By Heather Turk
There’s no better way to explore the beauty of Sarasota County than on one of its breathtaking kayaking trails. Kayakers are sure to discover a wealth of native flora and fauna during their trip, so be sure to bring your waterproof camera!
Here are Sunseeker’s Top 5 places to go kayaking in Sarasota County:
MYAKKA RIVER STATE PARK
One of Florida’s largest and oldest state parks, intermediate/advanced paddlers can kayak the Myakka River, which flows through 58 miles of wetlands, prairies, hammocks and pinelands. Guests will see white-tailed deer, wild turkeys and more. Park guests can also kayak Upper Myakka Lake or request access to the Myakka River Wilderness Preserve where they can kayak south to Lower Myakka Lake and Deep Hole, a 130-foot sinkhole known for its abundance of alligators.
SOUTH LIDO TRAIL
Considered one of the most diverse self-guided kayaking tours in Southwest Florida, this picturesque trail in Ted Sperling Park at South Lido Beach is home to all three types of mangroves found along Florida’s coast: red, black and white. Kayakers will discover a wide range of marine life along the trail, including hermit crabs and channeled whelk, and also large coastal birds like brown pelicans and great blue herons.
Boasting two estuarine creeks for kayakers to explore, Alligator Creek and Forked Creek, the Caspersen Trail at Caspersen Beach Park travels south along the Intracoastal Waterway. There’s also a mangrove-lined trail on the bay side of the park that offers excellent bird-watching opportunities and can be paddled in approximately an hour.
NEVILLE MARINE PRESERVE TRAIL
Located in Little Sarasota Bay, the Neville Marine Preserve Trail meanders around the 35-acre Jim Neville Marine Preserve. Great for novice paddlers, this trail has a maze of waterways where kayakers can observe a variety of birds and other wildlife.
SOUTH CREEK TRAIL
Following the coast along the barrier island of Casey Key, South Creek Trail leads kayakers into the lush vegetation of Oscar Scherer State Park. There, guests can go fishing, swimming and walk its nature trails. For more on these and other kayaking trails, visit here.