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Guide To Kayaking In The Miami Area

Mark Armstrong
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Being a coastal city in South Florida, it’s not surprising that there are plenty of opportunities for watersports in and around Miami.

With barrier islands, sandbars, intracoastal waterways and beautiful beaches, there’s certainly lots to explore.

But where are the best places for kayaking?

We have looked into the areas that we think are some of the best spots to kayak in Miami so you can get out there and enjoy that warm Floridian weather and paddle your way through the subtropical landscape.

Best Kayaking Destinations In Miami And BeyondPin

Best Kayak Destinations In Miami

With so many options for kayaking in Miami it can be difficult to limit it to just a couple of places. But we think the best destinations to check out – close to downtown Miami – are South Beach, the Oleta River State Park, Crandon Park and Virginia Key.

South Beach

Everyone knows South Beach is a party hotspot, with its lively bars and nightclubs and swanky restaurants but take to the water and you’ll see it from a completely different perspective, at a relaxed pace.

Kayaking around South Beach is a peaceful, eco-friendly way to see the city. Paddle around Biscayne Bay and explore the waterways between the Venetian Islands or stop off for a picnic on the uninhabited Flagler Memorial Island.

South Beach Kayak is a friendly, family run outfitters, offering sit-on-top yaks for rent for $20 for an hour and tandems for $30 (August 2017). The hourly rate is discounted for rentals over an hour. You also have the option of joining one of their guided tours at sunset!

Oleta River State Park

It’s difficult to believe you’re in the heart of the Miami metropolitan area when you’re relaxing in the wild surroundings of the Oleta River State Park, which is the largest urban park in Florida.

Situated at the north end of Biscayne Bay, you can paddle through the mangroves, head along the Oleta River, keeping your eyes peeled for manatees, or head out to the bay. The waters are calm and there are lots of water trails to check out.

The park also has camping and picnic facilities, as well as biking trails and a sandy beach. Rentals are available from BG Oleta River Outdoor Center inside the park. They have both single and tandem yaks, as well as a range of other equipment, and kayaks start at $25 for an hour and a half’s rental (August 2017).

Crandon Park

Kayak in Crandon Park - MiamiPin

There are plenty of activities on offer in Crandon Park on Key Biscayne, so it’s a great place to visit with families, as there’s a nature center, tennis center, golf course and plenty of space to relax when you’re not on the water.

You can paddle through mangroves, the calm waters of Biscayne Bay or along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. There’s even a fossilized coral reef to explore and the waters around the Key are also great for spotting a dolphin or two.

You can rent yaks at Miami Kiteboarding where an hour’s rental will cost $20 for a single sit-on-top and $25 for a double sit-on-top (August 2017). They also offer a 10 hour rental option for either a single or double yak for $160, which will let you really explore the water and beaches.

Virginia Key

This subtropical barrier island provides excellent opportunities for getting out there on the water. The sparkling waters surrounding Virginia Key offer a relaxed environment to paddle along and enjoy nature.

The Virginia Key Outdoor Center offers kayak rentals from $20 for one hour (August 2017) for a single sit-on-top yak. They also offer fishing kayaks for $25 for one hour, and have tandem yaks and paddle boards available as well.

The kayak launch site is on the shores of Jimbo’s Lagoon, where you can paddle through the manatee zone of Lamar Lake to get to the clear waters of the ocean. You can explore the Key’s subtropical coastal shores, where the waters are generally calm, and stop off at the beaches along the way.

Video: Virginia Key Outdoor Center

The Outdoor Center also has showers and air-conditioned restrooms available as well as a snack bar for food and drinks.

Are you in Miami? Have you been or thinking about going? We’d love to hear from you, especially if you have more destinations to add!

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