- Most Popular Tour!
Paddle with us through otherworldly mangrove tunnels, which are home to a plethora of birds and all sorts of marine life. Encounter manatees and bottlenose dolphins up close!
Time of Day: Morning, Afternoon
Take a guided tour of our most popular area on South Lido Key! Search the open bay for manatees, dolphins, and many other types of wildlife, then follow a route through incredible mangrove tunnels for a wonderful trip you’re not likely to forget!
For the first hour or so of the tour, we do a loop around Sarasota Bay, where your guide tries to find wildlife large and small and gives you lots of fun facts and information about the local ecosystem and some history of the area. The second leg takes you to another world through amazing mangrove tunnels, which are canopy-covered trails through an enchanting mangrove forest!
Find a Parking spot, and check in at permit parking spot number 4 in the the row of kayak trucks and trailer.
If you can’t find our truck ask any staff member for almost heaven.
Manatees are frequently seen from March through December, when the waters are warm. The remaining months of the year, manatees can be seen, but it is less frequent. Dolphins may be seen year-round as they feed and travel through the surrounding mangrove islands and channels.
Our Mangrove Tunnel SUP Tour is ideal for all ages.
We get this question all the time! No, there are no alligators on this tour.
Yes, this tour is great for beginners as well as advanced paddlers. We start each tour with on-water paddling instructions for those who need it. Then, your guide provides feedback and help along the way.
Depending on the time of year, a wide variety of tropical birds can be seen on this tour: ospreys, great blue herons, little blue herons, white egrets, yellow-crowned night herons, snowy egrets, little green herons, tri-colored herons, black-crowned night herons, cormorants, pelicans, and occasionally wood storks, roseate spoonbills, reddish egrets, bald eagles, white pelicans, and many more.
There is an abundance of live shells that can easily be seen in these shallow protected waterways: the Florida horse conch (the state shell), lightning whelks, true tulips, banded tulips, clams, scallops, and crown conchs are quite common. In addition to these beautiful live shells, you can also view sea stars (starfish), sea urchins, sea anemones, sea cucumbers, and many more invertebrates. We stress the word “live“ because the shells are living creatures. They’re protected and must stay in the water and can’t go home with you, but you can certainly enjoy viewing and even holding them on your tour.
Your safety is paramount. Cancelling a tour depends on the weather conditions. If the forecast is a light drizzle, then the tour will launch at the regularly scheduled time. If there are thunderstorms or any hint of lightning, then the tour will be postponed or cancelled.
This tour takes place in the shallow, protected waters of Sarasota Bay, so there is limited influence from wind and currents. The water is usually very clear, making it great for viewing sea life.
If you would like to tip your tour guide, we have two options:
Mangrove Tunnel Paddle Board (SUP) Tour launches from the north entrance of South Lido Park, referred to as the Ted Sperling Nature Park on Lido Key (190 Taft Drive, Sarasota, Florida 34236). It’s located about one mile South of St. Armanda’s Circle. Some people confuse this location with the south entrance of Lido Park that is located at the south end of Lido Key. Please note that this is not the physical address of Almost Heaven Kayak Adventures. This is a Sarasota County Park.
The nearest address for the Mangrove Tunnel Paddle Board (SUP) Tour launch is 190 Taft Dr. Sarasota, FL 34236. Once you arrive at this location, take a left onto Taft Drive and go straight into the South Lido Nature Park. This road dead-ends into a small parking lot. Just ask for Almost Heaven when you arrive!
We have boards for all shapes and sizes. We assist you with finding the right SUP at the time of your tour. Our goal is to make sure that you are comfortable and enjoy your adventure.
We highly recommend bringing a bottle of water and items that you would normally have while you are in the sun (sunscreen, hat, sunglasses). Cameras are okay, but we suggest putting them in a drybag if they are not waterproof. We can provide small drybags to hold cellphones, keys, etc.
Most people wear t-shirts, shorts, and/or bathing suits. During the winter, we suggest a light windbreaker or a sweatshirt depending on the temperature and the wind conditions. The most important thing is to be comfortable. As for shoes, wear something that you don’t mind getting wet. Flip-flops, water shoes, or old sneakers are ideal.
This tour is ideal for anyone interested in having fun while learning more about one of our more popular local ecosystems. It’s a hands-on experience that is perfect for all ages, skill levels, and physical conditions, making this our most popular paddling adventure. Depending on the time of year, manatees and dolphins frequent this area. If you never have had the opportunity to experience manatees up close and personal, here’s your chance!