Guided Eco Tours on Sarasota Bay

What is a Guided Eco Tour?

Kayak with Manatees on Sarasota Bay

Kayak with Manatees on Sarasota Bay. Guided Kayaking Eco Tours are a great way to paddle close to manatees. We are careful not to disturb them as sometimes they have young calves with them.

Guided Eco Tours focus on environmental education through interpretive guiding, respecting the wildlife, and promoting conservation. Many Tour Guides also work as wildlife monitors, volunteers for sea turtles, MOTE or wildlife rescue.

A Tour Guide is an environmentally conscious leader that educates participants on the wildlife of a particular ecosystem. Moreover, there are three main ecosystems of Florida, which include Coastal, Upland and Freshwater. All of these habitats support thousands of species of wildlife.
Yellow Crowned Knight Heron spotted on a Birding Guided Eco Tour by Kayak

How Does Supporting Eco Tourism Help Sarasota County?

Education is the key to conservation. In addition, supporting Eco Tourism in Sarasota County will lead to further conservation of our local resources. Did you know that habitat loss is the biggest conservation issue effecting thousands of species? Supporting Eco Tourism not only provides environment education to participants but it also supports small Sarasota County businesses and nonprofits.

What type of Guided Eco Tours can you take in Sarasota County?

There are many options for guided eco tours in Sarasota County. Walking and hiking tours are popular for upland environments featuring birding eco tours. The Audubon Society features unique birding eco tours throughout the state of Florida and Sarasota County. In addition, Seashore Eco Tours features guided eco tours in coastal environments. These trips offer great views of wading birds, shoreline birds, and coastal birds.

Guided Eco Tours on Sarasota Bay

Seashore Eco Tours offers two locations for Kayak Guided Eco Tours on Sarasota Bay. South Lido Key Kayak Tour explores Canopy Mangrove trails. While the Guided Eco Tour on Siesta Key takes paddlers to the Jim Neville Marine Preserve for a unique birding experience.

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Kayak Guided Eco Tours Siesta Key

Kayak Guided Eco Tour Siesta Key

Kayaking Guided Eco Tours on Siesta Key explore a hidden coastal lagoon within the Jim Neville Marine Preserve

Kayak Guided Eco Tours on Siesta Key launch from Turtle Beach.  Kayak Tours are great for all ages and ability levels as they do not require much instruction to move along on the Guided Eco Tour. Expect to see many birds in this area as The Jim Neville Marine Preserve is located about a half mile from the launch location.  The guided eco tour explores the marine preserve, a coastal lagoon and private section of beach on the southern side of Siesta Key.

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Paddle Board Guided Eco Tours Siesta Key

Paddle Board Guided Eco Tours on Siesta Key

Paddle Board Guided Eco Tours on Siesta Key feature a paddle board lesson and trip to a private section of Siesta Key Beach.

Instruction is provided on the Paddle Board Guided Eco Tours therefore this tour is more for people that are looking to learn how to paddle board while exploring the water. The Tour Guide identifies any wildlife that is spotted along the way. This Guided Eco Tour features the Jim Neville Marine Preserve and private section of Siesta Key beach.


What’s the difference between a Freshwater and Coastal Guided Eco Tour?

Seashore Eco Tours employs Florida Master Naturalist Tour Guides

Nicole Miers-Pandolfi is a Florida Master Naturalist. She will share her knowledge of the ecosystems of Southwest Florida with you on Guided Eco Kayak and Paddle Board Tours.

Coastal Guided Eco Tours are conducted in waterways with 2.5% or more salinity (Salt). The ocean is 3.5% salinity. The biodiversity of an area is dependent on the salinity in the waterway. A little bit of salt makes a big difference to the invertebrates, gastropods, and fish in an area. What may seem like a small change to us is a big shift for the environment. The Crocodilian species can only survive in freshwaters of 2% salinity and less. Therefore Freshwater Guided Eco Tours in Sarasota County all feature great sights of reptiles and alligators in Southwest Florida. Moreover, the biodiversity of a freshwater environment is completely different from a coastal environment.

An area of mixed salt and freshwater is referred to as Brackish and does not feature the same biodiversity as a coastal or marine environment. Therefore, when participants are paddling closer to a main pass, like Big Sarasota Pass they are likely to see a greater diversity of marine life than in areas further away from the pass. Moreover, these openings into the Gulf of Mexico provide a greater water exchange into Sarasota Bay. Since more water is moving in and out of these areas from the Gulf of Mexico the water is clearer closer to the pass.

Local Conservation

Other Guided Eco Tours in Sarasota County include local research facilities and nonprofits that focused on helping the marine life and wildlife in our area. MOTE Marine is located on Lido Key in Sarasota. This facility is more than just an aquarium. Since it focuses on local conservation, you’re likely to learn about issues facing Sarasota Bay.

What’s your favorite Guided Eco Tour in Sarasota County?

Share your favorite local experiences with us. Or let us know if missed something. Please feel free to comment below. We will update our posting with your favorite guided eco tours in Sarasota County. Happy Exploring!

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About the Author

I am a Florida native and avid paddler. Certifications include PaddleFit, WPA, American Red Cross Lifeguarding, First Aid, CPR, and RYT 200. I love the water and have been working as a guide for years. I have been writing for and WaterLine Weekly since June 2013.