Tours and Tickets
Kayak Adventure of Shell Key Preserve & Island with a Local
5

Kayak Adventure of Shell Key Preserve & Island with a Local

By Island Kayak Tours, LLC
Recommended by 99% of travellers
This number is based on the percentage of all Tripadvisor reviews for this product that have a bubble rating of 4 or higher
Hi, I'm Scott. Karissa and I are the owners and only guides at Island Kayak Tours. We will guide you through the mangrove tunnels (tide permitting) and time your adventure just right to give you the best chance at seeing dolphins & manatees. There is also free time for you to explore Shell Key Island, whether that means shelling, swimming, snorkeling, or simply enjoying the view. Our tours take place in a shallow saltwater preserve. There are no alligators, and most of the water is knee to waist-deep; perfect for both beginners and experts. All the experience I have from growing up here in St. Petersburg has given me the opportunity to put together a kayak tour like no other. Kayaking has always been one of my favorite things to do around the area. This has allowed me the opportunity to find all the best kayaking spots and to accumulate the local knowledge to give you a true Florida experience. I started this kayaking company to share the natural beauty of my home with you.
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Ages 3-99, max of 16 per group
Duration: 3h
Start time: Check availability
Mobile ticket
English


  • kayak, paddle, lifejacket (PFD), whistle or signalling device


Departure details
  • Pinellas Bayway South, Pinellas Bayway S, Tierra Verde, FL 33715, USA We launch from a public launch site off Pinellas Bayway in Tierra Verde. Directions & a map will be included with your reservation confirmation message.
Return details
  • Returns to original departure point

  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Service animals allowed
If you have questions about accessibility, we’d be happy to help. Just call the number below and reference the product code: 211738P1

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Most travellers can participate
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s cancelled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 16 travellers

  • For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.

A note from Kayak Adventure of Shell Key Preserve & Island with a Local
  • This an outdoor experience with plenty of space for all guests and guides to remain at least 6 feet away from each other at all times.
What you can expect during your visit
  • Gear/equipment sanitised between use
  • Hand sanitiser available to travellers and staff
  • Social distancing enforced throughout experience
  • Safety precautions are provided by the property and are not checked by Tripadvisor for accuracy.

If you have questions about this tour or need help making your booking, we’d be happy to help. Just call the number below and reference the product code: 211738P1

Itinerary
  • You'll start at
    Pinellas Bayway South
    Pinellas Bayway S, Tierra Verde, FL 33715, USA
    We launch from a public launch site off Pinellas Bayway in Tierra Verde. Directions & a map will be included with your reservation confirmation message.
    See address & details
  • 1
    Tierra Verde
    Stop: 3 hours
    Tours take place in Shell Key Preserve. As a native Floridian, I will guide you through the backcountry of the preserve. Through shallow grassy meadows we go, watching fish jump and birds hunt; all the while, ducking through the mangrove tunnels (tide permitting) and allowing time for pictures and explanations of the surrounding habitat. Most of the area we paddle in is typically only frequented by locals and is off-limits to motorized vessels.
    Read more
  • You'll return to the starting point
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About the operator

Don’t take it from us – here’s what people have to say about this operator.

347sandyk
347sandyk
00
Kayak trip!
What a great kayak trip. We learned so much from Scott!!! Perfect amount of paddling and shell searching.
colleencclark
colleencclark
00
nicest people with great fun kayak tour
fun outdoor kayak tour guides (husband & wife) sweetest folks who know the area quite well & the wild life, kayak t
GraemeSpencer1975
GraemeSpencer1975
00
An amazing experiance
We had an amazing time with Scott and Karissa. We started with a peaceful paddle accompanied by cormorants fishi
Georgs1994
Georgs1994
00
Great first time Experience!
Scott and Karissa were very attentive and knowledgeable.. I was a newbie to Kayaking and they both helped me treme
Dennis L
Dennis L
00
Fun On The Water
Scott and Karissa were the most courteous and professional hosts. The trip with them today was absolutely perfect.
Deb W
Deb W
00
Great experience of the area, wildlife, and nature process.
My husband and I had a great experience with our guides Scott & Karrisa. This my first time kayaking and was nervo
Z5342BMlaurens
Z5342BMlaurens
00
Kayaking!!!
Scott and Karissa were great. Scott is so knowledgeable about the area and seems to love to share the history and i
Maps614317
Maps614317
00
Beautiful and fun!
We had an amazing morning kayaking and learning about the wildlife from Scott. He and his wife were awesome guides
J3632WHwilliamb
J3632WHwilliamb
00
Island Kayak Tours
Great time kayaking out to and around Shell Key, then into mangrove caves. Scott was a great guide, very knowledge
124rajaniv
124rajaniv
00
Don’t miss this trip with Scott
Excellent communication, very nice pricing and service. Had a memorable time. Scott is so knowledgeable. He grew up
SF5738DNsandyr
SF5738DNsandyr
00
Fantastic Experience!
This was a wonderful tour. I very highly recommend it. Pre event instructions were clear with responsive communicat
Amy S
Amy S
00
Fantastic Kayak Trip!
Went kayaking for the first time with the family. Scott and Clarissa were excellent guides! We went to Shell Isla
ben_keyless_278
ben_keyless_278
00
Amazing family kayak adventure
All the positive reviews checked each of the boxes why we booked this adventure. The adventure with a 9 year old an
Wendy502
Wendy502
00
Kayak tour of Shell Island and Mangroves
Absolutely loved this adventure! Scott and Karissa were very fun and professional. Scott was very relaxed and ent
Kim N
Kim N
00
Great trip and very informative.
We had a great time and Scott was so helpful getting me in and out of the Kayak because I have rheumatoid arthiriti
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

5.0
104 reviews
Excellent
103
Very good
0
Average
0
Poor
0
Terrible
1

blankind
Louisville, CO22 contributions
Jan 2023
Scott and his wife were absolutely amazing tour guides on the kayak tour that I took with my daughter this week. My daughter and I are proficient paddlers and we appreciated that fact that Scott was able to make the tour enjoyable for people of any ability level. He did a very quick and efficient introduction to paddling and we were off right away on our about 4-mile round trip paddle to Shell Key. Both of them did a great job of striking up conversation with us and giving us all kinds of tidbits about the wildlife and history of the area. Scott grew up there and has a wealth of knowledge that I can't think that others doing similar kayak tours would have. I would highly recommend the tour and it simply can't be beat for the price ($39 per person plus tax).
Written 4 January 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
David, we had a wonderful time kayaking with you and your daughter. It make us happy to hear you had a great experience with us. Thank you so much for all the kind words and taking the time to write us an awesome review! We look forward to seeing you again next time. Safe travels. Scott &Karissa
Written 10 January 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

mike h
Warminster, PA53 contributions
Jul 2022 • Couples
Scott was our guide and he did an amazing job. We were supposed to go Tuesday but high winds made us reschedule, which was super easy to do. On the way to the mangroves, we were able to watch a dozen snatch fish out of the water and gulp them down. Then we went through 2 mangrove tunnels before heading to shell key. Scott parked us in a little lagoon and we had about an hour on the preserve. On the way back we passed a couple dolphins in two different locations. The whole time, Scott told stories about the area and checked to see if everyone was okay in the groups of 13-15 people.
You can tell he truly loves this area. Fantastic tour and I recommend it to any one who can kayak the 2-3 miles that it takes, which actually wasn’t overly strenuous. 10/10 experience 🙂🙂🐬🐬
Written 14 July 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Mike, we enjoyed having you both out kayaking with us today! Thank you for all the kind words and taking the time to write us a wonderful review. We look forward to seeing you all again next time. Safe travels. Scott &Karissa
Written 24 July 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Lori B
4 contributions
Oct 2022
This is our 2nd time on this adventure. We had a great day on the water filled with expert commentary on the surroundings and wildlife, sprinkled with just the right amount of personal stories and memories. The adventure provides just enough time on the island for shelling & swimming and a respite in the shade of the mangroves is a welcome bonus on the way back to the launch. The kayaking was easygoing even for beginners. The best part is that the guides are genuinely kind and want you to have the best possible experience. Loved it!
Written 30 October 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
We enjoyed having you out kayaking with us again! It was so awesome seeing you and you sister and having the opportunity to reconnect. Thank you so much for taking the time to write us a wonderful review. We look forward to seeing you all again next time! Safe travels. Scott &Karissa
Written 2 November 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Michelle A
1 contribution
Apr 2021
The location of the launch site was changed last minute. A text was sent regarding this but it wasn't super clear as to the change as it still told me to go through the toll booth and park in the first lot, which I did. I finally got in touch with Karissa and informed us they would be in a grass lot BEFORE the toll booth. We went there and were greeted and put in kayaks. All was going well and I was thoroughly enjoying the trip. Once we arrived at shell island, the male in charge from Island Kayak Adventures approached me to address the error in location. Instead of just saying, "hey is everything good?" or "sorry about the miscommunication", he decided to berate me and yell at me (and HE DID YELL AT ME) in front of my friends and family, as well as the people on the trip that I didn't know. He wanted 100% to prove he was right and that "everything was my fault" he did not let up until I was crying and had to tell him multiple times to walk away from me. I'm not sure why he felt the need to do that and definitely not at this point in the trip. He ruined the entire experience. Despite his unprofessional actions, they still deemed it fit to charge me full price. If you want to be yelled at and pay for it, this is the trip for you!

They do not understand that the change in the location is not why I am upset. It was the harassments and argumentativeness received from them during the middle of our trip. They have never apologized to me in any way .All communication from them has only been to prove how right they believe they are. Zero customer service from these two... I was not upset until they approached me in the middle of the trip and were hostile towards me. Could the directions of been clearer, sure, but that IS NOT WHY I AM UPSET.
Written 10 April 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Michelle, we have spoken privately and apologized for the misunderstanding over the launch site location. This was a weather related change, and we did this to make your tour more enjoyable. The notice of change was sent to you the evening before your tour. This included written directions, a link to a map, and street address. When you responded to the message we thought you were clear on the directions. We will work to be sure the wording is as clear as possible in the future. At no point did anyone yell at you and no one was trying to prove anyone wrong. As I past out shell bags to your family on the beach I asked if everything was "OK" and you were clearly mad. As you said "I was mad early but it's getting better" I apologize again and asked "if there was any way we could have done things better" since we were in private and no guests were around. I asked this question so we would not make this mistake again and you would not be mad at us. This is what was said. Everyone in your group came up to me after the tour and told me they had a wonderful time. We are sorry that you did not. We apologized for the confusion and you were still mad. As we told you in our private communication.
Written 11 April 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Jenny Dep
Indianapolis, IN21 contributions
We arrived at the launch site about 30 minutes before our scheduled launch time. We met Scott and Karissa, the husband & wife owners/tour guides/local experts. Both are very personable and eager to know each person on the tour. We bonded with them over Pizza King pizza, Jerry’s Dairy Freezer and Buffalo Trace bourbon.
The tour itself was wonderful for novices and experts alike. This was my 2nd time in a kayak and my husband’s first. Scott gave excellent directions on how to paddle, turn, etc. He explained about the wildlife that we would see and shared his personal stories from his childhood growing up in the area. Going through the mangrove tunnels was incredible! It was so quiet and peaceful in there. The 45 minutes we had on Shell Island was a nice reprieve from paddling. We were fortunate to see a manatee and a couple of dolphins while on the beach. The trip back to the launch site was relaxing as we all went at our own pace. Karissa takes her spot in the back of the pack to make sure no one gets left behind. She is a very caring tour guide, offering water and assistance to those who are struggling.
I can’t recommend this tour highly enough. Scott and Karissa truly care about their guests and the environment. We saw how real they are when Karissa paddled several yards away to pick up some trash floating on the surface. It’s not just lip service; they truly care.
Written 29 May 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
We had so much fun getting to know you and your husband. I enjoyed talking bourbon with your him at the end of our adventure. We're so happy to hear you both had a great time. Thank you so much for all the kind words and taking his time to leave us a wonderful review! We look forward to seeing you both again next time. Safe travels. Scott &Karissa
Written 29 May 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Terrie P
37 contributions
May 2021
This is a MUST DO! If you are considering a kayak experience - this is the one! I am a Floridian and appreciate the local knowledge and history that Scott brings to the experience. He knows the area, its history and even the water birds (he’s named them) that swam around our kayaks and oars and caught little fish that they (birds) showed off to us (funny and amazing!). It was great fun and suitable for all ages and experiences levels. The canopied mangroves were incredible – my first experience and of course everyone loved the shelling and swimming where you get to play for about an hour! The whole trip was like Disney entertainment – but real and we were in the show!!! Karissa was an important part of the whole experience as well – because as Scott would lead for the faster paddlers, she followed at the back to stay with the slower paddlers to ensure the safety from the rear. I will be back and will recommend to all my friends!!!
Written 1 June 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Terrie, we always enjoy having our native locals out kayaking with us. It was so much fun getting to know you. Thank you very much for all the kind words and taking the time to leave us a wonderful review! We look forward to seeing you again next time. Safe travels. Scott &Karissa
Written 6 June 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Richard C
Cumberland, United States3 contributions
May 2022
Great pre-tour instruction and relaxing cool trips through several mangrove tree island cuts. Be sure to bring a small snack in a fanny pack and bottled water. I am diabetic and did not realize the length of the tour (booked by friends) and experienced a low sugar condition(my fault). Kris and Scott provided immeasurable benefit by towing our tandem kayak the last qtr mile bringing us safely to shore allowing me to find a sugar solution.

Outstanding scenery and lead and trailing guidance with commentary by a great team made this trip exceptional for our two couple experience. Well worth it.

Thank you so much Scott and Kris,
Dick & Sally Carlson 5/25/22
Written 26 May 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Dick, we had a great time out kayaking with you all. We are so glad we could help. We now carry glucose pills in case this ever happens again. Thank you so much for all the kind words and taking the time to leave us a great review. We look forward to seeing you all again next time. Safe travels. Scott &Karissa
Written 2 June 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Donelle H
Becker, MN10 contributions
Mar 2022 • Family
Excellent communication before and during our adventure. We were greeted when we got there by Scott and Karissa and they made sure we were comfortable with maneuvering our kayaks. We were near the front of the tour and learned so many great things about the ecosystem of the area from Scott. He answered all our questions and we felt completely safe on this tour. That is definitely impressive since two of the four in our party were apprehensive about the waters of the gulf. Scott pointed out dolphins as we paddled! He also made sure we didn’t get too close to protect the dolphins too. We had time for shell hunting and had a great excursion through the mangroves. These are just a few short tunnel to paddle through however Scott stopped to share information about the mangroves and how weather affects them. Very fun and educational. We all had a great time! Would highly recommend this tour!
Written 10 April 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Donelle, we had a lot of fun with you all. The dolphin show was amazing! Thank you so much for taking time to leave us a wonderful review. We look forward to saying you all again next time. Safe travels. Scott &Karissa
Written 16 April 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

L. C. Widner
1 contribution
Nov 2021
It was a Monday but a beautiful day to kayak. Scott and Karissa were excellent guides. Not only did they give us a lot of information about the wildlife we were seeing, but also the area, history, good places for lunch etc. When a group starts having good conversations and sharing personal stories that is the sign that the guides have done their job making everyone feel comfortable. We were lucky and saw Dolphins 3 times - loved watching how fast they would swim chasing fish. It was awesome! Karissa got a video and was so nice to share with me (promptly at that). I had some hesitation getting out of the kayak with my knee issues (visit with ortho doc after this trip). Scott helped me out of the kayak every time - so that was much appreciated. Also the area has shallow waters for those who have fears of kayaking or water in general. I would highly recommend this tour.
Written 16 November 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Lisa, we enjoyed kayaking with you and your friend. You are very welcome! It is our pleasure to help in any way we can. The dolphins that day were fantastic! Thank you for taking the time to leave us an awesome review. We look forward to seeing you again soon. Safe travels. Scott &Karissa
Written 18 November 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Departure820743
8 contributions
Feb 2022
A HUGE part of a successful trip is THE GUIDE. Scott was great, full of info and very helpful !!!! He led, and his wife 'rode drag' so there were no issues for even the slow people.
Do note: there are times when the water is too low (as was our trip) and you can not kayak through the mangrove tunnels; if I got it correct, most mid winter days.
Length: approx. 3 hour tour was just under 3 hours w/o the mangrove tunnels.
Monday was great for not very many people on Shell Key, we were told that weekends have a LOT more people.
Longer tour, for less money with great Guide = best bargain there !!!! The only way it could be better would be LONGER, 2 or 3 hours on Shell Key.
Written 2 March 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
We enjoyed having you and your wife out kayaking with us. You are correct (as stated on our website) the mangrove tunnels are only accessible tide permitting. Thank you for taking the time to leave us a great review. We look forward to seeing you again next time and taking you through the mangrove tunnels. Safe travels. Scott &Karissa
Written 2 March 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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2023 Kayak Adventure of Shell Key Preserve & Island with a Local