St. Petersburg isn’t just for the city goers – Kayakers are welcome too

Things to Do, Travel Tips — By mauriahtocco on June 22, 2010 at 12:35 am

People escape to St. Petersburg for three reasons; to catch a Ray’s game, visit famous museums or to discover amazing dive restaurants. Seldom do people vacation to St. Petersburg with hopes to paddle through crystal clear kayaking trails.

St. Petersburg has many excellent kayaking waters, ranging from beginners to advanced trails, there is something for everyone.

If you’re interested in learning how to kayak, I recommend you check out . There you’ll find foundation skills classes every Saturday morning for three hours for a low cost of $75.00. This class will help you develop the foundation strokes needed for easy, skillful kayaking in any conditions. This class is conducted in shallow, warm water off Snug Harbor.

Sweetwater Kayaks also offers one-on-one private sessions for $50.00 – there you’ll meet on the beach a few hundred yards from the shop and be greeted with a professional kayaking instructor. This class is highly recommended and will surely build your confidence as an adventure seeker kayaker.

Sweetwater Kayak was voted the best shop by Florida Sports Magazine.

With St. Petersburg’s warm waters and plentiful sunshine, kayakers can enjoy a subtropical adventure year round. There are many different trails to paddle through – here are a few more you should check out.

Fort Desota Park in St. Petersburg has some of the clearest water around. Most of the water in the park is relatively shallow and provides shelter for dolphins, manatees, wading  birds, shorebirds, snook and various other creatures.

At Fort Desota Park you can create your own path and see nature the way you’ve always wanted to. If you don’t own a kayak you may rent a variety of kayaks in the park, as well.

Egmont Key from Mullet Key – This trail is a total of 12.7 miles and starts on Mullet Key (south of St. Petersburg) and crosses Egmont Channel to Egmont Key. The channel has a tidal stream and is a shipping route for traffic traveling in and out of Tampa Bay.

Egmont Key is a National Wildlife Refuge and historic landmark, housing Civil War fort remains and a lighthouse. This trail takes about four hours and the skill level is advanced.

Lido Key in Bradenton  – is one of the islands that encloses Sarasota Bay and is a small wildlife refuge park and recreation beach. Lido Key has two attractions – Save Our Seabirds and Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. Both of these attractions are great half-way stops to take during your exploration through the kayak trail. You can see some of the same creatures living right in the area you’re kayaking through, including, sharks, barracuda, manatees, turtles and birds.

The skill level is intermediate and the duration is approximately 2.5 to 4.5 miles

Turtle Beach , located in Sarasota Beach, is what the locals call a relaxing retreat. This trail is home to sheltered nesting and a roasting haven for wading and dividing birds. The trail has long extended branches shading the pathway and extenuates the beauty of nature.

This trail is approximately 3.2 miles and takes about an hour to finish. The skill level is basic.