s necessary to be prepared for the trip.
The Everglades National Park and nearby areas are home to many dangerous animals, including alligators and crocodiles.
This blog post will give you some tips on preparing for your kayaking trip so that you can have a safe and enjoyable time.
About Everglades National Park, Florida
The Everglades is one of the unique ecosystems in the world. Spread over 2 million acres, they’re home to some very colorful creatures, including alligators and crocodiles who coexist peacefully within this unique ecosystem.
They also feature plants and animals found nowhere else on earth.
If you’re into boating, kayaking is the perfect way to explore the Florida Everglades. You can find wildlife of all kinds within five different habitats: Hammock, Mangrove, Pineland, Sawgrass, and Slough. One animal reigns as king in these swamps — a native of the sunshine state called an alligator.
Although the Everglades are home to such a diverse range of wildlife, it is worth remembering that all animals in the park are protected by law. Visitors must maintain a safe distance from all nature and remember not to feed any wild animal for their safety.
So, is kayaking in the Everglades safe?
Yes, kayaking in the Everglades is a safe and exciting activity for the adventure seeker.
If you are not hunting wild animals or poking around cool swamps, you should be okay to go. It’s also going to be one of your best views of South Florida wildlife.
Though the Everglades is known for alligators, there is plenty of other wildlife to be seen. Many people like the idea of paddling a river with unpredictable animals, no matter what type they may be.
Those who enjoy swimming in lakes or rivers would probably have a great time here but should watch for snakes and mosquitoes.
Kayaking is a fun thing to do. There are many different plants and animals there. Many people worry about whether or not they will get hurt on the trip, but it is safe.
Let me answer the question of whether kayaking in the Everglades is safe with a simple yes.
However, this answer requires more if I want to give you accurate advice.
Know the dangers of kayaking in Florida and the Everglades
Gators are a real and valid concern for all residents living near any body of water in Florida. There are over one million gators statewide, and the Everglades National Park provides homes to around 200,000.
There are many animals, and you might be afraid of them. You have to go on the water, which can be scary, but you have to do it. It may seem like there is nothing to worry about with so many other potentially dangerous threats out there.
Don’t let this trick you into making a careless mistake-there are plenty of things that can make kayaking in the Everglades dangerous.
There are many spiders in the Everglades
If you can’t handle spiders and bugs, perhaps kayaking in the mangroves is not for you. The root systems and branches hanging overhead really attract a lot of them.
The Everglades National Park covers around two million acres in Florida and hosts millions of animal species like alligators, crocodiles, birds, and snakes, among many others. As mentioned before, there are also 20 thousand spiders (with poisonous black widows being the most notorious).
Kayakers often wear long sleeves and pants to protect their skin from potential spider bites as they float through the mangroves.
Tip: A spritz of bug spray helps keep mosquitoes and general insect bites at a minimum.
Be careful around the sawgrass
The sawgrass in the swampy marshes is a plant with tiny blades of plants. They can cut your skin, but they don’t pose many other dangers outside of that. It is safe to go on salt grass, as long as you do not walk through it or touch the blades. Snakes can be there, but they are rare and only found near water.
Please don’t wear anything that will get stuck in the sawgrass. Pull-on your kayak or weigh you down when it gets wet. Make sure you are wearing shoes that can get dirty as well- this is not a place for flip-flops.
Florida has unpredictable weather
Batten down the hatches: it’s going to be a bumpy ride. In Florida, weather conditions can change from one second to the next. Before you head out on the open water or onto land, check both weather and tide charts for your destination to plan accordingly.
The Everglades has wet and dry seasons, and this will dictate what type of gear you pack.
The Everglades has a wet season, which is between May to November. During this time, it’s common for weather conditions to be hot and humid.
You may come across thunderstorms at this time of year. They can cause the water to rise quickly and strong currents. Bringing a dry bag might be a good idea to store your belongings when kayaking in the Everglades.
The dry season lasts from December to April. The moderate weather during this time of year brings fewer bugs and less chance of unpredictable weather.
People who want to kayak in the Everglades during this time will have lower water levels. It will make it difficult for them to go through certain areas.
Be careful at the shoreline of rivers and lakes
The shores are full of dangerous creatures like alligators, crocodiles, snakes, frogs, and more. The Everglades is a place where you should avoid being near too many bodies of water from any angle.
If your kayak capsizes or hits something in the water, it could be hard to find you.
Venomous snakes are not toys
There are 27 different types of snakes you may come across in the Everglades, four of which are poisonous. Diamondback rattlesnakes, dusky pygmy rattlesnakes, coral snakes, and cottonmouths are all native to Florida.
Yes, you might see an occasional snake in Florida national parks. They can be found near marshes, swamps, rivers, lakes, and beaches, depending on the time of year that you go.
Many types of snakes can be found while out kayaking. The cottonmouths or water moccasins are the types you will see in the most abundance.
Bites from them have always been seen as rare occurrences for boaters, their bites and very few of those being life-threatening. Other snakes are often mistaken as these, and bites can happen.
Fundamental safety tips for kayaking in the Everglades
Even though kayaking in the Everglades is an entirely different animal than kayaking at home, many of the same safety rules apply to your trip. Make sure you plan by keeping these important concerns in mind.
PFDs are important
When kayaking in the Everglades, you want to be careful. There are parts of the park where there is shallow water as deep as just one and a half feet.
You may be able to step through the boat if you don’t wear a life jacket. But there are also parts of the vessel that are shallow. If you go faster, then your boat could quickly move into deeper water.
Make sure to wear your life jacket if you go kayaking in the Everglades.
A safety kit should have first-aid supplies, a flashlight, and batteries
Traveling with your family by kayak in Florida presents unique challenges that other activities might not.
People have visited the Everglades National Park for many centuries. It would help if you thought about what you need before you go there.
First, bring ample safety equipment, including rain gear, an alligator repellant (like the whistle or air horn), sunscreen, and insect repellant.
For safety, it is better to bring someone with you
Pets are not allowed in the Everglades because they might attract predators. But you should absolutely bring a friend.
I always have someone on a kayak with me as a buddy system when I am up around the alligators in Florida. If you are still new to kayaking, it is best to take a guided tour or go out with friends who know the area better than you.
If you are going out in the boat, make sure that someone on dry land knows where you’re going. If something happens, they will let people know.
Is it safe to swim in the Everglades?
That is a good question. It would be best if you did not swim there because there are alligators and other dangerous animals.
Florida has loads of safe swimming beaches, but the Everglades are not as forgiving. Alligators and other dangerous animals lurk in the brackish waters, and you may not always see a threat until it is too late.
Your best option is to stay within the safe hull of your kayak while traversing through the Everglades. There are several amazing places to stop for a break when traveling on one of our tours around Florida’s many national parks.
The Everglades National Park has activities for people who want to have more fun. You can camp or fish there.
Everglades kayaking ideas
Florida is known for its stunning natural landscapes, but nothing compares to the beauty of this wetland. Escape from reality and paddle through breathtaking views as you explore an ecosystem that spans miles.
1) Instead of going to Florida theme parks, you can do something different.
There are more theme parks in Florida than in any other state in the world. A Florida vacation is a great time to visit Everglades City, Naples, and do many outdoor activities.
2) The Everglades is a great place to go to exercise.
You can do many different things, like hiking or canoeing.
Kayaking is a good exercise for your arms. Kayakers have been as young as 2 and as old as 90. They usually take pictures of kayak trips so they don’t get too sweaty.
3) Everglades animals.
Crocodiles are not found in this area of the Everglades. Gators, on the other hand, are safe if they’re left alone.
You will see alligators and crocodiles if you go in the Everglades. Birds like the Great Blue Heron are also ordinary sights. There are also many birds with long necks and sea eagles to look out for.
4) Explore the mangroves of the Everglade.
The Everglades has the largest mangrove forest in North America. We went kayaking through them on this tour. Mangrove trees grow along tidal creeks and provide refuge for many birds and mammals.
Sometimes it is hard to paddle because of roots, but you can use branches to push through gently with your hands to make it easy. The canopy overhead provides welcome shade and an eerie sense of stillness.
5) You can do eco-friendly kayaking in Florida.
There are two types of boats: kayaks and airboats. Kayaks are silent, so they can go into Everglades National Park where airboats cannot.
There is a tour called Everglades Area Tours that has kayaking, biking, and walking tours. They’re the best for eco-tours.
Once again on safety in the Everglades
Wild animals are not pets, don’t feed them
Do not feed any wildlife of the animals that you encounter. Feeding a wild animal will eventually make it aggressive and is illegal. Animals fed by humans can begin to associate humans with food, as well as becoming aggressive themselves.
Be careful of mosquitoes
Mosquitoes are prevalent at certain times of the year. Protect yourself from being bitten and catching a mosquito-borne disease by wearing long sleeves and pants or using insect repellent.
For fewer mosquitoes, avoid the shade or walking through grassy areas. Mosquitoes are more prevalent on overcast days or at dusk or dawn, especially during the summertime.
While mosquitoes that carry Zika live in South Florida, they are more prevalent in urban areas.
Watch out for alligators and crocodiles
Visitors to the park encounter crocodilians, but they must keep a safe distance from these wild animals. Never approach or provoke a croc.
Some animals like to hiss when they are scared. You should stay away, even if it is more than 15 feet away. Alligators and crocodiles may seem still, but they are alive and can react fast.
If you touch an alligator, then you will get in trouble for that. It is also illegal to feed or harass an animal by throwing things at it.
Some plants are poisonous
Some plants in the park may be harmful to humans. Some of the most common reactions from contact with these plants are skin rashes, swelling, disfiguration, itching, and burning.
Poison Ivy is a kind of plant that grows in sunny areas. It can be either a vine or shrub. If you touch this plant, your skin will turn red and itchy from the poison ivy.
This poison ivy can grow on trees like Poisonwood, mostly in pine Rocklands and hardwood hammocks. When you touch these plants, they can cause severe problems with your breathing if you burn them.
Don’t take a pet with you
Are you traveling with your pet? Be aware that pets are not allowed on most trails in the park.
Please do not leave your pet in a car during the day because it is too hot. Wild animals might see them as prey. Keep your pet on a leash when you are around parking lots and other places where wild animals are present, like the park.
You can also keep them at home or board them somewhere for safety while you go to the park.
Watch the small children
Please supervise small children carefully when near wildlife or bodies of water. It is a dangerous place, and animals are roaming free, so exercise caution at night as well.
You need to know about the terrain of the area
Before venturing out for a hike, bike ride, or paddle in the Everglades, please familiarize yourself with all the trails.
If you are going to go on a long trail, you need to know how long it is and how long it will take. You should let someone know where you are going if you plan on being gone for a while. Ask a park ranger or volunteer in the park so that they can help if needed.
Don’t think you are stronger than you really are
Please remember that we all have different fitness levels. If you are going to do an outdoor activity, for example, hiking or biking, you need to be aware of your limitations and how they might affect someone else.
For example, if it is scorching outside and someone does not have a lot of energy, the other people will need to help them.
Last updated on June 19, 2022 by Duncan Barrett