Key West Backcountry Safari
Spend an unforgettable day sailing emerald waters, kayaking mangrove-shaded channels and snorkeling coral gardens in an unspoiled marine wilderness.
- Voyage into the Backcountry under sail on a traditional 65ft Skipjack schooner.
- Listen to a historical chart talk and learn about Key West maritime history.
- Paddle a kayak on a guided tour through the mangrove island ecosystem.
- Snorkel unspoiled waters to encounter tropical fish and exotic marine life.
- Enjoy beverages, snacks and a delicious picnic lunch afloat.
- Relax on a deserted island beach or remote sandbar.
- Celebrate happy hour in paradise with cold beer, wine and sodas.
The inhabited islands of the Florida Keys are just one small part of a 100-mile-long strip of shallow water flats, tangled channels and wild mangrove islands separating the Atlantic Ocean from the Gulf of Mexico. Much of this vast area is untouched marine wilderness preserved as the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and in several wildlife refuges and national parks that lie within the Sanctuary. This is the Florida Keys Backcountry – the last remaining example of wild, untouched Florida and one of North America’s premiere ecotourism destinations. This nearly pristine environment is notable not only for its incredible variety of marine and bird life but also for the ease of access offered by its proximity to the bustling resort island of Key West. Key West visitors who love unspoiled nature will want to take advantage of the opportunity to explore the world of primal beauty and natural serenity that awaits just a short sail offshore.
Our Key West Backcountry Safari is the perfect way to do just that. You will board a custom-designed replica of a 19th century Skipjack schooner and set sail out into the Key West National Wildlife Refuge to spend a day kayaking and snorkeling in a wonderland of clear water flats, coral patch reefs and mangrove islands. The marine topography of the Backcountry makes an ideal setting for this type of expedition as it is nearly always possible to find the calm, sheltered waters and good visibility that are perfect for kayaking and snorkeling. With the schooner moored off a choice mangrove island, you will be free to paddle through the shaded channels with an expert guide, don mask and snorkel to explore patch reefs and sponge gardens or simply relax and take in the sun, scenery and silence.
Simple to use even for total novices, the modern sea kayak is perfect for poking around the shallow water domains of mangrove-canopied islands. Agile and silent, the kayak will let you approach and observe the wildlife that lives both in and above the water. Spot exotic birds both migrant and resident, small invertebrates, tropical fish, rays, sharks, sport fish and maybe even a sea turtle. If it is your first time in a kayak, a few minutes of instruction from your guide will have you paddling like an old hand. The same goes for beginner snorkelers - a bit of friendly expert help and you will be ready to enjoy this exciting yet incredibly relaxing water sport. A few flips of your fins will let you glide effortlessly through the amazing underwater world of beautiful corals, lush sponge gardens, colorful tropical fish and incredible marine life of all varieties.
After a morning in and on the water, the crew will set sail again and a delicious picnic lunch will be laid out to tempt you with artisanal breads, deli meats and cheeses, curried chicken, tuna, and pasta salads, tropical fruit and beverages including soda, wine and beer. Eat lunch on deck, and if the weather holds, your captain will take you to a deserted island beach or sugar-white sand bar where you can celebrate the day with a cold beverage and some more exploration or just pure relaxation.
Don’t miss this unique opportunity to experience the wild side of Key West and a day full of fun on the water. Take an eco-tour into a marine environment that is world-renowned for its natural beauty and variety of life yet so easy to reach with a simple day trip. Everything is included – all you need is your swimsuit, beach bag and camera. Make your reservations now and plan an unforgettable Backcountry Safari into your Key West itinerary.
- Reservations are REQUIRED for all bookings
- Book Your Package On-Line
- Get Your Confirmation
- Duration: 6.5 Hours (approx.)
- Departure point: Detailed check-in instructions - including address, Google map, and parking information - will be included in your final confirmation email.
All Equipment and Instruction
Snorkeling Guided Kayak Tour
Lunch of chicken, tuna, pasta salads, deli meats and cheeses, artisan breads, and a little something sweet!
Wetsuits in the Winter Months
Water and Sodas Unlimited Beer and Wine (after snorkeling)
What To Bring
- Confirmation Voucher (printed or mobile)
- Any required or suggested items listed on your confirmation email.
- A Smile!
Likely To Sell Out
Spaces are extremely limited this time of year so book early to ensure the date you want.
Voucher Confirmation Info
This tour accepts both printed and electronic vouchers (e-vouchers). You can either print the voucher and present a paper copy on the day of travel. Or, if you travel with a mobile device, simply show your Photo ID and present your voucher on your Smartphone or tablet on the day of travel.
Local Operator Information
Complete operator information, including local telephone number, will be included on your Confirmation Voucher.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the weather cancellation policy?
If the Key West Backcountry Safari must be canceled due to bad weather, and you cannot go on another day, you will be issued a full refund by Cool Destinations.
Where is the meeting point for this activity?
Detailed check-in instructions – including meeting point address, Google map, and parking information – for Key West Backcountry Safari will be included in your final confirmation email from Cool Destinations. Please be sure to double and triple check your email address is correct at checkout so this important email makes it way to you!
Where can I park my car?
Detailed parking instructions for Key West Backcountry Safari will be included in your confirmation email.
What do I need to show at check-in?
Cool Destinations activities accept both printed and electronic vouchers (e-vouchers). You can either print the voucher and present a paper copy on the day of travel. Or, if you travel with a mobile device, simply show your Photo ID and present your voucher on your Smartphone or tablet on the day of travel.
I am unable to locate the check-in. What should I do?
If you arrive for your activity start point and you are unable to locate the check-in location, we first recommend calling the local contact phone number found on your confirmation email. If you are unable to reach the local contact, we will be more than happy to help you out.
Can I book this activity when I get there?
Cool Destinations activities can only be booked online. It is recommended you pre-book your travel service to avoid disappointment as many of our tours and products are popular and can be sold out early. Therefore, visitors are encouraged to pre-book to ensure a satisfying, worry-free vacation.
Are my credit card details safe?
Your info’s safe with Cool Destinations. We take data protection very seriously and have a 100% secure checkout for all transactions.
1) We use SSL to encrypt all data on the website and use a tokenized processing system from Stripe.
2) Stripe has been audited by a PCI-certified auditor and is certified to PCI Service Provider Level 1.
3) Our servers are monitored 24/7 for malicious activity and unauthorized access attempts.
Are gratuities (tip) included in the price?
No. On most Cool Destinations tours and activities with guides, mates, captains, and assistance, tips are not included. Our general recommendation is 18-20% when you enjoy a quality service experience.
Can I book an activity and leave it open dated?
The majority of travel services provided by Cool Destinations must have a pre-booked date designated in order for the activity to cater for passengers. Exceptions to this are attraction passes, hop on/hop off buses and trolley tours.
When do I need to arrive for check-in?
Unless otherwise noted, please arrive for check-in 30 minutes before your Key West Backcountry Safari begins. The exact start time may be based on your chosen options and will be noted on the confirmation you receive after booking.
“The electric car we rented was clean and easy to drive. Shuttle picked us up quickly and was also clean and new. Driver was very informative and friendly. Great prices and a great time. No problems We will be back!”Michael Darnall
“Capt Gary and first mate Justin were very sharp and effective getting us trained and setup in a couple solid spots on a windy morning. Great job and very friendly. I look forward to going again when I return.”Joseph O'Brien
“I booked the wrong day, and the staff was helpful, friendly and polite about getting us a car on the spot. Thank you!”Phil Polderdyke