9:00 AM, 2:00 PM
4.5 hours (approx.)
Availability: this activity often sells out. Book your tickets early to avoid disappointment.
Enjoy an unforgettable morning or afternoon of sailing, kayaking and snorkeling in the pristine marine wilderness of the Key West National Wildlife Refuge.Highlights
- Voyage into the Key West Backcountry under sail on a traditional 65ft Skipjack schooner.
- Listen to a historical chart talk and learn about Key West maritime history.
- Paddle a kayak on a guided tour through the mangrove island ecosystem.
- Snorkel unspoiled waters to encounter tropical fish and exotic marine life.
- Enjoy complimentary snacks and beverages including unlimited wine and beer.
- Choose the afternoon sailing to catch the Key West sunset at sea.
Key West is surrounded by thousands of square miles of marine wilderness that comprise the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. This area includes what locals call the Backcountry – a strip of shallow water flats, tangled channels and wild mangrove islands that lies mostly along the Gulf side of the Keys and runs west out toward the Marquesas. Home to several wildlife refuges and national parks, the Backcountry is the last remaining example of wild, untouched Florida. It is also one of North America’s premiere ecotourism destinations: incredibly beautiful and teeming with an amazing variety of marine and bird life yet within easy reach of a half-day trip from Key West. Don’t miss your opportunity to explore this natural wonderland on one of our Backcountry Sail, Snorkel and Kayak Excursions.
You will cast off from historic Key West harbor for a pleasant 45-minute sail to the west where the Key West National Wildlife Refuge offers an ideal setting for a watersports adventure. The shallow, protected waters and numerous islands make it possible to find calm water and good visibility in almost any weather condition, creating an area perfect for kayaking and snorkeling. Our custom-built historical replica schooners are modeled on the traditional 19th century Skipjack, a sailing vessel designed for harvesting oysters in shallow Chesapeake Bay and later used by Key West wreckers who earned a living salvaging the many ships wrecked on the treacherous reefs and sandbars of the lower Keys. These boats can easily access the very shallow waters of the Refuge to reach deserted mangrove islands, remote sandbars and isolated patch reefs set in surroundings of almost surreal beauty.
Have no fear at all if you have never kayaked or snorkeled before. Both sports are very simple and easy to learn, and our expert guides will provide all of the friendly instruction needed. Within minutes you will be paddling along with your guide into the shade of the mangroves. The stealth and agility of the kayak will allow you to spot exotic birds, small invertebrates, tropical fish, rays, sharks, sport fish and maybe even a sea turtle. Later, put on your mask and snorkel to explore the amazing underwater world of beautiful corals, lush sponge gardens, colorful tropical fish and incredible marine life of all varieties. Snorkeling is far easier than swimming and it opens up a view that most people will see only in nature documentaries. One-on-one instruction and assistance will get first-timers off to a good start, and prescription dive masks and wetsuits are available at no extra charge.
Enjoy an exceptional eco-touring experience with captains and guides who know the waters, islands and reefs intimately. Relax in the sun and refresh yourself with cold water, sodas and snacks. When the water sports are finished, toast a successful expedition with beer and wine then savor the sail home on a graceful craft that traces her lines back to the heyday of the Key West wreckers. If you want a real treat, select the afternoon trip and on the sail back to port you can marvel at a clear-to-the-horizon view of the Key West sunset.
Don’t miss this opportunity to explore the incredible Key West National Wildlife Refuge and enjoy sailing, kayaking and snorkeling all in one tour. You will never have easier access to an eco-tour that takes you into a marine ecosystem world-renowned for its natural beauty and variety of life. Everything is included – all you need is your swimsuit, beach bag and camera. Make your booking early because the Backcountry Sail, Snorkel and Kayak Excursions are small-group tours that fill up quickly.