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The 7 Best Places to Kayak in Tampa Bay

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With all of Tampa Bay’s beaches and parks, there are plenty of areas to bring your kayaks in Tampa.  Whether you’re looking for some city vibes or a serene getaway, Tampa has the place for you.  We’ve done our research on the best places to kayak in Tampa, so you can have the best experience!  Check out our master guide below on places to bring your kayaks in Tampa!

Shell Key Preserve

Located in Pinellas County is one of the largest undeveloped barrier islands.  Shell Key Preserve holds about 1,800 acres of preserve to explore.  Since so much beach space in the area is developed with condominiums and commercial buildings, Shell Key is a hidden gem of untouched land.  

Bring your kayak or contact the experts at Get Up and Go for clear bottom kayak rental!  While making your way around the preserve, you’ll get to explore mangrove trees, sea grass, and Florida wildlife.

Open 24 Hours

📍 2187 Oceanview Dr, Tierra Verde, FL 33715

Tarpon Springs Bayou

The Tarpon Springs Bayou is a great place to kayak in Tampa, and has been recommended as great for kids!  Here you can see manatees in the lake and other Florida wildlife!  Enjoy over 2.5 miles of canoe trails through overarching mangrove trees.  Tarpon Springs Bayou offers calm waters, perfect for a late Sunday afternoon trip.

Open 24 Hours

📍 Lake Tarpon Ave, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689

Hillsborough River through Downtown Tampa

Kayaking through the Hillsborough River through Downtown Tampa is a surreal experience.  On one side you’re viewing The University of Tampa and viewing all of Tampa’s most iconic entertainment spots on the other!  

If you’re looking for a place to start, we recommend Julian B. Lane park.  Not only is it a beautiful starting point, but they also have great parking and ample pier space to jet off.  Don’t have your own kayak equipment?  Check out Urban Kai at Armature Works for kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals!

Friday-Saturday | 10AM–8PM
SundayThursday | 10AM–7PM

📍 310 W 7th Ave #5404, Tampa, FL 33602

Fort de Soto

As the largest park in Pinellas County, Fort de Soto is home to unique plant life.  Here you will see beach plants, mangroves, wetlands and other plants native to the area.  If you are into bird watching in Tampa, Fort de Soto is home to over 328 species of birds – which you can spot while kayaking on Fort de Soto’s water edge!  

This home away from home is an escape from city life for locals and tourists alike.  Definitely make Fort de Soto your next trip if you are looking for a kayaking location with a lot of greenery and wildlife.

Open 24 Hours

📍 3500 Pinellas Bayway S, St. Petersburg, FL 33715

Tarpon Springs

Kayaking near Tarpon Springs is a great idea for a weekend staycation.  This small Greek town has so much to offer.  Stop by their sea sponge docks and traditional Greek restaurants before making your way onto the water.  We recommend reserving one of Get Up and Go Kayaking’s crystal clear kayaks.  Follow their special trails to see manatees and more!

Check out Get Up and Go Kayaking’s website for reservations and scheduling.

📍 1 Bayou Blvd, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689

Longboat Key

Longboat Key is a serene vacation destination, full of great beaches and picnic areas.  Their 12 miles of white sand beaches are the perfect place to getting some time on the water.  Check out some of their kayak rental locations like the Happy Paddler!  

They offer guided tours and rentals so you can chart your own course!  Longboat Key is a great place for first-timers because of the open space and calm waters.

Open 24 Hours

📍 4134 Gulf of Mexico Dr, Longboat Key, FL 34228

Honeymoon Island

Honeymoon Island is a hideaway spot, mainly frequented by locals and residents.  This natural state park offers tourists an escape from city life.  Here you can find eagles, osprey, horned owl, and tortoises while exploring the park.  

We recommend kayaking from Honeymoon Island to Caladesi Island – not too far off their coast!  There you’ll be greeted by a marina, concession area, and picnic tables.

Sunday-Saturday | 8AM–8PM

📍 1 Causeway Blvd, Dunedin, FL 34698

Kayaks in Tampa Bay

Excited about exploring different spots to bring your kayaks in Tampa? Let us know your favorite by tagging @StuffToDoInTampaBay on Instagram and Facebook!

Jacky Saunders

Jacky Saunders

Jacky is a blogger for the Stuff to Do in Tampa Bay City Guide. For more insight on the best events and things to do in the Tampa Bay area, download the UNATION app and follow @StufftoDoinTampaBay on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and TikTok.

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