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Southwest Florida Spring Trip: Everglades Natl Park-Naples-Ft Myers

Everglades Natl Park - Naples - Ft Myers

Skill Level: Intermediate.

Trip Difficulty: Moderate. Capable of paddling 15 miles.

Join us as Paul & Jason lead you on this fantastic paddling adventure of day-trip outings in Southwest Florida. This has been a popular destination for us and we want to include you as we continue the tradition.

We'll depart Indy on Friday April 11th and return on Saturday April 19th, the day before Easter.

Here is a great opportunity to explore a location outside of the Hoosier state...Southwest Florida, 10000 Islands of the Everglades, Ft Myers & Naples areas!

We will lodge at a private residence in Everglades City & spend each day exploring portions of the Gulf's Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail north of Naples toward Ft Myers & many protected bays near the Isles of Capri & Marco Island. You will explore the gulf, mangrove tunnels, rivers and venture out into the mangroves of 10,000 Islands of the Everglades. You will view a huge array of wildlife. If you ever dreamed of paddling SWFL, this is the most cost effective & personable way to do it. This method is much more affordable than renting boats from local liveries & hiring a tour guide. As experienced leaders, we've spent many days paddling & leading tours in the area and would like to show you one of our favorite places in the country to paddle. The only thing I can guarantee is that you will not regret the trip & will have some of your most cherished kayaking memories...

Where We Will Paddle:
The opportunities are endless, so here are a few ideas, based on the weather and the group’s desires, abilities and requests:
• Everglades Natl Park: Venture out into the 10000 Islands (Keys) and explore white sand beaches, mangroves and hike Sandfly Key Park, or paddle up the rivers and mangroves north of ENP.
• Turner River: A famous 7 mile journey where wildlife and alligators are abundant.
• Manatee Park: On the Orange River near Ft Myers, we can launch from the park and view 100s of manatees basking in the warm waters.
• Rookery Bay: Wildlife preserve and mangroves.
• Isles of Capri: Very nice & new paddlesports park/launch into mangroves & McIlvane Bay.
• Capri Fish House: Mangroves, Johnson Bay and the Gulf.
• Goodland City: Many paddles out into the northern end of the 10000 Islands.
• Cocohatchee River: Paddle up river and go out into the Gulf for surf and paddling with dolphins at Wiggins Pass. Plus, we can paddle the Barefoot Beach Trail to the Tortoise Preserve.
• Lover’s Key & Mound Key: Explore the circumference of famed Lover’s Key and visit/hike historic Mound Key, the site of the ruling chief of the Calusa Indians, the highest point in SWFL and made up of discarded sea shells.
• Sanibel Island: Ding Darling Natl Wildlife Refuge, Cayo Costa.
• Bunche Beach & Hurricane Bay: near Fort Myers.… and many, many more options …
• The Naples Zoo (non-paddling event if the weather is too bad to paddle).
If you have any additional suggestions or favorite area requests, please let me know. No matter where we go, you will see lots of wildlife; dolphins, rays, manatees, turtles, egrets, osprey, ibis, gators, and much more…

INCLUDED: We have access to a family vacation house in Everglades City, the Mecca for paddling in the Florida Everglades, and a great centralized spot to explore SWFL. I have secured this private residence for those joining us on this trip. On a first-come-first-served basis, you have the opportunity to claim a spot inside the residence, or if you would like to camp, there is plenty of room for tents or campers on the property. Available are two private rooms with queen beds, one room with a pair of twin beds, two sofas and an exterior lanai. In addition to the offered accommodations, there are many options in the area, including state park camping, a local RV park, The Ivey House motel & other smaller motels. I will forward info on additional lodging options at request.

Pricing & Booking:
The price for this trip is $750 per person. This is a great way to save on your next getaway vacation & explore an unforgettable area. In an effort to make accommodations at the house fair to everyone, we will require a trip deposit of $250 per person to reserve your spot. The balance of $500 is required prior to departure.

What The Fee Covers:
• Transportation - You, boat & gear. We will haul the FKA enclosed trailer with the 15-passenger van & you are welcome to join the ride.
• Food (partial) - We will supply breakfast & lunch of your selection. Since we are staying at one location, we will have breakfast before we depart each day and will pack our lunches for the daily trips. For dinner, we usually stop on the return trip after each day or we will dine at the house if time allows.
• Lodging - Accommodations in the house. Book now. Space is limited. Or, you can camp at the house.
• Fees - All national park, parking, launch & toll fees are included.

What the Fee DOES NOT Cover:
Optional transportation method to/from SWFL, optional dining out, souvenirs, & other unlisted personal expenses.

Trip Pre-Requisites:
SWFL paddling can be unpredictable but manageable when monitoring all weather, nature & tide conditions. With this in mind, it is important to have the skills of the basics of paddling in adverse conditions in your toolbox. Prior to the trip, we will require that you are either pre-approved by Jason with the ability to demonstrate the necessary skills, or attend a scheduled Distance Trip Skills Day that will be available prior to the trip. Please let me know if you have any questions about this. We will spend a few hours on the first day of the outing practicing skills in a nearby protected park lake before venturing out, to make everyone more comfortable.

Boats & Gear:
As with paddling in any environment, you should have a boat suitable for the conditions. We will paddle in protected areas with minimal wind & surf and will venture into areas more challenging that will require the use of a spray skirt. You will need to have at minimum a 14' touring boat, with a 16’-18' sea kayak being most ideal.  If you don't own one suited for this trip, Paul will secure a rental boat to fit your needs. A detailed list of items to bring will be provided.

Travel Logistics:
We will haul you, your boat & gear to FL. No worries, no hassle. You have the option to travel with us or arrange your own transportation to Florida. We will gladly pick you up at the airport if you would rather fly into Ft Myers or Naples.
Depart: Friday, April 11 @ 9:00am, Indianapolis.
Arrive: Saturday, April 12 @ 9:00am, Everglades City.
Days 1-5: Day-Trip Paddles in SWFL, Sun April 13-Thurs April 17.
Depart: Friday, April 18 @ 12:00pm, Everglades City.
Arrive: Saturday, April 19 @ 12:00pm, Indianapolis. (The day before Easter)

PFD: Safety is a key aspect of our trips. I expect & demand that everyone participating will wear their PFD (Personal Floatation Device). I have never heard a good excuse for not wearing your PFD & you will not try to give me one. Unless you can predict the future, you MUST wear your PFD when on the water. Off-water is optional and stylish. :-)


If you have any questions or comments, please contact Jason.

Let’s go have FUN in Sunny SWFL!

When you RSVP please answer ALL of the questions.


Participation in any IYAK – Indiana Kayakers event implies that you have read, understand and agree with our WAIVER AND RELEASE FROM LIABILITY FOR KAYAKING, CANOEING AND OTHER ACTIVITIES. Per the Electronic Records and Signatures in Commercial Act, Public Law[masked] by joining the group, you agree to the terms listed.

I  HEREBY WAIVE AND RELEASE, indemnify, hold harmless and forever discharge IYAK - Indiana Kayakers and it’s organizers, agents, employees, officers, directors, sponsors, affiliates, successors and assigns, of and from any and all claims, demands, debts, contracts, expenses, causes of action, lawsuits, damages and liabilities, of every kind and nature, whether known or unknown, in law or equity, that I ever had or may have, arising from or in any way related to my participation in any of the events or activities conducted by, on the premises of, or for the benefit of, IYAK - Indiana Kayakers, provided that this waiver of liability does not apply to any acts of gross negligence, or intentional, willful or wanton misconduct.

I understand that the activities in which I will participate are inherently dangerous and may cause serious or grievous injuries, including bodily injury, damage to personal property and/or death.  On behalf of myself, my heirs, assigns and next of kin, I waive all claims for damages, injuries and death sustained to me or my property, that I may have against the aforementioned released party to such activity.

I certify that I am physically fit to participate in any event and that I have not been told or notified differently by a Physician or qualified medical professional.

By this Waiver, I assume any risk, and take full responsibility and waive any claims of personal injury, death or damage to personal property associated with IYAK - Indiana Kayakers including but not limited to hiking, backpacking, canoeing or kayaking and/or practicing and/or engaging and competing in any races or competitions or other activities and using the premises and facilities and equipment in any manner, form or fashion.

This WAIVER AND RELEASE contains the entire agreement between the parties, and supercedes any prior written or oral agreements between them concerning the subject matter of this WAIVER AND RELEASE.  The provisions of this WAIVER AND RELEASE may be waived, altered, amended or repealed, in whole or in part, only upon the prior written consent of all parties.

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I have read, understand and fully agree to the terms of this WAIVER AND RELEASE.  I understand and confirm that by participating in any IYAK - Indiana Kayakers event I have given up considerable future legal rights. I have confirmed to this Agreement freely, voluntarily, under no duress or threat of duress, without inducement, promise or guarantee being communicated to me.  My participating in any IYAK - Indiana Kayakers event is proof of my intention to execute a complete and unconditional WAIVER AND RELEASE of all liability to the full extent of the law.  I am 18 year of age or older and mentally competent to enter into this waiver.

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  • Matt S.

    I found a red columbia shirt size large with my stuff is any body missing one

    May 7, 2014

  • Brian R.

    Here are the links to the Garmin Connect activities for our trip:
    Sandfly Key/Jewell Key:
    Estero Bay/Mound Key:
    Wiggins Pass:
    Isles of Capri:

    3 · April 28, 2014

    • Karen B.

      That is so cool!!

      2 · April 29, 2014

    • Paula F

      I feel as though I'm back there! Thanks!

      1 · April 29, 2014

  • Lisa G. Y.

    Besides experiencing interesting wildlife and being with great people, we learned so much! I learned some new paddling skills and got to try out several kayaks. We learned and practiced wet exits and assisted re-entries. We got just a taste of what it takes to plan each trip (reading, understanding and applying tide charts, currents, wind calculations, distances, gps coordinates, and more). We learned what to do when a storm approaches (tuck into the mangroves). We got to experience and learn about navigating tidal races. A big thanks to all the leaders who worked to make each trip safe and enjoyable! A personal, special thanks to Jason and Paula for helping with paddling strokes.

    1 · April 21, 2014

  • Brian R.

    Another awesome trip to SWFL. We had great weather and a great group of people. We were able to paddle some new places and some old standards that I love seeing again. This is such a great trip. I can't wait to do it again!

    3 · April 20, 2014

  • Jason B.

    Great time in hot & sunny SWFL. Was great to spend so much time on the water with old & new friends. We saw lots of water-life & wildlife. The abandoned dome house was a cool highlight.
    Thanks to everyone for making it a memorable trip.

    4 · April 20, 2014

  • Kathy T.

    What a FANTASTIC trip! Great time, weather, people and paddle. Saw turtles, tortoises, dolphins, manatees, horsecrabs, eagles, alot of little lizards, snake (a sm one LOL), starfish, lots of birds, crabs. Paddle to Dome home, the Gulf and Everglade Ntl Park. Thank you Paul and Jason for all the planning and making this an enjoyable trip.

    4 · April 20, 2014

  • Matt S.

    Great trip.

    4 · April 20, 2014

  • Paul H.

    Had a great time. We saw a lot of wildlife and paddled to some new places. Thanks to everybody who came for making this a memorable trip.

    4 · April 19, 2014

  • Kathy T.

    Thanks karen for uploading pictures. Enjoy the rest of your time in florida. Hope to see you again on a future paddle

    1 · April 18, 2014

  • Susie C.

    I hope you all have a great time...even if I am insanely jealous ! :-)

    4 · April 9, 2014

  • Jan R

    My brother recommended this medical info form for members to fill out. It can be printed and kept with you. Maybe we can add it to the documents section of the meetup page.

    April 10, 2014

  • Susie C.

    Paula, can you remind me to start buying some lottery tickets so I can go on the next trip ? Thanks , that would be awesome !

    1 · April 10, 2014

    • Paul H.

      Just put aside $2 a day and you will have enough money for next year.

      3 · April 10, 2014

    • Paula F

      Paul's advice is a much safer bet. And, Susie, when I ask to borrow that $2 for some Belgian chocolate, and you know that's feasible, just say No.

      1 · April 10, 2014

  • Paula F

    Hey, everyone. Remember that taxes will be due while we are gone... Don't forget to file before leaving!

    1 · February 12, 2014

    • Brian R.

      You still have time.

      1 · April 9, 2014

    • Margaret

      Fed refund received, state paid. I'm ready to go!

      1 · April 9, 2014

  • Kathy T.

    I guess I shouldn't tell you im getting a refund

    1 · April 9, 2014

  • Tina H.

    Soo glad Matt is going to be able to go!!! :) YAY!!!

    I will miss all of you but cant wait to hear all the stories and see the pictures!! Think of me when you pass the swimming pool and know that no matter how jealous I am Im thrilled you are all having this adventure together!!

    3 · March 30, 2014

  • Jason B.

    I just learned of a charity bike ride that will be in Everglades City on Sunday, April 13th, the day after we arrive.
    I'm game if any of you are interested. There's a 16 or 62 mile road ride and a 27 mile off-road (trail) ride.
    There are options and turn-arounds to make the ride any length you want. It's a fully supported SAG ride.
    We could start at 8am and ride till noon or so, then head out to kayak the rest of the day.
    Here's a link for all of the info, maps, etc:

    1 · March 4, 2014

  • Kathy T.

    Paul will you be at the show next Sunday? Could give you dep or should I mail when I return next week.

    February 14, 2014

  • Kathy T.

    I'll take a bed, sofa, chair, whatever - not picky. Just need to know if I should bring sleeping bag and mat if sleeping on floor :)

    February 14, 2014

  • Kathy T.

    Good thing I was reading my messages this morning or I would have missed rsvp! Cant wait.

    3 · February 13, 2014

    • Paul H.

      Yep. We already have one on the waiting list.

      1 · February 13, 2014

  • Paula F

    Woohoo!!! My kayak has informed me that it is going, with or without me... So I had better go to keep it out of trouble!

    2 · February 12, 2014

    • Paul H.

      Or you can send Louie "The Hatchet" down to keep it in line.

      1 · February 12, 2014

  • Lisa G. Y.

    Such a great trip! Jan and I will share a room.

    1 · February 12, 2014

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