We, a group of 2-6 of us, paddle the 10,000 islands several times a year with the longest trip in February or March for 8 days. Depending on our agenda we typically make a base camp on either Cape Romano, Morgan Key, Kice Island, Coon Key, Gullivan Key or White Horse Key. Every day we go on day paddles to other keys or to the back country. We have visited the Southwest Gate, Shell Key, Dismal Key, Pumpkin Bay and River, Four Brothers Key and Panther Key amongst others. Although we aren't exactly tree huggers, we carry trash bags with us and pick up any garbage we may find along our way. Our favorite key is Gullivan, with its nice campsites and white sand beach. The sunset is awesome every time. We chose to purchase an old town 160k because we pack a lot of gear and food for these trips. This trip can become very difficult with any bad weather, so one should allow themselves a couple of "rain days" when planning a paddle. This is very much a wilderness paddle , so there are no facilities, bathrooms, water or markers. One must use a compass and charts, once in the backcountry everything looks alike, and it is very easy to lose the way. The wildlife is abundant with thousands of birds and many dolphin and some manatee and turtles. Some of the campable keys might have some pesky raccoons so protect your food and water. An evening campfire on the white sand beach with a cold can of beer caps every evening!
Only if you plan on entering everglades NP or if your depart from collier- seminole SP.
From I-75 take the naple/ marco/ golden gate exit to S>R 951 to 41 south to collier or everglades city or to s.r 92 to goodland or marco.
10,000 islands top spot map #n204, maptech.com- gullivan bay, fl. good books are jeff ripples- sw floridas wetland wilderness and john molloys paddlers guide to everglades NP.