As you drive down to Key West, you'll see lots of mangroves in the clear turquoise water. You may find yourself with the urge to get closer to those mangroves, as we did. So we decided to take a two-hour guided kayak tour with Lazy Dog. For $35 per person, we set out with a guide and around 10 other kayaks to navigate the mangroves around Stuck Key, which is just east of Key West. Lazy Dog, which operates out of Hurricane Hole Marina, also offers kayak rentals for those who feel confident enough that they won't get lost in the back country — a map is provided and there are mile markers in the water.
For inexperienced kayakers like us, a tour was definitely the way to go. Our guide led the group through open water, down narrow mangrove "corridors" (my word not hers) and into a hurricane hole, which sounds ominous but it's actually a large, calm area of water protected by mangroves where people leave their boats when there's a big storm on the way. She brought a net with her to catch and release interesting sealife, like a starfish, an upside down jellyfish and a sea hare, which is a blobby, spotted creature that shoots purple ink when it feels like it's being threatened. We also a saw a little nurse shark swimming in the water. I was glad to have an opportunity to see the sealife because I was a little disappointed that I was unable to go snorkeling while in Key West as the water was too cold. But this kayaking adventure definitely made up for that.