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Rookery Bay Reserve... Paddling Overview

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. It comprises a portion of the Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail. These are mostly open waters, so wind and tides are considerations. Highlights include a few intimate mangrove tunnels and excellent birdwatching. (Detailed map and photos below.)

Rookery Bay, South FL paddling

Distance: Varies
Location: Collier County
Difficulty: Moderate
Tidal: Yes
Launch points: Isle of Capri Paddle Craft Park, end of Shell Road (See map)
Nearby points of interest: Marco Island, Naples, The Everglades

Rentals/Outfitters/Tours:

Yes... follow links below to the 2 paddling areas.

Support and Advocacy:

Friends of Rookery Bay

Rookery Bay Reserve... Comments and Photos

We visited from two launch areas - at the Shell Point Paddling Trail, and from the Isle of Capri Paddlecraft Park at Marco Island.


Shell Point Paddling Trail

At the end of Shell Island Road

Rookery Bay, Shell Point Paddling Trail

Isle of Capri Paddlecraft Park

Located on Capri Blvd. off route 951

Rookery Bay, Isle of Capri

 

About Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

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.

 

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