10 Best Kayaking Trips in Orlando (By a Local)

Molly McGuigan Author's Bio

Kayaking in Orlando is very popular thanks to its abundant waterways and beautiful natural scenery. The city is home to numerous lakes, rivers, and wetlands, making it an ideal destination for anyone looking for the best kayaking trips in the USA. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced paddler, Orlando offers a variety of kayaking opportunities to suit every skill level.

One of the main reasons why kayaking is so popular in Orlando is that it offers the chance to explore some stunning freshwater ecosystems. As well as its many bars, restaurants, and things to do, the city boasts several pristine lakes, such as Lake Conway, Lake Ivanhoe, and Lake Jessamine, where kayakers can navigate through calm waters while enjoying breathtaking views of the surrounding nature.

In addition to its lakes, Orlando is also known for its meandering rivers and peaceful creeks, which offer a different kayaking experience. The Econlockhatchee River, Wekiva River, and Little Wekiva River are just a few examples of the picturesque waterways that wind their way through the city for some of the best kayaking tours in Orlando.

SEE ALSO: Best Day Trips From Orlando (By a City Local)

Best Kayaking in Orlando

Having lived in Orlando for over ten years, I’ve gained deep familiarity with the various kayaking tours available in the area. This firsthand experience has allowed me to curate a list of the top kayaking tours in Orlando:

1. Neon Night Glow Clear Kayak or Clear Paddleboard

A happy young adult couple kayaking using a Neon Night Glow Clear Kayak.

On the Orlando Night Glow Kayak experience, participants will have the option to choose between a kayak or a paddleboard for their adventure. Whichever choice you go for, you’re guaranteed an unforgettable and memorable experience.

As you glide down Lake Ivanhoe, you’ll be accompanied by the mesmerizing glow of LED lighting on the underside of your chosen watercraft. Lake Ivanhoe itself is a stunning body of water that provides an excellent vantage point for admiring the Orlando skyline.

This clear kayaking tour in Orlando offers a unique experience for visitors and is ideal for couples looking for something different to do, and is one of the best things to do in Orlando at night. One of the standout features of this tour is the inclusion of a dry bag for your phone. This addition allows you to capture stunning pictures of your surroundings while keeping your phone protected from water damage.

Neon Night Glow Clear Kayak or Clear Paddleboard in Paradise Details:

2. 2-Hour Glass Bottom Guided Kayak Eco Tour in Rock Springs 

Young couple paddling on glass bottom kayak in tropical ocean.

One of the top kayaking tours in Orlando is the 2-Hour Glass Bottom Guided Kayak Eco Tour in Rock Springs. This tour is specifically designed for nature lovers, providing an unforgettable experience in the heart of nature. The tour takes you to a remarkable section of Rock Springs called “Emerald Cut,” which is a true paradise for outdoor enthusiasts.

On this two-hour kayak tour, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the natural wonders while keeping your eyes peeled for various wildlife. The tour provides all the necessary equipment, including the kayak and safety gear; ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for all participants.

Kayaking in Orlando on the Rock Springs tour offers a unique and personalized experience due to the small groups. Unlike overcrowded tours, this allows for a more intimate connection with nature and the surroundings.

2-Hour Glass Bottom Guided Kayak Eco Tour in Rock Springs Details:

3. Cypress Forest Guided Kayak Nature Eco-Tour

Two tourists kayaking at Cypress Forest.

Cypress Forest Guided Kayak Nature Eco-Tour is an excellent option for anyone seeking a kayaking adventure near Orlando. This eco-tour allows you to explore the beauty of Florida’s old-growth forests as you navigate through Shingle Creek, which serves as the headwaters of the Everglades.

Participants of this tour will have access to all the necessary safety gear, including life jackets, helmets, and paddles. The tour organizers take safety very seriously and ensure that all equipment provided is in good condition and meets the required safety standards.

This tour offers a one-of-a-kind experience that sets it apart from others. What makes it truly unique is that children as young as four years old are allowed to participate, making it an ideal adventure for the entire family. The inclusivity of this tour is what makes it so special.

Cypress Forest Guided Kayak Nature Eco-Tour Details:

SEE ALSO: 25 Best Free Things To Do in Orlando (By a City Local)

4. Glass Bottom Kayak Tours of Silver Springs

A two-couple kayaking a clear glass kayak on clear blue water.

Taking the Glass Bottom Kayak Tour of Silver Springs is one of the best ways to experience kayaking in Orlando. This unique clear-bottom tour allows you to witness the breathtaking scenery that Florida has to offer.

The tour is conducted in small groups, ensuring an intimate and personalized experience that allows you to fully immerse yourself in the beauty of the surroundings without feeling crowded or rushed. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced kayaker, this tour caters to all skill levels.

One of the advantages of this tour is the flexibility it offers. You can choose from multiple tour times, allowing you to find a slot that best suits your schedule. This makes it convenient for both locals and tourists visiting Orlando.

Glass Bottom Kayak Tours of Silver Springs Details:

5. Florida Bioluminescent Paddleboard / Kayak Excursion

Bioluminescence bay shore.

Florida Bioluminescent Paddleboard / Kayak Excursion is a unique and exhilarating experience for nature lovers and adventure seekers in Orlando. This unforgettable tour takes place on the enchanting Indian River, which is conveniently located near Orlando.

During this excursion, participants have the option to choose between a sit-down kayak or a stand-up paddleboard. Both options provide an incredible opportunity to explore one of the best spots for bioluminescent kayaking in Orlando.

The Indian River is known for its mesmerizing bioluminescent phenomenon, where the water illuminates with a magical glow. If you’ve never seen this before, it is sure to blow your mind! This breathtaking natural phenomenon occurs due to the presence of tiny organisms called dinoflagellates, which emit light when disturbed.

Florida Bioluminescent Paddleboard / Kayak Excursion Details:

6. Winter Park Chain of Lakes Daytime Clear Kayak Paddle

A man kayaking at a lake using a clear kayak paddle.

Winter Park Chain of Lakes in Orlando is a famous kayaking destination in Orlando. If you’re interested in exploring this picturesque area, the Winter Park Chain of Lakes Daytime Clear Kayak Paddle is the perfect activity for you. Led by a knowledgeable local guide, this private tour offers a two-hour adventure through the truly stunning landscape.

During the tour, you’ll have the opportunity to paddle past magnificent homes and vibrant natural areas. One of the advantages of this excursion is the flexibility it offers. With a variety of departure times available, you can easily find one that fits your schedule.

The tour’s close proximity to public transportation ensures that people from various locations can enjoy the experience. It conveniently eliminates the need for a personal vehicle or reliance on ride-share services.

Winter Park Chain of Lakes Day Time Clear Kayak Paddle Details:

7. Dolphin & Manatee Kayaking Tour in the Orlando Area

kayaking orlando manatees

Kayaking with manatees in Orlando is a popular and highly enjoyable activity. One of the best options for experiencing this unique adventure is the Dolphin & Manatee Kayaking Tour. This tour offers a great opportunity to witness the gentle giants, and manatees, in their natural habitat.

The tour takes place on the Indian River in Cocoa Beach, where there is an abundance of manatees. These graceful creatures spend their days peacefully gliding through the waters and kayaking alongside them allows you to observe their majestic behavior up close.

This two-hour kayaking tour in Orlando with manatees is one of my favorites because all the kayak gear and light refreshments are provided. This is a small group tour which means the guide will be able to give you personal attention.

Dolphin & Manatee Kayaking Tour in Orlando Area Details:

8. Manatee & Natural Spring Adventure Tour at Blue Springs

A group of manatees resting under the clear water.

The Orlando Manatee and Natural Spring Adventure Tour at Blue Springs is considered one of the best kayaking tours in Orlando. This tour takes you to a manatee refuge, providing a fantastic opportunity to observe the region’s animals, such as the bald eagle, sand cranes, and turtles.

Before the tour begins your guide will give you a quick paddle board or kayak lesson. This tour includes up to 25 people for a group experience. All guests will meet at the water’s edge after arriving at the location to begin their tour and see manatees up close.

Orlando Manatee and Natural Spring Adventure Tour at Blue Springs Details:

Location: 2399 W French Ave, Orange City, FL 32763
Duration: 2 hours
Cost of the Tour: From $65.00
How to Book: Book your tickets here online. Click here to read reviews, learn more details, and reserve your spot.

9. Clear Kayak Glow in the Dark Tour Through Winter Park

Five kayas glowing in the dark parked at the shore.

For those seeking an exhilarating and unique experience of clear kayaking in Orlando, look no further than the Clear Kayak Glow in the Dark Tour Through Winter Park. Nestled just a short drive away from the bustling city of Orlando, Winter Park offers a serene escape where you can immerse yourself in the beauty of its canals.

This one-of-a-kind tour takes clear kayaking to a whole new level by incorporating LED lights. As you embark on this adventure, a knowledgeable guide will accompany you, ensuring your safety and providing insightful information about the area.

The LED lights that illuminate the kayaks create a magical ambiance, transforming the canals into a breathtaking spectacle. As you paddle along the water, the vibrant glow emanating from your kayak adds an element of wonder to the experience.

Clear Kayak Glow in the Dark Tour Through Winter Park Details

Location: 410 Ollie Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789
Duration: 2 hours
Cost of the Tour: From $70.00
How to Book: Book your tickets here online. Click here to read reviews, learn more details, and reserve your spot.

10. Wekiva River Guided Kayak Tour

Man Riding on Red Kayak on River

The Wekiva River Guided Kayak Tour is a unique way to experience the best of Orlando. This 4-hour kayak tour offers an exciting journey down the scenic river, accompanied by informative commentary about the diverse wildlife and delicate ecosystems that thrive along its banks.

Embarking on this guided tour, participants can look forward to exploring the beauty of the Wekiva River while gaining insights into its fascinating wildlife and ecosystem. The knowledgeable guides provide select commentary throughout the trip, sharing interesting facts and stories about the various species of birds, fish, and mammals in the area.

This kayaking tour in Orlando offers a fantastic experience, and one of the reasons why it stands out to me is that it includes bottled water and lunch in the price. This inclusion ensures that participants can stay hydrated throughout the excursion and have a satisfying meal.

Wekiva River Guided Kayak Tour Details:

Location: 262 Wekiva Park Dr, Sanford, FL 32771
Duration: 4 hours
Cost of the Tour: From $100.00
How to Book: Book your tickets here online. Click here to read reviews, learn more details, and reserve your spot.

Where to Stay in Orlando for the Kayaking Tours

Kissimmee Florida aerial view. Houses and mini lakes around the city and green land.

These are a few of the best neighborhoods in Orlando for tourists wanting to join a Kayaking tour:

Winter Park

One of the main reasons why Winter Park is an ideal destination for kayaking is due to its numerous lakes and rivers. The city is home to over 30 lakes, including the iconic Winter Park Chain of Lakes, which encompasses five interconnected bodies of water. These lakes provide a diverse range of kayaking experiences, from calm and peaceful waters to more challenging routes.

The Hilton Garden Inn in Winter Park, Florida is a great place to stay in the area. This hotel is near the Amway Center and Camping World Stadium. It also offers free WiFi and a 24-hour front desk clerk. Click here to find out more.


Kissimmee is ideal for a kayaking break thanks to its beautiful, natural surroundings. The city is home to stunning lakes such as Lake Tohopekaliga, Lake Kissimmee, and East Lake Tohopekaliga – all of which provide picturesque settings for kayaking adventures. These lakes are teeming with wildlife.

Embassy Suites by Hilton Orlando is an ideal place to stay for those looking to take on a kayaking adventure in Kissimmee. The hotel is located just 3.5 miles from Walt Disney World and features an outdoor pool, an on-site restaurant, and a cooked-to-order breakfast. Find out more information here.

Sanford – Best for Kayaking

One of the main reasons why Sanford is a top choice for kayaking enthusiasts is its position amongst stunning natural surroundings. The city is blessed with several pristine lakes and rivers, including Lake Monroe, the St. Johns River, and Lake Jesup.

For those seeking a stay in Sanford, I highly recommend checking out this Holiday Inn Express & Suites. Free WiFi is available to guests throughout the property and guests can enjoy a buffet, Full English/Irish or American breakfast each morning. Click here to view.

Getting Around Orlando

Man's Hand Holding Modern Car Keys Ready for Rental.

Orlando is well-connected by a network of well-maintained roads and highways, making it an ideal city for driving. The city offers many rental car services, allowing visitors the flexibility to explore the city at their own pace. Whether it’s driving to theme parks, shopping centers, or other attractions, having a rental car provides the freedom to go wherever you desire, whenever you like.

Alternatively, ride-share services like Uber and Lyft are widely available in Orlando. These services offer a convenient and cost-effective way to travel around the city without the need to navigate through traffic or worry about parking. With a simple tap on your smartphone, you can easily request a ride and be whisked away to your destination in no time.

Using a ride-share service also eliminates the need to worry about designated drivers or finding parking spaces, especially in busy areas. It’s a hassle-free option that allows you to focus on enjoying your time in Orlando without the stress of transportation logistics.

Kayaking in Orlando: FAQs

Here are some answers to commonly asked questions about the best kayaking tours in Orlando, Florida:

Can you kayak in Orlando?

Yes, you can kayak in Orlando. All options in this list offer great ways to kayak in Orlando.

Where do you kayak in Orlando?

The best places to kayak in Orlando are Winter Park, Sanford, and Kissimmee.

What is bioluminescence kayaking?

Bioluminescence kayaking is when algae and bacteria produce a glow that’s visible on the surface of the water as you paddle. It’s magical.

Is there bioluminescence in Orlando?

Yes, there is bioluminescence in Orlando.

What month is bioluminescence in Florida?

May-November is the best time of year to see bioluminescence in Florida.

Why can’t you swim in bioluminescent water?

Since some bioluminescent algae produces toxins harmful to humans it is best to avoid swimming in the water.

Can you see bioluminescence in Florida without a kayak?

Yes, you can see bioluminescence from the shore.

What is required to kayak in Florida?

There aren’t any requirements to kayak in Florida.

Do you need a tag for a kayak in Florida?

Yes, all vessels that operate on Florida waterways must be registered with the Tax Collector’s office.

Can you drink alcohol while kayaking in Florida?

It’s illegal to operate a kayak with a BAL of 0.08% or more – avoid drinking any alcohol before your kayaking adventures.

How old do you have to be to kayak in Florida?

There is no minimum age to kayak in Florida.

What is the life jacket law in Florida?

The life jacket law in Florida is as follows: passengers 6 years of age and under are required to wear a Coast Guard-approved, Type I, II, or III life jacket while on board any boat that is under 26 feet in length, while the boat is underway.

How much is it to rent a kayak in Florida?

Depending on the service you choose and the experience you opt for, the price to rent a kayak in Florida varies.

In Closing

Kayaking in Orlando offers a wonderful opportunity to connect with nature, stay active, and have fun. With its beautiful waterways and diverse wildlife, it’s an activity that can be enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. So, if you are looking for an exciting outdoor adventure while in Orlando, consider giving kayaking a try. You won’t be disappointed!

Molly McGuigan Author's Bio

Written by

Molly McGuigan

Molly Robichaux, a native of New York, made a life-changing decision in 2010 when she moved to Orlando, Florida to participate in the Disney College Program. Little did she know that this move would shape her future in ways she couldn't have imagined.

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