Kayaking Through Mangroves in Florida

I had no clue what a mangrove forest was until it looked like it was going to be part of our kayaking route for the day. Then, of course, I was extremely interested.

I’d like to believe that every shoreline in the world the ocean is met with stunning limestone cliffs like in Thailand, or with a plush white sandy beach like in Siesta Key, but that’s simply not true. A lot of shorelines in tropical and subtropical climates are met with trees and shrubs called mangroves.

A beautiful mangrove in Placida, Florida.Mangrove forests look like nothing special from far away, just shrubs with nondescript green leaves, but once you’re close enough to a forest you can see their tangle of roots gives them a distinct look, making it seem like their standing on stilts above the water.

The complex filtration system of the roots of mangrove trees gives them the unique ability to thrive in quickly changing weather patterns of Florida’s coastline. Whereas, the roots of a typical tree are not equipped to handle the daily rise and fall of the ocean tides.

a beautiful mangrove forest in Placida, Florida. The changing tides also mean that the depth of mangroves can range from being extremely shallow to much deeper depending on the time of day. Most of our kayaking trip through the mangroves in Placida, Florida was in water no deeper than 3 feet. Which makes the prospect of tipping your kayak not nearly as scary.

These unique trees and shrubs are not only gorgeous and extremely interesting for the average science nerd, but they also form the habitat for dozens and dozens of species of birds, snakes, crabs, and other critters who call the mangroves home.

A beautiful mangrove in Placida, FloridaFlorida is the only state in the US where mangrove forests are found. These shrubs and trees can only only grow in tropical and subtropical areas, and most are found within 30 degrees of the equator. 

These trees and shrubs may not seem like much, but mangroves are said to have some of the most productive and biologically complex ecosystems on the entire planet. Mangroves play such an important role to the Florida coast that the State Government has mangrove conservation efforts, and strict laws against any kind of trimming or use of pesticides around or near the plants. 

Kayaking through beautiful mangroves on Florida's Southwest coast.

Have you ever been kayaking somewhere unique?

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  • They’re so pretty, and I had no idea that Florida was the only state that mangroves grew in! I love how they’re growing and making a tunnel too!

    • It was so pretty! I kept telling my fiancé it felt like we were in the amazon jungle instead of florida!

  • Very pretty! There are several places in Puerto Rico like this (your photos remind me of there). It is so interesting to go thru the mangroves trying to spot wildlife.

    • I didn’t see any snakes or anything too scary, but I did have a little crab jump into my kayak which made me scream like a little girl. haha 🙂

  • Joanna – Me-And-My-Itchy-Feet

    We went kayaking through mangrove forest in Thailand a few months back. Your pictures immediately reminded me of that. Love it!

    • ahh, Thailand! I’m sure it was beautiful! I did a lot of things in Thailand, but never kayaked. just another reason to go back, i guess 🙂

  • This looks so pretty… I would love to do something like this! I love going anywhere where there’s a high chance of spotting animals :D. Hopefully no alligators though. 🙂

    • haha!! I’m fascinated with gators! buuuut, only from far away, haha! I’m actually taking a full day tour of Everglades National Park this coming weekend, so I’m excited to spot some gators there! 🙂

  • This looks super cool! Kayak-tipping definitely freaks me out (I’ve said no way to ocean kayaking many times), but this looks more calm and do-able (when it’s only 3 feet deep). What an interesting activity to have found, and totally unique to the area! Thanks for linking up with #TravelTuesday, and I’m looking forward to whatever you will share for the sporty adventure theme next week!

    • We ventured out into the bay in our kayaks for this trip a few times and a big boat came through and caused a huge wake, which got me soaked. that’s slightly annoying (and scary), but otherwise it’s not too bad. thanks for hosting! i’m excited for new weeks theme! 🙂

  • That is unique indeed! Gosh wow! Was there any creatures or anything you saw??

    • Not too many creatures actually! Mostly just little tiny crabs. They were completely harmless, but I couldn’t help yelping a little bit when one made its way into my kayak and starting crawling up my leg. lol. We ventured into the bay some. A lot of kayakers see dolphins or manatees there, but we didn’t spot any 🙁