Rising Tide offers Guided Kayak Tours of Rookery Bay | National Estuarine Research Reserve

Explore the Backwaters of Southwest Florida on a Kayak Tour with the Experts!

“Best Kayaking Tour” in USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards – 2020

We are offering guided tours and rentals. Home delivery to Marco Island and south Naples or Isles of Capri Paddlecraft Park. Tours have a 12 person capacity. If you see your desired date is not available please call (239) 530-5972. All gear is sanitized per CDC guidelines. 

Join our exclusive ecotour partner, Rising Tide Explorers, for your next Rookery Bay Kayaking Adventure! Trips are led by active local biologists, certified naturalists, and certified kayaking instructors. Paddle through calm, beautiful mangrove tunnels, teeming mudflats, and intricate oyster reefs while searching for amazing wildlife, including sea stars, large snails, birds, dolphin and manatee! These tours are perfect for the first-time paddler or pro. Proceeds support Rookery Bay Research Reserve.

FREE HD photography is included with every tour!


Kayak Rentals

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Tour Info

Explore the local waterways on your own with hourly, daily and weekly kayak rentals! Rentals include free delivery and pickup at any home, condo, or park on Marco Island and most locations in Naples. With the most comfortable equipment in Southwest Florida, speedy delivery and top-notch customer service, we can help you explore our beautiful waterways without the heavy lifting!

  • Rates:
    • 2 Hours – $35
    • 3 Hours – $40
    • 4 Hours – $50
    • 1 day – $75
    • 3 days – $100
    • 1 week – $160
    • Tandem Kayak (added price) $10

Heart of Rookery Bay Kayak Tour

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Tour Info

Depart on an adventure into some of the most quiet and tranquil parts of the Rookery Bay Research Reserve with one of our biologist guides! Here you will take a leisurely paddle through the remote mangrove bays, islands, and creeks that make the estuary one of Southwest Florida’s most valuable treasures. Tours are led by our exclusive eco-tour partner Rising Tide Explorers.

  • Duration: 2.5 – 3 hours
  • Location: Shell Island Road Boat Launch, Naples, FL
  • Rates:
    • Adult in Single Kayak – $65
    • Adult in Tandem Kayak – $65 per person
    • Children – $55

Sunset Bird Rookery Tour

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Tour Info

Head out of Shell Island Road and experience evening in the estuary with one of our biologist guides! Explore the backwaters of the Rookery Bay Reserve as the sun gets low and paddle through a winding mangrove creek until emerging into the Rookery Bay at sunset. Tours are led by our exclusive eco-tour partner Rising Tide Explorers.

  • Duration: 2.5 – 3 hours
  • Location: Shell Island Road Boat Launch, Naples, FL
  • Rates:
    • Adults: $75 per person
    • Children (ages 12 and under) $65

Mangrove Tunnels and Mudflats Tour

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Tour Info

Navigate through hidden corridors of mangrove tunnels while exploring the estuaries of Southwest Florida with one of our biologist guides! Tours are led by our exclusive eco-tour partner Rising Tide Explorers.

  • Duration: 2.5 – 3 hours
  • Location: Isle of Capri Paddlecraft Park, Naples, FL
  • Rates:
    • Adult in single kayak – $65
    • Adult in tandem kayak – $65 per person
    • Children – $55

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About Our Kayak Tours

  • Duration: 2-3 hours (hours vary depending on tour)
  • Registration required
  • Meet at launch site 30 minutes prior to scheduled start time
  • All participants must sign and hand in a waiver at the time of or before registration
  • Trip includes use of a kayak, all equipment, paddling instruction and admission to the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center
  • Weight limit: 250 pounds
  • Participants ages 16-17 are not required to have a parent or guardian present on the actual tour
  • Tours offer single or tandem kayaks and accommodate children ages 3 and up

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Cancellations & Weather Info

  • Customers will receive a full refund or credit with 48 hours notice of cancellation
  • In the event of severely inclement weather, your trip leader will contact you on the morning of the trip at the phone number you provide when registering and, you will  receive a full refund

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What to Bring

  • Wear closed-toed shoes and clothes that you do not mind getting wet
  • Bring a hat, sunglasses, sun block, bug spray and a water bottle
  • Leave all electronic equipment locked in your car as you may get wet

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I bring my camera on the kayak?

Yes, but only if you are willing to risk getting it wet. Because there are no dry storage compartments onboard, we recommend keeping all valuables locked in your vehicle, and bringing a Ziploc-type bag for your keys and anything else you need with you. HOWEVER, FREE HD photography is included with every tour and is sent to you by email following your trip.

Do I need kayaking experience to enjoy this tour?

No. General instruction is provided at the beginning of each tour to ensure the comfort level of all paddlers.

Do you have tandem kayaks?

Yes. We now have tandem kayaks available through our affiliated partners at Rising Tide Explorers. Tandem kayaks are great for children under 12 years old with an adult.

Do you rent kayaks?

Yes, there are kayak rentals available through our affiliated partners at Rising Tide Explorers. Please let them know that Rookery Bay Research Reserve referred you.

I would like to bring my own kayak – is this OK?

Our tours include all equipment and are limited to 10-12 paddlers, for the safety and quality of experience. If you would like to bring your own kayak, please call (239) 530-5972 to obtain approval from your guide and receive a discounted rate for your guided tour ($50 per paddlers).

What if I get tired, lose my paddle, or get hurt?

These tours are low-intensity and intended for peaceful enjoyment and education, not competition. Beginners are welcome! Our experienced guides are ACA kayaking instructors and always come prepared for emergencies.

What is the difficulty level?

Difficulty level is beginner and moderate upper body strength is required. Tours do not encounter any rapids or dangerous crossings. However, in some locations kayakers will need to paddle into the current.

Where can I launch my own kayak to explore the Reserve?

We do not own or manage the launch site at the Shell Island Road launch, so whoever chooses to use it does so at their own risk. There is a non-motorized vessel launch on the corner of Collier Boulevard and Capri Boulevard just north of Marco Island called the Isles of Capri Paddlecraft Park. It was developed by the Reserve and is managed by Collier County Parks & Recreation.

Why must I wear closed-toed shoes?

Water shoes are recommended because oyster shells are among the potential hazards your toes may encounter while getting in or out of the kayak at the launch site and elsewhere in the Reserve in the unlikely event you end up in the water.

Will I get wet?

Yes, usually only from your knees down.

Make a Contribution to Protect Our Backyard

Become a Friend and Save 10%

Friends of Rookery Bay Members receive a 10% discount on all kayak tours. With eight membership options, you’re certain to find the perfect opportunity to contribute to the protection and research programs of Rookery Bay Research Reserve.

Memberships start at $20 per year.

About Rising Tide Explorers

Rising Tide Explorers was founded in 2016 by a group of local biologists looking to raise the bar of the outdoor industry in Southwest Florida and share their passion for Florida’s unique ecological landscape. In 2019, Friends of Rookery Bay partnered with Rising Tide Explorers to continue providing memorable and educational adventures in Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Proceeds support education, research and conservation.

Boat Tours of Rookery Bay

We also partner with Rising Tide Explorers to offer engaging and education Boat Tours of Rookery Bay.
All Ages Group enjoying a Guided Rookery Bay Boat Tour of the National Estuarine Reserve