While on vacation, we highly recommend you rent a watercraft and make friends with our dolphins, be amazed by our manatees, nesting shore birds, birds of prey and mega mansions.

For those interested in how the very rich exist, the north end of the island features a gated enclave of dwellings with oversized yachts and private gulfside beaches.

Now take a southern route down the intra-coastal to the Aquatic and National Estuarine Preserve called Lemon Bay.

Kayak the mangrove tunnels where spidery crabs peer at paddling humans from muddy root formations. This is where marsh birds, rarely seen elsewhere, raise their broods. You’ll be able to get up close and personal with the American bittern, snipe, king rail, woodcock, limpkin and more.

Back in open water, where the sandy bottom rises close to the surface there are beds of eel grass. This is where spawning fish and crustaceans are a delicacy for wading birds like Great Blue Heron and Snowy Egrets. In summer months, manatees frequent these spots with newborn calves to graze on their favorite “grassy” food.

Birds of prey are a common site overhead like osprey and eagles patrolling the waters for a fresh fishy catch.

To the 300-plus species of fish, birds and mammals that dwell in its shallow waters or subsist upon its shores… this is their home and we appreciate your interest in keeping it eco-friendly!

Boat Launches If bringing a boat there’s parking at Manasota Beach on the east side with kayak and boat launch sites accessing the inter-coastal and Lemon Bay.

Heading south to Blind Pass head beyond the parking lot to multiple kayak and small launch drop-in areas.

The bay waters around Stump Pass are very calm with excellent visibility as kayakers glide through tranquil waters passing mangrove islands of squawking cackling nesting birds raising their broods. The sea grasses of the shallow shoreline attract manatees and their calves while dolphins and cormorants dive below boaters for a seafood feast.

Rental Providers:

Beach Road Watersports – (941) 475-9099

Cool Breeze Boat & Jet Ski Rentals – (941) 485-3333 or (866) 544-2628

Allure Boat Rentals – 1937 Beach Road – (941) 475-2628

Island Jet Skis Tours & Rentals – 1450 Beach Road – (941) 474-1168