Paddle Florida

PADDLE FLORIDA
Over 85 Florida Paddling Destinations

PaddleFlorida
Paddle Rookery Bay, Marco Island, kayak, canoe, FloridaPaddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay, kayak, canoe, Florida

You are here > Home > South Florida > Paddle Rookery Bay Reserve-Marco Island
Reported: Dec. 2014; latest update: Dec. 2016

Rookery Bay Reserve... Paddling at Marco Island

The Rookery Bay National Estuarian Reserve is at the northern end of the 10,000 Islands on Florida's Gulf Coast at Marco Island. The Reserve is one of the few remaining undisturbed mangrove estuaries in North America, covering 110,000 acres including mangrove forest, uplands and protected waters. We visited from two launch areas - at the Shell Point Paddling Trail, and from the Isle of Capri Paddle Craft Park at Marco Island. The area includes much paddling, and comprises a portion of the Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail. (Detailed map and photos below.)



View Larger Map
Distance: Various
Location: Collier County
Difficulty: Moderate
Tidal: Yes
Launch points: Isle of Capri Paddle Craft Park, end of Shell Road (See map, left)
Kayak/Canoe Rentals: Marco Island (links, above right)
Nearby points of interest: Marco Island, Naples, The Everglades

Paddle Rookery Bay, Marco Island, kayak, canoe, FloridaPaddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay, kayak, canoe, Florida

The Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is one of three such national reserves in Florida - the most of any state in the U.S. Wildlife include 150 species of birds, manatee, dolphin and many threatened and endangered animals including Florida panther. Mangrove and upland hammock are mainly found.

The Environmental Learning Center has a 2,300-gallon aquarium, interactive exhibits about the area's natural and cultural history, an art gallery, auditorium, gift shop, classrooms and research laboratories. It also offers guided kayak and boat tours.

Paddling at Rookery Bay
(tap or hover over photo for larger view)
Shell Point Paddling Trail
We launched from the end of Shell Island Road and paddled the designated Paddling Trail developed by the Friends of Rookery Bay. 18 markers line the trail - we highly recommend following the markers as it would be very easy to get lost in the mangrove. Paddling against the incoming tide was especially challenging through some narrow channels in the mangrove.  We also spotted some dolphins. (Reported: Dec. 2016)
Paddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay, Shell Point Paddling Trail- Kayak, CanoePaddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay, Shell Point Paddling Trail - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay, Shell Point Paddling Trail- Kayak, CanoePaddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay, Shell Point Paddling Trail - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay, Shell Point Paddling Trail- Kayak, CanoePaddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay, Shell Point Paddling Trail - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay, Shell Point Paddling Trail- Kayak, CanoePaddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay, Shell Point Paddling Trail - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay, Shell Point Paddling Trail- Kayak, CanoePaddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay, Shell Point Paddling Trail - Kayak, Canoe
Launch area and parking
at end of Shell Island Road
Paddle through a lagoon to the Bay On the Bay, bear right past the boat tour dock; look for the trail markers
Paddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay, Shell Point Paddling Trail- Kayak, CanoePaddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay, Shell Point Paddling Trail - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay, Shell Point Paddling Trail- Kayak, CanoePaddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay, Shell Point Paddling Trail - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay, Shell Point Paddling Trail- Kayak, CanoePaddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay, Shell Point Paddling Trail - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay, Shell Point Paddling Trail- Kayak, CanoePaddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay, Shell Point Paddling Trail - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay, Shell Point Paddling Trail- Kayak, CanoePaddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay, Shell Point Paddling Trail - Kayak, Canoe
Toward marker 2, wide bay Trail winds through mangrove lined channels after marker 3 On the trail Through mangrove at markers
10 and 11
Paddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay, Shell Point Paddling Trail- Kayak, CanoePaddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay, Shell Point Paddling Trail - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay, Shell Point Paddling Trail- Kayak, CanoePaddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay, Shell Point Paddling Trail - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay, Shell Point Paddling Trail- Kayak, CanoePaddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay, Shell Point Paddling Trail - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay, Shell Point Paddling Trail- Kayak, CanoePaddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay, Shell Point Paddling Trail - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay, Shell Point Paddling Trail- Kayak, CanoePaddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay, Shell Point Paddling Trail - Kayak, Canoe
Through mangrove at markers
10 and 11
After marker 15, onto bigger water;
the longer distances between
markers make them harder to see
Monument Point near trail end Returning to launch
Side creek off the paddling trail
Look for the mouth of the creek between trail markers #7 and 8, this was a pleasant diversion. Narrow and mostly shaded through mangrove.
Paddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay, Shell Point Paddling Trail- Kayak, CanoePaddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay, Shell Point Paddling Trail - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay, Shell Point Paddling Trail- Kayak, CanoePaddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay, Shell Point Paddling Trail - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay, Shell Point Paddling Trail- Kayak, CanoePaddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay, Shell Point Paddling Trail - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay, Shell Point Paddling Trail- Kayak, CanoePaddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay, Shell Point Paddling Trail - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay, Shell Point Paddling Trail- Kayak, CanoePaddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay, Shell Point Paddling Trail - Kayak, Canoe
The creek started fairly wide, getting narrower and with more obstacles before petering out.
Isle of Capri/Rookery Bay National Estuarine Reserve
We launched from the Isle of Capri Paddle Craft Park at Marco Island - a great launch site developed specifically for canoes, paddleboards and kayaks. Located on Capril Blvd. off route 951, it has parking, restrooms and picnic tables. There's even a freshwater rinsing station to wash off your paddle craft. From here, we paddled the lower portion of the Reserve around Isle of Capri and the lower bays at the Reserve. (Reported: Dec. 2014)
Paddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay - Kayak, CanoePaddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay - Kayak, CanoePaddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay - Kayak, CanoePaddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay - Kayak, CanoePaddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay - Kayak, CanoePaddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay - Kayak, Canoe
Launch at Isle of Capri Paddle Craft Park Leaving the launch Bridge over 951  
Paddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay - Kayak, CanoePaddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay - Kayak, CanoePaddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay - Kayak, CanoePaddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay - Kayak, CanoePaddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay - Kayak, CanoePaddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay - Kayak, Canoe
Into the mangrove Paddleboarders
Isle of Capri Paddle Craft Park
Paddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay - Kayak, CanoePaddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay - Kayak, CanoePaddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay - Kayak, CanoePaddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay - Kayak, CanoePaddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay - Kayak, CanoePaddle Marco Island, Rookery Bay - Kayak, Canoe
Arriving back
at launch
Launch and
rinsing station
Rinsing station Parking

More information on paddling at Rookery Bay (opens in a new window):

- Florida Dept of Environmental Protection - Rookery Bay National Estuarine Aquatic Reserve
- Florida Dept of Environmental Protection - Shell Point Canoe Trail

Top of Page

Paddling in Florida - Kayak, Canoe
The Everglades - Halfway Creek

Outfitters/Rentals

Rookery Bay National Estuarian Aquatic Reserve

Kayak Marco Island

Florida Adventures
and Rentals


Support and Advocacy

Friends of Rookery Bay
 

Everglades City, Florida, weather forecast