1000 Islands at Cocoa Beach – A Sea Life Paradise

1000 Islands Cocoa Beach

If you love fishing or paddle sports then the 1000 Islands at Cocoa Beach is a most wonderful place to explore! Unfortunately, there is little information to be found either in print or online about the 1000 Islands – until now!

Mangrove Tunnel
1000 Islands Mangrove Tunnel (click to enlarge)

Here we will share as much as we can find out about one of our favorite places in Brevard County. Maps, paddle routes, hiking trails (yes you can hike on some of the small islands), what to see and where to see it.

A Quick Summary of the 1000 Island Experience

  • Officially, it is called the Thousand Islands Conservation Area
  • The area is rich in sea life and birds and with scenic mangrove tunnels
  • It offers shelter from windy and choppy conditions on the rivers – easier paddling
  • The launch areas (Ramp Rd and Country Club) are easy to use.
  • Stay aware of your surroundings (GPS is suggested) – you can get lost!
  • It is best to stay on the outside channels during your first few visits until you are familiar with the conditions and geography
  • The water between the islands is mostly very shallow (6 inches to 2 feet at most). Do not bring a long skeg when using a SUP!
  • Dolphin and manatee will be in the deeper water so focus on the boating channels for sightings
  • Use the Church Tower (shown on our map below) as a navigational reference in case you get lost. The Launch is to its left!

Maps

Google Earth is a good place to start and we use Google Maps to plot our GPS waypoints and tracks. This is work in progress and it will be for many years to come – please know one can spend a lifetime in the 1000 Islands and still discover new mangrove tunnels, paddle routes and enclaves.

You can also open our 1000 Island Map in a browser on your phone.

On the map you can see the launch areas, hiking trails, important waypoints (junctions, etc) and tracks of paddle trips. There are hundreds more routes to paddle and we will add others over time!

Please click on each icon or track for more information and pictures.

Tour Companies and Rentals

Please read our Guide for Paddle Tours and Rentals for more information about guided tours and rentals at the 1000 Islands.

Hiking Trails

Who knew you can hike on one of the 1000 Islands! As shown on our map, North Crawford island to the north of Ramp Rd has a short 0.4 mile flat trail and a nice little ramp to launch your SUP or kayak.

The trail itself is not very exciting but it gives one an opportunity to photograph birds and learn about plants that are not so easy to do from a wobbly kayak or SUP!

Hiking Trail Launch
1000 Islands Hiking Trail Launch (click to enlarge)

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Kayaking Near Port Canaveral and Cocoa Beach

Kayaking!

The brochures show crystal-clear blue water with playful dolphins leading the way as kayakers paddle between pods of friendly manatees.

Often, however, that’s not what folks experience and the kayaking shore trip activities get mixed reviews as a result – a shame! The Port Canaveral/Cocoa Beach area is perfect for water-based exploration and kayaking is one of the most popular adventures in the area. You just need to plan properly and manage your expectations!

Kayaking at Manatee Cove
Kayaking at Manatee Cove (click to enlarge)

Kayaking Tips

Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your kayaking shore trip:

  • At the coast weather can be unpredictable. You may have to brave strong wind and small waves on the river.
  • Know your capabilities and book an excursion that you can handle! You have to paddle to get around – there is no floating downstream here!
  • Come prepared with sunscreen, thin gloves, wide-rimmed hat, sunglasses (with retainer), bug repellent, sandals that stay on your feet (not flip-flops),  waterproof camera, comfortable clothes. For longer tours bring water and/or energy drinks and snacks.
  • Sightings are not guaranteed and the water is often murky. Also understand that manatee sightings are fewer during the colder months (Dec-Mar).
  • All kayaking tours are not the same. Read below to learn about the differences in terms of group sizes, kayaks, launch locations, etc.

How To Book a Kayaking Trip

There are 4 ways to do a kayaking adventure near Port Canaveral.

  1. Book a shore excursion with your cruise company
  2. Book a guided tour with one of the outfitters listed below – RECOMMENDED
  3. Rent a kayak, either at the launch site or have it delivered to the launch area. Then explore on your own, however, we recommend a guided tour instead.
  4. Rent a kayak at or near the beach to play in the ocean – this is really a beach-related activity for experienced folks and we list a few beach rental companies below
Kayak Tour
Kayak Tour (click to enlarge)

Kayaking outfitters offering guided tours

Most of these companies do not have offices to visit – they store/transport their kayaks on trailers not far from their favorite launch sites. Once booked, you will receive directions to the meeting or launch place which will be chosen based on season, sealife reports, currents, wind strength/direction, etc.

The prices, tours and locations listed here do change so PLEASE contact each company for accurate information!

Outfitter Rates  Tour Times / Locations
Calypso Kayaking $35.00 9am, 12pm, 3pm, 6:30pm
Two hour tour at 1000 Islands. Launch mostly from Ramp Road or Country Club
Fin Expeditions $40.00 8am to 8:30am or 12:30pm to 1pm
Two hour tour at 1000 Islands. Launch from Ramp Road
Adventure Kayak $35.00 7am to whenever – based on bookings
Two and a half hours at various locations including 1000 Islands (Ramp Road).
Lazy Days Kayak $35.00 Morning and Afternoon – based on bookings
Two and a half hours at 1000 Islands (Ramp Road).
Relax Kayaks $35.00 On the hour – Based on bookings
Two hours at 1000 Islands (Ramp Road).
A1A Beach Rentals call 9:30am, 1:30pm (but flexible)
Half day tours at various locations including 1000 Islands (Ramp Road).
SoBe Surf $75.00 Between 9am and 3:30pm based on bookings
Two hours starting at the Veterans Memorial Launch
 Calema Watersports  $40.00  Early AM and late PM
Tours start at Kelly Park to an island near Canaveral Lock

Kayak rental companies

They may or may not deliver kayaks depending on many factors such as time of day, season and your location. You may have to rent a roof rack system if you have a rental car. It is best to call and ask about these things before renting.

The easiest way is to rent at the launch site from companies who park their trailers there for a day! You just show up in your rental car or with Uber/taxi and your kayak will be waiting! Try Calypso at the 1000 Islands.

  • Relaxed Kayaks
  • A1A Beach Rentals
  • Wildlife Watersports
  • Calypso Kayaking
  • SoBe Surf
  • Calema Watersports
  • Surf & Ski Watersports
  • Ron Jon Watersports
  • Cocoa Beach Rentals
  • Last Chance Cafe & Bait

Kayak Launch Spots

This map shows the popular kayak launch areas in the area. For newcomers or cruisers we suggest to focus on the 1000 Islands at Ramp Road for your first kayaking adventure. Please read our Guide to the 1000 Islands at Cocoa Beach.

 

Country Club Launch
Country Club Launch (click to enlarge)
Ulumay Launch
Ulumay Launch (click to enlarge)
Ulumay Launch to Sykes Creek
Ulumay Launch to Sykes Creek (click to enlarge)
Wall Street Launch
Wall Street Launch (click to enlarge)
Veterans Memorial Launch
Veterans Memorial Launch (click to enlarge)
Ramp Road Launch
Ramp Road Launch (click to enlarge)
Kiwanis Launch
Kiwanis Launch (click to enlarge)
Banana River Park Launch
Banana River Park Launch (click to enlarge)
Last Chance Launch
Last Chance Launch (click to enlarge)
Kelly Park Launch
Kelly Park Launch (click to enlarge)

Pictures and Video

Adventure Kayak

Adventure Kayak of Cocoa Beach
Adventure Kayak of Cocoa Beach (click to enlarge)
Adventure Kayak of Cocoa Beach
Adventure Kayak of Cocoa Beach (click to enlarge)

Calypso Kayaking

Calypso Kayaking
Calypso Kayaking (click to enlarge)

Fin Expeditions

Fin Expeditions
Fin Expeditions (click to enlarge)

SoBe Surf

SoBe Surf
SoBe Surf