208 pages, B/w photos, maps
Spanning the 200-mile reach of the Florida Keys, this field guide to the island chain highlights 50 paddling adventures, many for canoeists as well as kayakers. Trips include short paddles for beginners and children, half-day trips and day-long and overnight excursions. The author provides an overview of the region's environment, describing its terrestrial and marine habitats. She covers equipment needs, safety concerns, weather patterns and adapting tide tables for specific areas. Trips are arranged geographically, beginning near Miami at the top of the Keys in Biscayne National Park and stretching 73 miles past Key West to Dry Tortugas National Park. Each profile includes directions to the launch site, estimated paddling time, kayak rental availability, a detailed itinerary and a route map. Icons mark each route's particular strengths: for example, great snorkelling, historical interest, camping and appropriate trips for canoeists and for children. Patton also directs paddlers to the best reefs, swimming holes and pristine sandbars for wildlife viewing - birds, manatees, dolphins, tropical reef fish, coral heads, sponges, sea stars and huge spotted eagle rays. Clear, concise trip descriptions and detailed maps mean the guide is suitable for paddlers of all ages and abilities who want to explore the only tropical waters in America that are accessible by car.
The definitive guide to kayaking the Florida Keys. - Jeff Klinkenberg, St. Petersburg Times "The author has gone to great lengths to provide the necessary details to make kayaking in the Keys easy." - James Bell, Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuge
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