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Latest update: Feb. 2017

Chokoloskee Bay at Everglades City... Paddling in The Everglades

Everglades City is gateway to the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge, and 100-mile Wilderness Waterway with many miles of paddling available from day trips to week-long expeditions. Located at the mouth of the Barron River at Chokoloskee Bay, the city of about 400 people is a throwback to Old Florida. No chain hotels or stores, just as we like it. Dubbed as the "Stone Crab Capital of the World," there are several good restaurants - serving of course stone crabs, but also some of the best grouper sandwiches we've had. (Detailed map and photos below.)

Paddle Everglades, Everglades City, kayak, canoe, Florida

Distance: varies
Location: Collier County (Everglades National Park)
Difficulty: Moderate to difficult
Tidal: Yes
Launch points: Everglades City, Chokoloskee (See map)
Nearby points of interest: Museum of the Everglades, Smallwood Store (Chokoloskee), Everglades National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve

Chokoloskee Bay at Everglades City... Comments and Photos

Due to this area facing directly onto the Gulf of Mexico, paddling is subject to changing weather conditions. The tides are strong, so checking a good tide chart is recommended. Check with the rangers at the Gulf Coast Visitor Center for information. Power boats and airboats are abundant on the Bay, so be careful.


Launches

Launch from the Gulf Coast Visitor Center in Everglades City or at Chokoloskee.

Launch at Gulf Coast Visitor Center

Launch along Smallwood Dr. causeway at Chokoloskee


Paddling on Chocoloskee Bay

Chokoloskee Bay from Halfway Creek

Chokoloskee Bay to Turner River


Everglades City

Everglades was founded in 1895 and served as the county seat of Collier County from 1923 to 1960. Extensive damage from Hurricane Donna in 1960 caused the county seat to be moved to East Naples. In 1965, Everglades became Everglades City. Several historic buildings still exist.

Everglades City

Historic Buildings

About Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge

Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge extends north to Marco Island. It includes the largest mangrove forest in North America, and many of the "islands" are actually no more than clumps of mangrove. There are no navigational markers and preparation is important, the mangrove islands can all look alike and it's easy to get lost. When padding, good navigational skills, charts, compass and GPS are important.

About Wilderness Waterway

The 100-mile Wilderness Waterway extends south from Everglades City to Flamingo. This is literally a wilderness and recommended or experienced paddlers only. There are several routes, along the beach and backcountry - plan for at least 8 days to complete this trip. There are channel markers along the way, but nautical charts, compass, and GPS are recommended to avoid getting lost. Permits are required for camping and dependent on availability. See the National Parks Service Wilderness Trip Planner for details on obtaining permits and planning your trip.

About Sandfly Island Loop

The 5-mile Sandfly Island Loop is a good mini-excursion for beginners, leaving from the Gulf Coast Visitor Center, across Chokoloskee Bay, through the mangrove islands and return. Other padding trips include Barron River, Halfway Creek, and Turner River.

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