Enjoy an unforgettable morning or afternoon of sailing, kayaking and snorkeling in the pristine marine wilderness of the Key West National Wildlife Refuge.
- 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.
- Reservations are REQUIRED for all bookings
- Book Your Package On-Line and Receive Your Confirmation
- Departure point: Detailed check-in instructions - including address, Google map, and parking information - will be included in your final confirmation email.
- Duration: 4.5 or 6.5 hours (approx.)
- Check-in time: Please check in 30 minutes before the activity start time.
- All Equipment and Instruction
- Reef Snorkeling
- Guided Kayak Tour
- Wetsuits in the Winter Months
- Unlimited Water and Sodas Unlimited Beer and Wine (after snorkeling)
What To Bring
- Confirmation Voucher (printed or mobile)
- Any required or suggested items listed on your confirmation email.
- A Smile!
Likely To Sell Out
Spaces are extremely limited this time of year so book early to ensure the date you want.
Voucher Confirmation Info
This tour accepts both printed and electronic vouchers (e-vouchers). You can either print the voucher and present a paper copy on the day of travel. Or, if you travel with a mobile device, simply show your Photo ID and present your voucher on your Smartphone or tablet on the day of travel.
Local Operator Information
Complete operator information, including local telephone number, will be included on your Confirmation Voucher.
You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.
- For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
- If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
- Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
- Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
- This tour requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.
Frequently Asked QuestionsFAQ
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given to customers' questions.
Will I get seasick on Key West Sail, Snorkel, Kayak with Sunset Option?
If you have any doubts about becoming seasick on the water, we recommend taking a Dramamine® Motion Sickness Relief tablet the night before your trip. Some people recommend taking it the night before your cruise and then again that morning so you will not feel so drowsy.
Where is the meeting point for this activity?
Detailed check-in instructions – including meeting point address, Google map, and parking information – for Key West Sail, Snorkel, Kayak with Sunset Option will be included in your confirmation email from Key West Water Sports. Please be sure to double and triple check your email address is correct at checkout so this important email makes its way to you!
Where can I park my car?
If required, parking instructions for the Key West Sail, Snorkel, Kayak with Sunset Option will be included in your confirmation email.
What is the weather cancellation policy?
If the Key West Sail, Snorkel, Kayak with Sunset Option must be canceled due to bad weather, and you cannot go on another day or time, you will be issued a refund by Key West Water Sports.
What is the age limit for snorkeling?
There are no legal age limits for snorkeling. We have found that age 5 or 6 is a good age to learn the basics of snorkeling, however, it’s entirely up to individuals to make the best choice for their family.
Is kayaking a safe activity?
Your safety is Key West Water Sports‘s number one concern. In general, sea kayaking is safer than most other outdoor pursuits, even bicycling.
I've never snorkeled before, will I be OK?
First-time snorkelers can be assured of one-on-one instruction and assistance. We find introducing folks to our world very rewarding!
How stable are the kayaks and do they ever tip over?
The tandem kayaks Key West Water Sports used on Key West Sail, Snorkel, Kayak with Sunset Option comfortably hold two paddlers and are extremely stable, much more than solo kayaks. It’s actually quite difficult to tip a tandem kayak over. Capsizes happen to fewer than 1 out of 100 participants. Nearly all capsizes are a result of water fights and other sorts of goofing around.
How long is each activity on the Key West Sail, Snorkel, Kayak with Sunset Option?
On Key West Sail, Snorkel, Kayak with Sunset Option guests will enjoy 45 minutes of sailing to Key West National Wildlife Refuge, a 60 minute guided kayak tour and 60 minutes of reef snorkeling.
Do you provide wetsuits?
Yes, upon request.
Do I need kayaking experience or will you teach me?
No experience is necessary! Beginners are welcome on all of our kayak tours. Most of our guests have never been in a sea kayak before. Anyone in average physical condition may join a kayak tour. If you can hike or bike, you can paddle our sea kayaks. You do not need any swimming skills either.
The only prerequisite is a healthy spirit of curiosity and adventure.
Regardless of age or skill level you will find that our expeditions offer enough flexibility to make your experience with us safe and rewarding. We will show you proper sea kayaking technique and water safety before leaving the beach. And your expert guides will be with you throughout the adventure to give you pointers and improve your skills.
Can we use our own snorkeling gear?
The snorkel gear we use on Key West Water Sports tours is high quality and for your protection, the equipment is sanitized after each use. However, if you feel more comfortable using your own snorkeling equipment, feel free to bring it on the tour. Please note, there is no discount for providing your own equipment and we can’t be responsible for any lost or damaged items.
Can I go snorkeling if I cannot swim?
Yes, this is possible, as long as you are comfortable going into the water. All Key West Water Sports snorkeling tours adhere to strict safety regulations and have been designed to be enjoyed by all.
Your safety is our #1 priority, which is why:
- You will be wearing a flotation device at all times.
- On many tours, there is a stairway from the boat into the water so you won’t have to “jump” in!
- There are trained staff in the water and watching from the boat at all times.
For these reasons, we believe that even non-swimmers can have a wonderful time on our snorkeling trips, however, the final judgment call is yours to make. Please note we do not give refunds if you decide not to snorkel on the trip.
Are there any weight restrictions for kayaking?
The maximum capacity for kayaking on Key West Sail, Snorkel, Kayak with Sunset Option is 340 lbs.
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