Everglades City Stone crab in a bowl

Everglades City Restaurants

Guests are always asking us where is a good place to eat after finishing up one of our kayak or boat tours. Below you will find our favorite places to eat in Everglades City and the Port of the Islands. These restaurants are all close by and all offer a unique atmosphere. The Angler’s Cove is located inside the Port of the Islands Hotel only steps from where our tour ends.

Google Maps Directions Below

1. Cook your Catch – Anglers Cove

First I have to start with our very own Anglers cove restaurant, located inside the Everglades Adventure Resort hotel here at the Port of the Islands.  Yes, I admit it’s technically not in Everglades City, but it’s within steps of our launch site. Anglers Cove is open from 12:00 -11:00 pm Wednesday – Sunday with the kitchen closing at 9:00 pm.  Anglers Cove is our local bar and restaurant owned and operated by Port the Islands residents Joyce and Skip Brownlee.  They have a full menu and you can bring your own catch to have them cook it for you!  As guides, we get the question regularly, “What is the best fish to eat in the area?”  Our answer to that is always FRESH.  There are so many good-eating fish in the area that the freshness makes that big of a difference.  So get out catch your own and bring in your catch to have the chef cook it up to your preference.  If you want something unique you need to go for the shrimp scampi pizza, a must-have for any of our visitors. In our opinion, the Shrimp Scampi Pizza is the best pizza in the Everglades!   Regardless of what you get their customer service is top-notch and the food will reflect that.

You can't beat fresh caught fish cooked by one of the top restaurants in Everglades City

Captain Logan Hannon

2. Fresh Caught Blackened Fish Tacos – Camellia Street Grill

A lot of our guests like to take the time to explore the area after making the drive into the Everglades.  If that is going to be your case we recommend Camellia Street Grill in Everglades City.  Camellia street grill has not only some of the best food in the area but also one of the best views.  Located directly on the Barron river you are able to enjoy your dining experience inside or out on the boat docks of the river.  If you are lucky your wildlife encounters may even continue at lunch.  Dolphins, manatees, alligators, and endless wading birds frequent the river bank directly across from the restaurant.  All in all Camelia street grill is a favorite for locals and tourists alike.  Try the blackened fish tacos for a taste of Everglades City locally caught fresh fish.

Blackened grouper tacos on a plate next to salsa and lime

Cilantro and onion with a side of salsa!

3. Authentic Cuban Food on Chokoloskee Island

Hands down some of the best food you have ever tried is going to be the Havana Cafe located on Chokoloskee.  Chokoloskee is a small island located just through everglades city.  This is one of the only two islands still inhabited today in the ten thousand islands.  At Havana cafe, you are going to be dining in some authentic Cuban food.  Every single item on the menu is unbelievably delicious.  If you like a Cuban sandwich  Carlos’s will not disappoint.  Havana is also another restaurant where you can bring in your fresh catch to have cooked for you.  If you are able to make it in for breakfast and coffee you will not regret it. Havana Cafe is open 9 am – 4 pm daily but is only operational during our stone crab season.  So Oct-May is the only time you will be able to get a piece of this diamond in the glades!

Stone crab claws sustainably caught in Everglades City, FL

stone crab claws in a bowl

Stone crabs are harvested sustainably, by only harvesting one claw per crab. Fisherman will break one claw off then throw back the crab. They will then regenerate their claw by next season.

4. Everglades City Stone Crab- Grimm’s Stone crab

Everglades City is known as the Stone Crab capital of the world.  Stone crab season runs from October 15- to May 15.  If your tour lines up in that time frame, swinging by Grimm’s Stone crab should be on your to-do list.  This is going to be the most effective way to sink your teeth into some of the most delicious meat you can imagine.  Getting your stone crab directly from the supplier ensures you are getting the freshest caught stone crabs as well as getting the best prices.  I would recommend ordering medium or large-size claws.  They are by far the most tender size in the group and have the best price compared to the much larger jumbo and colossal claws.  Everglades city has the largest stone crab fleet in the US and is the main economic force in the town.  When you do order stone crab, they will be served cold.  When a crabber catches a stone crab they break the claws off and release the crab so it is able to rejuvenate its claws to ensure a healthy and sustainable commercial fishery.  When the claws arrive at the fish house they are boiled right off the boat and packed on ice to ensure the freshest claws when they make it to your plate.  Don’t be afraid to pay the extra few dollars to have your claws cracked when you purchase.  The hardest part about eating crab is just getting to the meat and stone crabs are no exception.

5. Locals favorite Everglades City Restaurant – Island Cafe

If you are looking for the main spot that the locals go to in Everglades, Island Cafe is your spot.  This place is affordable and quick!  Once you arrive you will usually seat yourself amongst the fishing guides, airboat captains, and other tour operators as they wind down from a long day in the heat with some home-cooked food.  Everglades City prides itself on being locally owned and operated going back sometimes even as much as seven generations.  Island Cafe is also a spot where you can catch an early morning breakfast before you hit the water.  If there is such a thing as the best plain cheeseburger, (I know that sounds weird and almost like a dig) they have it, and is one of the most popular sandwiches ordered by said locals.

6. Everglades City Best Fried Shrimp – City Seafood

Growing up in South Carolina means I grew up on fried shrimp. So, naturally, when I go to any seafood restaurant I always gauge their authenticity by their fried shrimp. If it’s store-bought and frozen stay away! If it’s lightly breaded and not uniform then you know it’s hand-breaded and fresh caught. City Seafood in Everglades city is just that. This place has a great atmosphere and is right on the water.

Fried shrimp with beers and fishing boats in the background

7. Everglades most historical Restaurant – The Rod and Gun Club

The Rod and Gun club is just plain cool and it’s one of my favorite places to grab a quick drink. When you first arrive you will notice a sign on the front door stating “this is not a museum”. Meaning you need to buy a beer or coke if you want to walk around the place and act like you are in a museum. I’m telling you the price of the beer is worth it. My dad and I have spent many times here sitting in the super old school leather chairs while admiring the 100-year-old fish mounts and museum-type paintings. At any moment you might get the feeling Teddy Rosevelt is going to show up with his catch or kill of the day. In fact, according to the Rod and Gun club’s own website Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, and Nixon all stayed there! That is a pretty crazy fact knowing how small Everglades City actually is.


everglades birds

Guests are always asking us where is a good place to eat after finishing up one of our kayak or boat tours. Below you will find our favorite places to eat in Everglades City and the Port of the Islands. These restaurants are all close by and all offer a unique atmosphere.

1. Cook your Catch – Anglers Cove

First I have to start with our very own Anglers cove restaurant, located inside the Everglades Adventure Resort hotel here at the Port of the Islands.  Yes, I admit it’s technically not in Everglades City, but it’s within steps of our launch site. Anglers Cove is open from 12-11 pm Wednesday – Sunday with the kitchen closing at 9 pm.  Anglers Cove is our local bar and restaurant owned and operated by port the islands own Joyce and Skip Brownlee.  They have a full menu and you can bring you own catch to have them cook for you!  As guides we get the question regularly, “What is the best fish to eat in the area?”  Our answer to that is always FRESH.  There are so many good-eating fish in the area that the freshness makes that big of a difference.  So get out catch your own and bring in your catch to have the chef cook it up to your preference.  If you want something unique you need to go for the shrimp scampi pizza, a must-have for any of our visitors.  Regardless of what you get their customer service is top-notch and the food will reflect that.

You can't beat fresh caught fish cooked by one of the top restaurants in Everglades City

Captain Logan Hannon

2. Fresh Caught Blackened Fish Tacos – Camelia Street Grill

A lot of our guests like to take the time to explore the area after making the drive into the everglades.  If that is going to be your case we recommend Camelia Street Grill in Everglades  city.  Camellia street grill has not only some of the best food in the area, but also one of the best views.  Located directly on the Barron river you are able to enjoy your dinning experience inside or out right on the boat docks of the river.  If you are lucky your wildlife encounters may even continue at lunch.  Dolphins, manatees, alligators and endless wading birds frequent the river bank directly across from the restaurant.  All in all Camelia street grill is a favorite for locals and tourists alike.  Try the blackened fish tacos for a taste of locally caught fresh fish.

Cilantro and onion with a side of salsa!

3. Authentic Cuban Food on Chokoloskee Island

Hands down some of the best food you have ever tried is going to be the Havana Cafe located on Chokoloskee.  Chokoloskee is a small island located just through everglades city.  This is one of the only two islands still inhabited today in the ten thousand islands.  At Havana cafe you are going to be dining in some authentic cuban food.  Every single item on the menu is unbelievably delicious.  If you like a cuban sandwich  Carlos’s will not disappoint.  Havana is also another restaurant that you can bring in your fresh catch to have cooked for you.  If you are able to make it in for the breakfast and coffee you will not regret it. Havana cafe is open 9am – 4pm daily but is only operational during our stone crab season.  So Oct-May is the only time you will be able to get a piece of this diamond in the glades!

Stone crab claws sustainably caught in Everglades City, FL

stone crab claws in a bowl

Stone crabs are harvested sustainably, by only harvesting one claw per crab. Fisherman will break one claw off then throw back the crab. They will then regenerate their claw by next season.

4. Everglades City Stone Crab- Grimm’s Stone crab

While in everglades city stone crab is a must.  Stone crab season runs from October 15- May 15.  If you tour lines up in that time frame, swinging by Grimm’s Stone crab should be on your to do list.  This is going to be the most effective way to sink your teeth into some of the most delicious meat you can imagine.  Getting your stone crab directly from the supplier ensures you are getting the freshest caught stone crabs as well as getting the best prices.  I would recommend ordering medium or large size claws.  They are by far the most tender tasting and have the best price compared to the much larger jumbo and colossal claws.  Everglades city has the largest stone crab fleet in the US, and is the main economic force in the town.  When you do order stone crab, they will be served cold.  When a crabber catches a stone crab they break the claws off and release the crab so it is able to rejuvenate it’s claws to ensure a healthy and sustainable commercial fishery.  When the claws arrive at the fish house they are boiled right off the boat an packed on ice to ensure the most fresh claws when they make it to your plate.  Don’t be afraid to pay the extra few dollars to have your claws cracked when you purchase.  The hardest part of most crabs is just getting to the meat and stone crabs are no exception.

5. Locals favorite Everglades City Restaurant – Island Cafe

If you are looking for the main spot that the locals go in everglades, Island cafe is your spot.  The views aren’t special, the menu is pretty normal but it is going to be the most affordable and some of the best food you can find in everglades city.  Once you arrive you will usually seat yourself amongst the fishing guides, airboat captains and other tour operators as they wind down from a long day in the heat with some home cooked food.  Everglades city prides itself on being locally owned and operated going back sometimes even as much as seven generations.  Island cafe is also a spot were you can catch an early morning breakfast before you hit the water.  If there is such a thing as the best plain cheeseburger, (I know that sounds weird and almost like a dig) they have it and is one of the most popular sandwiches ordered by said locals.

6. Everglades City Best Fried Shrimp – City Seafood

Growing up in South Carolina means I grew up on fried shrimp. So, naturally, when I go to any seafood restaurant I always gauge their authenticity by their fried shrimp. If it’s store-bought and frozen stay away! If it’s lightly breaded and not uniform then you know it’s hand-breaded and freshly caught. City Seafood in Everglades city is just that. This place has a great atmosphere and is right on the water.

Fried shrimp with beers and fishing boats in the background

7. Everglades most historical Restaurant – The Rod and Gun Club

The Rod and Gun club is just plain cool and it’s one of my favorite places to grab a quick drink. When you first arrive you will notice a sign on the front door stating “this is not a museum”. Meaning you need to buy a beer if you want to walk around the place and act like you are in a museum. I’m telling you the price of the beer is worth it. My dad and I have spent many times here sitting in the super old school leaver chairs, while admiring the 100 year old fish mounts and museum type paintings. At any moment you might get the feeling Teddy Rosevelt is going to show up with his catch or kill of the day. In fact according to the Rod and Gun club’s own website Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower and Nixon all stayed there! That is a pretty crazy fact knowing how small Everglades City actually is.


Dillon Reservoir Launch Sites

Dillon Reservoir Launch Sites

Construction at the Frisco Bay Marina is expected to go on until June 1st. ?As a result, it made sense to write the first blog post on the different access locations for kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) on Dillon Reservoir. There are two towns that sit on Dillon Reservoir. ?Frisco is our favorite, but Dillon is great too. These two marinas are the only two launch sites that provide ANS checks. Therefore, if visitors plan to use a trailer or launch a motorboat, they must launch from these marinas. ?ANS stands for Aquatic Nuisance Species and boats and trailers must be checked for these species. ?Here are the 5 best areas to launch your kayak or stand-up paddleboard on Lake Dillon. Remember, hand launching only if you are not launching at Dillon or Frisco. ?Please remember before leaving any body of water, drain all remaining water left in your watercraft and be sure not to transport any aquatic hitchhikers!

DILLON DAM RD KAYAK AND SUP LAUNCH

This is my second favorite and the closest site to Frisco for kayaking and paddleboarding. There are multiple areas off of Dillon Dam road, where you can walk down, but in my opinion, the best option is the day use area about .5 miles from highway 9 in Frisco. This launch site provides kayakers and paddle boarders access to Giberson Bay within minutes of kayaking. Giberson Bay is full of smaller islands and is fairly shallow, providing you safe kayaking on Dillon. You can also access the larger part of Lake Dillon from Dillon Dam road if you follow the north shore and kayak between Sentinel Island and Heaton Bay Campground. Heaton Bay Campground is a Forest Service campground with great access to the water. If you camp here you can leave your kayak or paddleboard near the water’s edge and from certain campsites launch directly from your site.

SNAKE RIVER INLET KAYAK AND SUP LAUNCH

The second launch site for a kayak or SUP is from the Snake River Inlet. This is a unique part of Dillon Reservoir and probably the least used of all kayak and paddleboard launch sites. The Snake River Inlet is located south of the Town of Dillon about half way between Dillon and the Keystone Ski resort. The Snake River inlet is a long, narrow small canyon carved out by the Snake River over 1,000s of years. ?Wind will typically blow from the west straight towards the launch site.?However, if you launch your kayak or SUP early and are off the water by 11 am you should be ok or run a shuttle with your companion and kayak from the Snake River to say the Blue River arm.

BLUE RIVER INLET KAYAK AND SUP LAUNCH

The Blue River arm is the third access point on Dillon Reservoir and is sandwiched between Breckenridge and Frisco. This is another lesser used spot on Dillon and offers for a ton of shoreline access connected to the Frisco Recreation peninsula and some cool steep shoreline on the Swan Mountain side. There is one island located on this stretch called Silver Dollar Island and is a great spot to land your kayak or paddle board and have lunch or take a break.

DILLON MARINA KAYAK AND SUP LAUNCH

The fourth launch site for your kayak or SUP on Dillon reservoir would be out of the Dillon Marina. If you plan on launching your kayak or SUP early the Dillon Marina is a great option. Remember this is only one of two launch sites where power boats can access Dillon Reservoir. When launching from the Dillon Marina you are immediately on the largest part of Dillon but during the morning hours, this area provides you with an amazing kayaking experience. However, please remember, the Dillon Marina is located on the east side of Dillon reservoir which will give you a ton of fetch (open water) during windy days in the afternoon.

FRISCO BAY MARINA KAYAK AND SUP LAUNCH

The fifth and my favorite launch site on Dillon Reservoir is the Frisco Bay Marina. Initially, you?ll encounter some boat traffic and crowds. However, from here you can kayak north into Giberson Bay or paddleboard east following the Frisco Recreation peninsula. This is where we start all of our kayak tours. Usually, we follow the Frisco Recreation Peninsula out to Sentinel Island. From Sentinel, we then kayak back through Giberson Bay crisscrossing through the 10 to 15 islands. Once through the islands, we are back just in time for lunch at the Island Grill.

Hopefully, this article was helpful. If you plan on kayaking or paddle boarding on Dillon Reservoir, don?t hesitate to give us a call. ?We are here for questions or you can book a tour! After that, you?ll learn about all of our little secret spots that only kayaks and paddle boards can reach!


Is it safe to Kayak with Alligators

It makes total sense that our customers would be afraid of these normally docile animals. They have teeth, they are mean-looking, and they look very similar to the well-known saltwater crocodiles in Australia and Africa. This article isn’t designed to convince you to kayak with alligators, although we would love to take you out. It is designed more to educate the general public if they plan to kayak with alligators. If you are interested in one of our kayak tours please don’t hesitate to book one today!

When comparing the American alligator to the Nile Crocodile, the most important difference is what they eat. We have all seen those crazy videos of wildebeest crossing the crocodile-infested rivers in Africa. With that said, Nile Crocodiles regularly eat animals that are twice as large as a full-grown adult human. Now, let’s consider what the American Aligator eats. Typically, an adult alligator will prey on fish, snakes, turtles, small mammals, and birds. Ok, you might notice the word small mammal. The most abundant small mammal that an alligator eats in our location would be a raccoon, not a zebra.

So what is my point?

  • My point is an alligator does not see a human as a food source, with one critical and super frustrating exception, and that is if an alligator is being fed by humans. If this starts to happen, then the answer is yes, alligators can be dangerous to kayakers. This is why it is so important not to ever feed an alligator!

Who feeds a wild Alligator? The most common instance in our area is a fisherman. Fisherman will often clean their catch of the day at the local boat ramp, then throw the waste in the water. If an alligator starts to associate people with a meal, then at that point, they can become dangerous. However, you still need to remember an Alligator does not see you as prey, but they can associate you with a meal.

What do you do when kayaking with alligators?

Alligators are considered docile and, for the most part, don’t want to have anything to do with you. We often kayak with alligators, and sometimes we must pass them while they are sunning themselves on a beach or sandbar. We try our best not to disturb them and have found the best way to keep them from entering the water is to not point your kayak directly at them and to utilize a smooth calm stroke. An erratic or fast-moving paddle seems to freak gators out. Following these suggestions, we will sometimes pass by a 10 footer within 10 yards, but

  • if you point right at it, he might enter the water when you’re not even 30 yards away.

Alligators are lazy

They want to eat, reproduce and maintain the proper body temperature. Unlike people, alligators are cold-blooded, meaning they are not able to regulate their own body temperature. If an alligator can’t internally regulate their body temp then how do they do it? It’s simple when a sandbar is warmer than the water, gators will exit and bask in the sun. If the water temps are warmer than the air temp, they will simply float in the water. This is often the case overnight and early mornings when the air temp is still a bit chilly. So, if you find an alligator sunning itself out of the water, it is out of necessity, and I promise you he or she would prefer to be in the water if not for the temperature.

You know that phrase fish out of water? Well, you could easily say alligator out of water too, except an alligator can still breathe just fine. So, if you see an alligator on a sandbar, try not to point directly at it and pass them with the broadside of your kayak facing them. Sometimes there is so little room in a creek or waterway that we will inevitably push the gator into the water. Not a big deal if it happens. Just keep kayaking and stay alert. 

What happens if you are kayaking and you see an alligator in the water? 

Most often, nothing. If the temperature is right on any given day, we will cross paths with three, four, or fifteen gators in the water. You will see about a foot or two of their head, or the telltale eyes and nose only. If we see this, we simple kayak on by. Again, try not to point directly at them, and as you start to get closer and closer, you will typically begin to see a subtle and controlled sink, then he disappears. Most often, that gator is only inches below the surface.  Out of habit, I try not to kayak directly over the gator’s last location. If you encounter an alligator while kayaking and they are perfectly still, they aren’t making any weird movements or noises, and they seem comfortable this is what I tell my customers.

“this is super important, listen up. If you see an alligator, I need you to do this exactly as I say. Slowly unzip your life jacket pocket, pull out your camera, and take a picture.” 

That is it! Please, understand though, I’m not suggesting you paddle at an alligator, nor am I suggesting you take an alligator selfy from 5 feet away.

  • The point here is that in general alligators truly are more afraid of you than you are of them. This is why they will often quickly enter the water when you approach them. 

Is it safe to kayak during alligator mating season?

You may have noticed I said if you kayak with alligators and they aren’t moving or making noise, you are safe. This is where we start to get into the scenarios when kayaking with alligators could be dangerous. Let me rephrase that, these are the scenarios when you should take extra precautions when kayaking with alligators and when you should pay closer attention to their body language and your surroundings. All of our guides are comfortable in gator territory. If we weren’t, we would be kayaking in Maine. With that said, we all have a healthy respect for them. After all, they are capable of seriously injuring you or even killing you. 

Alligators love hot weather

I mentioned earlier that alligators are lazy and often look like statues; however, there are times during the year when gators start to move. The trigger for us is as reliable as my Toyota tundra.

  • On the very first 90-degree day in the winter or spring, alligators will immediately change from frozen statues to remote-controlled boats zooming around the pond.

On this 90-degree day, you have entered alligator mating season. It might not be full-on mating season just yet, but at this time, gators are on the move, they are sizing up their neighbors, and they are looking for the prime waters throughout the glades. Two weeks before the 90-degree day, you might have seen 4 or 5 gators sharing a small beach or sandbar, but now things have changed. Gators are now more solitary and territorial. They don’t want to share the beach with anyone, and the largest alligators will start to defend their small pond or sunny patch of beach. This is now when you need to start paying close attention to the alligator’s body language. Sometimes while launching or gearing up for your paddle, you will notice one, two, or three gators on the move.

Alligator body language

Witnessing multiple alligators swimming through a pond should signal to you, it’s time to pay attention. Often during this season, you will hear that deep bellow, or you will see and hear super loud splashes around a corner. That very easily could be an alligator fight. Encountering two gators in fight mode is an exciting experience to witness but also potentially dangerous. Think two sheep ramming each other. If you jump right in the middle of that sheep battle, those sheep might very well start charging you. They obviously don’t want to eat you. They just want to fight you. The same thing can happen in gator territory. If you witness two gators fighting, one could very easily see you as the next competitor after winning his first fight.

  • Remember, he isn’t’ trying to eat you; he is trying to fight you, almost as dangerous. If this happens, you should paddle away from the agitated gator.

What does an agitated gator look or act like?

  • Puffing up and down – you will notice the belly getting larger and the back will raise up out of the water
  • Clapping or snapping of the jaws
  • Alligator swimming towards you
  • Sinking and reappearing while getting closer or not moving away from you
  • Bellowing – the bellow is one of the coolest things I’ve witnessed in nature, and you will hear and hopefully see it during matting season

You will often see them puff up and down while floating on the water, or you will see their mouths snapping. You could even have one swim directly at you.

  • If the gator swims directly at you, you should line the kayak to point directly at him, then back paddle. Earlier I mentioned not to point your kayak at the gator, but if you are trying to scare him off or make him back down you do want to point at him. 

This will keep your eyes on the gator and put the kayak in the position they don’t like. When you witness these types of behaviors, you need to stay cautious and aware. Even if they swim at you, they are hopefully false charging. I have experienced some charges in years past, but the gator will usually swim towards you, suddenly change direction, and dive, making a huge splash. Yes, it is intimidating, but if you know how to react, you can stay safe. 

Will Alligators attack a kayak?

Quick answer yes, the better answer is most likely no. With all of the above information, we now better understand why an alligator might attack a kayaker. Now that we know alligators don’t see us as food but might associate us with being fed, we understand we might want to be more cautious when kayaking with alligators at public boat ramps or docks. 

We also understand that alligators, like people, can be moody. If I notice a dude pacing back and forth erratically on the corner of the street, I’m probably going to cross the street. Maybe go a different direction. If I see someone roaring and pounding his chest, like he just finished a cage fight, I’m probably not going to and ask him for directions.

  • Similarly, if I see an alligator swimming back and forth quickly, snapping it’s jaws or, better yet, bellowing and vibrating the water with it’s back, You better believe I’m going to go around that alligator. He has communicated through his body language not to mess with him.  

Nesting Female alligators

This is another potentially dangerous alligator scenario. Female alligators are great mothers, and they will defend their nest and young. If you see a weird elevated mound in the middle of a pond, you could and probably should consider that to be an alligator nest if a gator is nearby. I would stay away from it.  At least until you know for sure it is not someone’s home. A mother alligator might quickly chase you out of that area. On the other side of that, I have encountered mother gators in heavily used kayak trails like the Turner River in Big Cypress. For the most part, that mother is very used to seeing kayakers and seems to ignore them altogether. With that said, I still pay close attention when approaching that area. 

Kayak Fishing with Alligators

I know this has been a long article, but I wanted to make sure I covered everything I have learned about kayaking with alligators.  After all, this is a pretty serious subject. My first regular encounters with alligators started the summer after my junior year in college. At this time, I had already changed my career goals from being a specialized veterinarian to becoming a wildlife biologist. To graduate with a Fisheries and Wildlife degree from NCSU, we had to spend half of a summer enrolled in a 6-week “summer camp.” This was more like summer school than camp. Anyway, this meant I could not spend my final summer in college as a kayak guide in Maine, like the previous two. 

So, what was the second-best thing I could do? Get an internship that provided employee housing on a Carolina Bay in eastern North Carolina. There I lived with my black lab and got off of work every day at 3 pm. Where am I going with this? Basically, every day at 3’oclock, I would hop in the canoe and fish for bass and bream. For those of you not from the south, a bream is a “sunfish”. This was on private water, so there were tons of massive bream. So big I could barely hold them with one hand.

How to Land Fish in Alligator waters

Hooking and landing these big fish, I started to encounter a problem. The alligators would begin to show up as soon as I began catching fish. Reeling the fish in too fast would make too much noise. I had to change my tactics on landing them. Basically, the gators were attracted to the commotion on the top of the water. If they saw the opportunity, they would swim out and steal my fish. I realized I had to start reeling in the fish slower. I had to keep my rod tip pointed closer to the water but still allow for play so I wouldn’t break them off. Bringing the fish in slower didn’t make as much commotion on the top of the water, and often, the gators didn’t know I was landing fish. The key here is to keep the fish as quiet as possible when reeling them in.

However, the gators still knew I was there, and I did need to keep an eye out for them. I had to change up how I released or revived any fish. Rarely would I pose for pictures with my hands halfway in the water, and I definitely wasn’t reviving them with my hands in the water. I was releasing them as quickly as possible, making sure no alligators were hiding out below the surface of the water, ready to snatch my catch or my hand.  

Join us on a Guided Kayak Tour

Lastly, we provide guided kayak tours through the 10,000 Islands National Wildlife Refuge and the Fakahatchee State Preserve just south of Naples and Marco Island.  We encounter numerous alligators on a daily basis. Our guides have witnessed agitated alligators, and on occasion, we have surprised them. Our kayaks are designed for this specific area, are unbelievably stable, and have higher gunnels than a typical sea kayak. All participants are required to wear properly fitting life jackets. We provide them with alligator safety information before entering the water. If you combine proper preparation with the right gear and knowledge, it can be safe to kayak with alligators. 

If you have something to add to this article, have questions or want to join us and kayak with alligators, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Feel free to check us out on Instagram or Facebook, where we are regularly posting photos and videos of our kayak experiences in South Florida and Colorado. 


Naples Florida COVID-19 Precautions

Florida COVID GUIDELINES

Adventure Paddle Tours is committed to keeping staff and guests safe during these challenging times. Please, read through what precautions, requirements, and protocols we have implemented to keep our staff and guests as safe as possible. In addition, we implore you to CONTACT US if you or your family have additional requirements or requests to ensure your complete satisfaction and confidence in us in keeping you, your family, and our staff safe. 

It is understood that outdoor activities pose a lesser risk of COVID-19 infection. Please read the following article from the Mayo Clinic for more information on outdoor activities. Even with the decreased chance of COVID-19 infection outdoors we are still utilizing the following practices. More helpful information on COVID-19 can be found on the CDC Website. 

Social Distancing:

Since day one, our Florida kayak tours have been capped at eight guests unless a larger private party has booked. 

Capacities:

Kayak Tours - Maximum of 8, with the option for a private tour for a flat $100 fee

Boat Tours - All boat tours are private, Your family and our captain. Our tour boat is designed to keep passengers at the bow (front) while your captain operates the boat from the stern (back).

 Distancing in the Field:

Throughout the process, from booking to our introduction and while on tour, our guides will remind guests of the recommended 6-foot distancing. Our kayak paddles are great reminder tools. Extend your paddle the full length, and that is the minimum suggested spacing. Guests are always encouraged to spread out just enough to stay in earshot but close enough to spot things their guide might find. 

Passenger Van Shuttle:

Our Manatees and Mangroves Tour is the only route that utilizes a passenger van. The travel time from the meeting location to the put-in is 4 miles or 7 minutes. Separate households or reservations are shuttled separately. Please, understand to utilize this additional safety measure, GUESTS MUST ARRIVE EARLY.

Sanitizing & Disinfecting:

Equipment: 

Paddles - Paddles are cleaned with FDA approved disinfecting solution before and after every use. 

PFDs - PFDs (life jackets) are rotated between tours, allowing for 24 hours of sun exposure between each use. Each jacket is sprayed with an FDA approved disinfectant and left in full sunlight.

Passenger Van - High use areas (seat belts, seats, and armrests are cleaned thoroughly between uses. We require windows to be fully open during use. 

Face masks:

Face masks are required while riding in our passenger van and during any interactions where the required 6-foot distancing is unlikely. We kindly ask all customers to respect OUR right as a small business to enforce OUR chosen implemented safety policies. If you are not willing to wear a mask while utilizing our services, you have the right to support any other business, and we will happily offer recommendations to some of our competitors with whom we have an excellent working relationship. 

Face masks and ADA compliance: 

“The ADA does not provide a blanket exemption to people with disabilities from complying with legitimate safety requirements necessary for safe operations,” 

the Department of Justice Department. 

Lastly, for the most part, a face mask is only required while riding in our van. The Fakahatchee Wilderness Tour, The Rookery Bay Tours, and our Boat Tours do not utilize the van. In addition, we can operate a variation of our Manatees and Mangroves Tour without using the van. However, the addition of the passenger van does remove difficult variables such as tide and wind. During our first year of running the Manatees and Mangroves Tour, we did not utilize a van. Feel free to CONTACT US if you still have concerns with our COVID-19 decisions. We will not mix politics and business, but if anyone knows me, they will know I always wear my life jacket when kayaking, my seat belt when driving, my helmet when mountain biking and skiing, and I only drive at max nine mph over the speed limit. 

Customer Screening:

Guests are kindly asked to cancel their tour with a full refund if they have experienced any of these symptoms:

Fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, the recent loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. 

If you answer yes to any of the following questions, we kindly ask you to cancel with a full refund. 

Within the past 14 days, have you had contact with anyone that you know had COVID-19 or COVID-like symptoms? Contact is being 6 feet (2 meters) or closer for more than 15 minutes with a person, or having direct contact with fluids from a person with COVID-19 (for example, being coughed or sneezed on).

Have you had a positive COVID-19 test for active virus in the past ten days?

Within the past 14 days, has a public health or medical professional told you to self-monitor, self-isolate, or self-quarantine because of concerns about COVID-19 infection?

Employee Screening:

Adventure Paddle Tours is a very small operation. There are three of us working at the Naples location, and we are all following the above guidelines and screening questions. We are offering paid time off if employees must miss work due to COVID-19


Port of the Islands, A perfect area for a Boat Tour

Boat Tours in Naples Florida

Running boat tours into the Ten Thousand Islands has become one of my favorite things in the world to do. Not only do I have the luxury of spending my day in a pristine, raw environment, but I get to show and teach people at the same time. Starting out of the Port of the Islands Marina, we make our way through the 1.5-mile manatee sanctuary. During this idle to the islands, we can find countless bird species, search for the elusive west indies manatee, and take our time to talk about some of the history and wildlife this area has to offer. Starting our boat tour in this brackish water paradise allows us to find animal species that we may not typically find throughout the outer islands, where the water is much saltier. One animal, in particular, being the American alligator. Alligators are a freshwater species that can tolerate certain salinity levels for limited periods, making the Fakaunion Canal a perfect area for the alligator to call home. Just north of the bridge and among the ponds throughout the Port of the Islands, they have consistent year-round access to freshwater, which is essential in the later months of the dry season as we tend to see increase salinity levels in the canal.

Boating through the Facaunion Canal

During our winter months, the manatees like to push further up the canal, seeking warmer water. This gives our boat tour guests a perfect opportunity to spot manatees before we even leave the canal. During the summer months, manatees are spread throughout Florida’s coastlines, making sightings a little more difficult but always possible. Once we make our way out of the canal and into the islands, we snake our way through literally thousands of barrier islands between the mainland Everglades and the Gulf of Mexico. During our boat ride through the islands, we make numerous stops to observe feeding birds, dolphins, and on super-rare occasions, bobcats and black bears.

10,000 Islands Secluded Beach

The main attraction, however, is still yet to come. Taking a boat tour out of Port of the Islands allows us to make a beach stop at some of the most secluded and beautiful white sandy beaches Florida has to offer. Here guests can get out, stretch their legs, and go for a walk down a totally isolated beach outside of the madness a typical public beach can offer. This gives people such a better feeling for what our coastlines may have looked like hundreds of years before the human-influenced coastlines, which many people are used to exploring. Regardless of when you book your boat tour, the amount of wildlife and scenery this tour has to offer is second to none. A Port of the Islands boat tour will have you leaving with a whole new sense of what the Florida Everglades has to offer, and it will demonstrate the magnificence of a proper wilderness area if left undisturbed by mankind.

The Port of the Islands is a quick drive southeast from Naples and Marco Island.

Capt. Logan Hannan


COVID-19 PRECAUTIONS

COVID-19 Safety Measures

Group Size?

All tours have been capped at a maximum of 10 guests. If you are a party larger than 10 and are from the same household we can run a larger tour.

Distancing - All kayaks are set up prior to the tour. Each kayak has been placed at a minimum of 6 feet from the other. Guests are encouraged and reminded throughout the tour to maintain a minimum of 6 feet from one another.

Measures to Increase Sanitization

Kayaks and paddles are sanitized at the beginning of each day and between tours. We are using an ammonia-based solution approved by the FDA.?

PFD?s, also known as life jackets are sanitized by submerging them into an ammonia-based solution, proven to kill 99.9% of viruses and bacteria. Each PFD is stored in the sun for maximum sun exposure.

Hand sanitizer is available to the public and employees at our launch location

Employees have been assigned to clean/disinfect all high-contact surfaces frequently

Measures to Prevent Unnecessary Contact

Our kayak paddles are 7.5 feet in length. This provides a great tool to demonstrate appropriate distancing throughout the tour. You guide will encourage the use of distancing through the paddle swing?

Measures to protect Employees and Guests

All employees have been instructed not to come to work if sick (including any of the following; headache, sore throat. Fever (>100.4F), dry cough, recent inability to taste and smell, shortness of breath, earaches, body aches, diarrhea fatigue vomiting, and abdominal pain). If an employee does have any of these symptoms, we will ask the employee to get tested for COVID-19 infection. If the test results:

  1. Are positive, the employee will be deluded from working for 10 days after symptom onset or 72 hours after fever ends (without fever-reducing medicines) and other symptoms are improving, whichever of these is longer.
  2. If the test results are negative, the employee will be excluded from working until 72 hours after fever ends (without fever-reducing medicines) and other symptoms are improving.
  3. If testing is not completed, the employee will be excluded from working for 10 days after symptoms onset OR 72 hours after fever ends (without fever-reducing medicines) and other symptoms are improving, whatever of these is longer

Symptom checks are being conducted before employees may enter the worksite

Face? coverings are provided to guests and employees. We do not utilize any indoor spaces at this time

Guests will receive full refunds and are not able to participate?

If they are experiencing any symptoms including any of the following; headache, sore throat. Fever (>100.4F), dry cough, recent inability to taste and smell, shortness of breath, earaches, body aches, diarrhea fatigue vomiting, and abdominal pain).


Dillon Reservoir

Dillon Reservoir Questions and Answers

Breaking News! Dillon Reservoir Marinas will open May 22nd with crucial Covid-19 guidelines! That means we will be offering private tours only starting on May 22nd

We get a ton of questions about Dillon Reservoir while kayaking, so this blog post is my attempt to answer the most asked questions about Dillon Reservoir.

Can you swim in Dillon Reservoir?

The short answer is no, but there is a little more to this story. Adventure Paddle Tours started offering guided kayak tours on Dillon in 2009. Way back then, one could easily get a ticket if you were caught swimming. Denver Water?s strict stance was absolutely no swimming on the reservoir, and since Denver Water technically owns Dillon Reservoir, whatever they say goes. The interesting thing, though, is that initially, Denver?s stance on no swimming in Dillon was mainly due to their water treatment capabilities. Denver Water's cleaning technology and capabilities have greatly improved, and they say the water is super clean now.

So, why can't we swim in Dillon Reservoir today? The answer is the water is simply too cold. Dillon is often lowered twenty to thirty feet every spring because of all of the snowmelt that rushes in. All of that snowmelt, combined with the depth of Dillon, keeps the water super cold year-round. With no swimming allowed they also do not allow jet skis or skiing. Dillon Reservoir is owned by Denver Water, but it is managed by The Dillon Reservoir Recreation Committee, these guys are responsible for implementing regulations and provide Marine Patrol.

How cold is Dillon?

On average, Dillon is around 50 degrees, but early season it can be as cold as 45 degrees, and in late summer, it can be as high as 65 degrees.

Why is Dillon often low?

Many factors come in to play with Dillon's water levels, and the main factor is snowmelt. However, we might have the most epic snow totals in history, like in 2019, but still have a low reservoir. The reason for this is that Denver Water is actively releasing water downstream in preparation for the massive snowmelt Dillon Reservoir is about to receive. They have water level predictions down to a science too! If you visited Dillon Reservoir in early June of 2019, you would have seen Dillon at 40 to 50 feet below full.

Hiking above Dillon Reservoir
View of Dillon from Buffalo Mountain

Conversely, if you had visited Dillon Reservoir in August of 2019, you would have seen Dillon Reservoir at its highest level ever recorded! Snowmelt is the number one factor involved in Dillon Reservoir water levels. However, Denver Water is in the water business, which means they sell water. Denver Water sells water to Denver residents, but it can also sell or trade water downstream to other water stakeholders. Remember, Dillon Reservoir is part of the Colorado River system, and we have all read about the many issues the Colorado River faces. Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and California all pull water from the mighty Colorado River.

Can you camp on Dillon?

Yes, camping on Dillon is incredible! However, there is no dispersed camping, and there is absolutely no camping on the Islands. Camping on the islands is prohibited due to the potential of spreading noxious weeds. The county puts a lot of resources in trying to remove noxious weeds, and they actually ferry utility vehicles to the islands to spray.
Even with those two restrictions in place, there are tons of great campsites. There are 5 campgrounds on the reservoir; Windy Point, Prospector, Heaton Bay, Peak 1, and Lowry. Lowry is not actually on Dillon but is just across Swan Mountain Road.

My favorite campsite on all of Dillon Reservoir is in Loop D at the Heaton Bay Campground. There are five to 10 tent-only sites, and all are on the water's edge, offering an excellent opportunity for immediate access to Dillon Reservoir water. We actually kayak by this campground on every kayak tour

The campsites on Dillon are often sold out, and reservations can be made at recreation.gov I have also heard that even if all sites are sold out, you can visit Lowry or Prospector on the Keystone side of Dillon, and they will set you up with a tent only site. I have never tried that, but it's worth checking out if you end up in a bind. There are also untold amounts of dispersed camping throughout the county. You just have to look for them. Here is the link to the Heaton Bay Campground, it is my favorite. You will need to google the other campgrounds to make sure you reserve the right one.

When does the reservoir open and close?

Dillon is more or less open year-round to walk-in access, and the ice typically melts mid-May. The marinas usually try hard to open by Memorial day weekend. Still, they often have tons of work to get things open. Since the reservoir freezes every year, both marinas have to pull out a ton of their infrastructure, so the ice doesn't damage it. You can often kayak Dillon as late as December.

Where can I launch my boat?

I wrote a separate blog on where to hand launch your kayak. You can visit that here. If you are launching a trailered boat, you can only launch from either the Frisco Bay Marina or the Dillon Marina. Both marinas require an extensive aquatic invasive inspection, and they will not let you launch until all of the boxes have been checked. If it is found you are carrying mud, water, or hitchhikers, they will charge you for a steam cleaning. Do not try to skirt this!

Is there a town under Dillon Reservoir?

The first year we were running tours, we often had guests tell the whole group about how the original town of Dillon is at the bottom. The Town of Dillon indeed used to be where Dillon Reservoir is. However, it's somewhat incorrect in saying there are still buildings underneath. In fact, most of the buildings that were worth keeping were moved, and you can even visit them today. My favorite restaurant in the county, Arapahoe Cafe, operates in a building that used to be where Dillon Reservoir sits today. Check their menu out here. ?The mint, Old Dillon Inn, and a few buildings in Breckenridge and Frisco all used to be where Dillon Reservoir sits today. Lastly, any building that was left behind was demolished before Dillon Reservoir was filled.

How deep is Dillon?

Just over 200 feet. I have been on a boat with a depth finder, and we did find a 230-foot spot.

Can you rent a boat on Dillon Reservoir?

Yes, you can rent pontoon boats, fishing boats, sailboats, kayaks, and canoes. We provide guided kayak tours on Dillon Reservoir out of the Frisco Bay Marina.

Where to rent a sailboat on Dillon Reservoir?

If you want to sail on Dillon Reservoir, you should definitely reach out to Tom and Seth with Windrider of the Rockies. You can book a lesson, rental, or tour from https://windrider.us and they don't take reservations over the phone. Just like us, they operate out of the Frisco Bay Marina, and reservations by phone are difficult there.

Can you hike or bike on Dillon?

There are tons of hiking trails, singletrack bike trails, and a paved recreation path. My favorite hike on the water is the Meadow Loop and Ridge Trail on the Dillon side. My favorite mountain biking on Dillon is on the Frisco Recreation peninsula. There are tons of interconnected trails here, so depending on your timeframe, you can do 5 miles or even 20. The best way to use the county paved rec path is to start at the Frisco Bay Marina, bike to the Dillon Marina then take the Summit Shuttle back to Frisco.

Biking the Peninsula on Dillon

When is the best time to visit Dillon Reservoir?

This is a tough question to answer. If you're looking for light winds for kayaking or rowing, it's definitely in the morning. If you want to sail with good winds anytime after 11 is excellent. September is probably my favorite time of year to be out. It can still be pretty warm, but can also get super cold. If you want excellent aspen watching, try the second week of October. Don't overlook the sunsets! Sunsets are often spectacular on Dillon, you just need to pay attention to the thunderstorm forecast. We offer a Sunset Kayak Tour a few days a week.

sunset over mountains
Sunset Kayak Tour on Dillon

What kind of fish are in Dillon Reservoir?

There are more Rainbow trout than anything else, but there is also a growing population of Arctic Char. There are brown trout, cutthroat and kokanee salmon too. If you want a guided fishing trip reach out to Randy with Alpine Fishing Adventures. They offer boat trips in the summer and ice fishing in the winter.

How big is Dillon Reservoir?

Dillon is 3,200 acres has 26 miles of shoreline, and is Colorado's 3rd largest reservoir.

I hope I was able to answer any questions you might have about this amazing place, but if I did not, please, don't hesitate to reach out. I'm pretty sure we will have an answer to just about any question. If you want to learn more about Dillon or just want to explore this fantastic place, please join us on a kayak tour today! You can book a guided kayak tour from adventurepaddletours.com/kayak-tours. We are the topped rank activity in Frisco and have been offering guided kayak tours on Dillon since 2009! There is so much to see and learn!


What to wear kayaking

What to wear kayaking on Dillon Reservoir

If any of you have been on a tour with me before, you will know I have a difficult time giving guests a solid yes or no answer about anything!? This blog post is my attempt to answer any guest?s questions about what to wear kayaking with Adventure Paddle Tours.? The short answer is below. Please read on further for detailed information.

  • Hat
  • Polarized sunglasses
  • Suncreen
  • Synthetic bottoms (boardshorts, hiking shorts/pants)
  • Synthetic UPF T-shirt (I prefer longsleeve for sun)
  • Water shoes or sandals
  • Rain jacket or synthetic fleece jacket (Mainly for our Colorado kayak Tours)

My go-to on every single kayak tour is as follows.

I wear shoes designed for kayaking and my go-to shoes for the last 3 years have been the Astral Loyaks.? I wear board shorts, a long sleeve synthetic UPF sun shirt, hat, and polarized sunglasses.? Everyday before I leave the house, I apply a base of at least 70 SPF sunscreen and other than the tops of my hands that protocol has done pretty well for me.? For our Colorado kayak tours, it is also very important to bring a light synthetic fleece jacket or a rain jacket to cut the wind.? IT IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED THAT GUESTS DO NOT WEAR THE TYPICAL HEAVY COTTON COLLEGE STYLE HOODIES.? WHEN THESE SWEATSHIRTS GET WET THEY WILL NOT INSULATE AND WILL IN FACT DO THE OPPOSITE. ?

So, that is my go to clothing for kayaking, however I do this for a living and that is my uniform.? Often, guests will book a kayak tour while visiting say Denver and just didn?t pack for a kayak trip.? Don?t worry! Clothing is not going to make or break your guided kayak tour with Adventure Paddle Tours and we can often provide guests with some additional gear, other than what we already provide.? Let's break down each garment for a closer look on what you should really wear and why it?s important.? ? ?

Shoes, what to wear kayaking?

Guests have gotten away with everything from cowboy boots, to sandals and standard tennis shoes, shoes, in my opinion, are the most comfortable but please be prepared for them to get a little wet.?The two most common types of footwear you will see a kayak guide wear would be a closed-toed low profile shoe designed to get wet and built with a nonstick sole or a beefy sandal made for hiking, again with a solid non-slip sole.?

In my opinion, the best kayak shoes and sandals on the market are going to be the Astral Loyak and Chaco?s Z classic sandals. Over the years, most of our guides seem to prefer the sandal route.? Myself and Ryan, our lead guide in Colorado, prefer closed-toed shoes due to more protection moving kayaks and running around on rocky shorelines.? On all of our kayak tours both on Dillon Reservoir and in Naples, Florida our guests enter and exit our kayaks from dry land so, you do not need to walk in the water.?

On our Naples kayak tours, our guest's feet do tend to get wet since we use open style sit inside kayaks.? In Colorado, your shoes should stay pretty dry while kayaking.? Finally, the answer to the average visitor joining us on a kayak tour is tennis shoes you don?t mind getting a little wet or sandals are your best option for joining us on a kayak tour.?

What type of shirt should I wear kayaking?

For kayaking all day, I prefer a long sleeve synthetic UPF t-shirt since I do wear a life jacket, I prefer a minimal shirt with no pockets or snags that could get uncomfortable under my PFD.?

Both my hands and my arms will often get wet while kayaking and sunscreen is usually only waterproof for an hour and a half.? Years ago, my doctor warned me about the freckles starting to appear on my arms and from here on out it?s been a long sleeve synthetic shirt.

The material is also very important when thinking about kayaking in colder waters like what we have on Dillon Reservoir.? If you haven?t heard the term "cotton kills," you have now.? Basically, when you get wet wearing cotton clothing the cotton has zero insulating properties and will actually pull the heat away from your body and in a serious survival situation, cotton clothing can kill you.? This is why almost all outdoor clothing is made of either a synthetic material or merino wool. ?

What Type of Pants or Shorts Should I Wear on a Kayak Tour?

Same story here, I always wear board shorts and if we are kayaking in early May on Dillon Reservoir or late September I might wear black synthetic long johns under my board shorts.? Now, while on vacation in Colorado guests often pack jeans and do fine on the kayak tours but please remember cotton jeans are not comfortable at all while kayaking and if you have the option of athletic shorts or hiking pants, wear those.?

Please, everyone, remember we will not cancel our kayak tours due to cooler weather and it is your responsibility to dress appropriately.? So, on our morning tours in July jeans and t-shirts might be okay but if it?s an overcast day with a little wind proper clothing is important.? ? ?

Should I Wear a Jacket for My Kayak Tour?

When kayaking in Florida, you almost never need a jacket even in the winter.? Our kayak tours in Colorado are a different story.?

Almost every morning until mid July I will show up to work wearing some type of light jacket.? If you are only going to bring one type of jacket while vacationing? to Colorado, it should probably be a rain jacket.? Obviously, these are great for rain but they are also perfect for windy days while kayaking or at the top of peaks where it can be cold and windy.? The wind stopping properties of most rain jackets are perfect for just about every summer day in Colorado at 9,000 foot elevation.?

For most of our visitors on our kayak tours, almost all guests have some type of synthetic fleece.? If you don?t own a fleece it might be time to trade in that cotton sweatshirt for a synthetic or even marino wool fleece jacket.? The takeaway on the jacket conversation is try not to wear cotton sweatshirts and if you have both a wind stopping rain jacket and a light fleece that is absolutely perfect for kayaking in Colorado and even Florida.? We will often get short periods of rainfall. Sometimes even just 5 minutes but if we got soaked for 5 minutes and you are wearing cotton you might regret that decision for the next 2 hours of kayaking.?

Should I Wear Sunglasses for My Kayak Tour?

Let me preface this subject with the fact that I am a pyscho when it comes to wearing sunglasses and a hat.?

I will search my house for 30 minutes to find my sunglasses before going to the truck for something.? So, with that in mind, it makes sense that I won?t be caught dead on the water kayaking without a good pair of sunglasses.?

Sunglasses are also not all created equal and the number one most important feature with a pair of sunglasses for kayaking or fishing on the water is the fact that they should be polarized.?

Polarized sunglasses essentially give you better vision through the water by cutting the horizontal glares reflecting off the water. Polarized sunglasses aren?t crazy important on our Colorado kayak tours since we aren?t pointing out things like Manatees, bull sharks and alligators like we see on our Florida kayak tours but if you plan on doing some fly fishing while visiting Colorado you definitely want a decent pair of polarized sunglasses.? You will be amazed how much more stuff you will see on our Naples kayak tours if you wear polarized sunglasses, especially on our Manatees and Mangroves kayak tours. ?On a side not polarized sunglasses are great for driving through those light rainy days with tons of glare.?

Should I Wear a Hat for My Kayak Tour?

Again, I don?t go outside without a hat but we do get a number of guests that just don?t wear hats and that is perfectly fine.? I personally prefer a full brim stiff hat with a cord for windy days kayaking and it can often get windy on Dillon Reservoir.? If you want to take it one step further be sure to buy a hat that has a dark underside on the brim.? You might laugh but it does make a difference for anyone that loves to fish or tends to get eye fatigue in the sun. ?

Book Your Kayak Tour with Confidence

So, hopefully, I have answered more questions rather than created them with this blog post.? Please, remember that less than optimal kayaking clothing won?t make or break a kayak tour in during perfect weather.? However, perfect weather is definitely not the norm for both Colorado and Florida and guests should try their absolute best to be prepared for any type of weather that can roll in on our Florida Kayak Tours and our Colorado Kayak tours. ?Also, this blog was not intended for the safe kayaking clothing but was written with guest's comfort while on a kayak tour with Adventure Paddle Tours. ?Please, remember if you are kayaking in colder weather or colder water their are important variables you must take into account. ?? ?

To learn more about our kayak tours in Naples or our kayaking tours in Lake Dillon, click here.

? ?


When is the best time to Kayak on Lake Dillon?

Simply put, the best time to kayak on Lake Dillon is in the morning.? No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Why is this the case? There are three major factors to think about when kayaking on Lake Dillon - wind, thunderstorms and traffic.

All three factors almost always have little to no effect on kayaking the Dillon Reservoir in the morning but come in the later hours of the day. This is why we have always been hesitant to offer a 12 pm or 2 pm kayak tour on Lake Dillon months in advance. There is at least a 30% chance that we will be refunding you for your afternoon tour due to these factors, or at the very least you missed out on the better kayak tour in the morning.

This year, we are now offering an early bird kayak tour that departs from the marina at 8 AM ? the very best time to kayak on Lake Dillon. The Early Bird kayak tour is the same award-winning, 2.5-hour Island Kayak Tour route we have offered for the past 10 years but better. If you still are not convinced you should book our early bird kayak tour, how about a discount?? Our Early Bird 2.5 Hour Island Tour is 10% cheaper than all other Island Tours.? Most often the best kayak tour is more expensive, but this is a supply and demand discount. Almost all visitors to Summit County are capable of making it to our 9 am kayak tour and that kayak tour sells out often but not as many are willing to wake up early to do our 8 am kayak tour. Trust me, you will not regret kayaking with us at 8 am!

Wind and Kayaking Dillon Reservoir

99 out of 100 days in the mountains of Colorado, the mornings will have calmer winds.? The reason for this is, as the sun rises it heats up the air at the earth?s surface, as this air heats, it starts to rise giving room for the higher winds in the atmosphere to fill this void at the earth?s surface. It is always windy high up in the atmosphere and when there is room down low it will blow. So, with only this one constant in mind - it is always best to launch your kayak on the Dillon Reservoir at least by 9 am and try to be off the water by 12 pm.

The number one question from our guests about kayaking early is - will it be too cold to kayak early in the morning? It is somewhat counter-intuitive but kayaking at 50 degrees with zero wind and waves is much warmer than kayaking at 70 degrees with 15 mile an hour winds and waves. Plus, kayaking with zero wind at 8 or 9 am is much more enjoyable! This is why we offer discounts for our 8 am Early Riser kayak tour to encourage all of our potential kayakers to join us at 8 am.

We also provide our kayakers with splash tops to keep you dry, spray skirts that keep the water out of the kayak and we utilize the sit inside style sea kayaks, designed for colder waters and temperatures.? Kayaking gloves are also available year-round but are usually only needed in mid-May and late September. Our kayakers on Dillon are also required to wear our provided life jackets that provide insulation as well.

Thunderstorms on Dillon Reservoir

If you have spent any time hiking, biking or fishing in Colorado then you have probably come close to a lightning strike. Many times I have been fly fishing with no rain in sight and bam, lightning!

Colorado?s dry air during thunderstorms in the afternoons tend to trick kayakers since the rain often evaporates before hitting the ground, giving you a false sense of safety. You need moisture in the air to cause a lightning strike.? In other parts of the country, you tend to go inside long before the thunderstorms hit because you?ve been getting rained on for the last 10 minutes.? That is often not the case in Colorado.? Usually, sometime in late June we really start to see our monsoon season pick up and almost half of our afternoons on Dillon Reservoir will see thunderstorms. These thunderstorms may only last minutes, they will roll in fast and furious and then the rest of the day is perfect.? However, those 5 to 10 minutes kayaking on Lake Dillon during an afternoon thunderstorm can ruin your vacation and even your life!

This high chance of afternoon thunderstorms is the number one driver of why we try our hardest to encourage all kayakers on lake Dillon to book our guided kayak tours as early in the morning as possible.

Boater Traffic on Lake Dillon

It is not guaranteed that there will be high winds or thunderstorms on Dillon Reservoir in the afternoon and we sometimes have great kayak tours at 12 pm. However, I can guarantee that on that bluebird, zero wind day the afternoon will be busy on the water!

It is always amazing the response we see from our kayakers at 8 or 9 am vs. our kayakers at 12 pm on the exact same kayak tour on the same day. The parking lot at the Frisco Bay Marina will always have plenty of parking at 8 am, even on Saturdays but if you try to find parking at 12 pm, you better arrive 30 minutes early and expect to park 10 minutes away from Dillon Reservoir.

Not only is it easier to park close to Dillon Reservoir it is a much more relaxing eco-tour, kayak experience early in the morning.? If you are kayaking at 8 am on Dillon you can expect to see zero boat rentals, more wildlife and possibly other kayakers.? I always joke with our kayakers returning at 11:30 to the Frisco Bay Marina and say, ?look, this is the only kind of rush hour I can handle?.

Book An Early Bird Kayak Tour on Lake Dillon With Adventure Paddle Tours

In closing, there is no question that kayaking on Dillon Reservoir is best early in the morning.? This is why the popular rowing club out of the Frisco Bay Marina is often leaving Dillon Reservoir when we are first launching.? If I felt we could book enough guests at 7 am we would do it!? Again, there are fewer boaters, less wind and almost zero chance of thunderstorms at 8 am on Dillon Reservoir.? If you are kayaking on your own or thinking of booking a guided kayak tour with us please consider launching first thing in the morning and taking advantage of our early bird kayak tour deal!