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Kayaking the Everglades: Exploring the River of Grass

Program No. 21349RJ
Discover the delicate beauty of Florida’s Everglades with experts and naturalists, discussing the region’s unique ecology, history and culture as you kayak this great American preserve.
6 days
Rating (4.91)
Activity Level
Starts at

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No shuttle Roundtrip airport transfer
Accommodation Details

Excludes round-trip airport shuttle transfers to and from the program location.

Accommodation Details

Includes round-trip airport shuttle transfers to and from the program location.

Feb 12 - Feb 17, 2023
No transfer 1,899
Roundtrip airport transfer 1,999
Feb 19 - Feb 24, 2023
No transfer 1,899
Roundtrip airport transfer 1,999
Mar 5 - Mar 10, 2023
No transfer 1,899
Roundtrip airport transfer 1,999
Mar 19 - Mar 24, 2023
No transfer 1,899
Roundtrip airport transfer 1,999
Nov 12 - Nov 17, 2023
No transfer 1,649
Roundtrip airport transfer 1,749
Dec 10 - Dec 15, 2023
No transfer 1,649
Roundtrip airport transfer 1,749


No shuttle Roundtrip airport transfer
Accommodation Details

Excludes round-trip airport shuttle transfers to and from the program location.

Accommodation Details

Includes round-trip airport shuttle transfers to and from the program location.

Feb 12 - Feb 17, 2023
No transfer 2,369
Roundtrip airport transfer 2,469
Feb 19 - Feb 24, 2023
No transfer 2,369
Roundtrip airport transfer 2,469
Mar 5 - Mar 10, 2023
No transfer 2,369
Roundtrip airport transfer 2,469
Mar 19 - Mar 24, 2023
No transfer 2,369
Roundtrip airport transfer 2,469
Nov 12 - Nov 17, 2023
No transfer 1,929
Roundtrip airport transfer 2,029
Dec 10 - Dec 15, 2023
No transfer 1,929
Roundtrip airport transfer 2,029

At a Glance

When Marjory Stoneman Douglas published her book “The Everglades: River of Grass” in 1947, she called attention to the deterioration of the largest wilderness east of the Mississippi. Since then, the establishment of the National Park and painstaking restoration and preservation efforts have helped maintain the Everglades as a natural treasure. With experts and naturalists, kayak the subtropical rivers that flow through it to experience the beauty of its pristine estuaries and to gain personal understanding of what makes its ecology unique.
Activity Level
Outdoor: No Sweat
Paddling up to six miles, walking up to two miles per day. Getting on and off motor coach and vans.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Experience a twilight paddle on the East River.
  • Paddle through the 10,000 Islands and learn the history of Calusa Shell Mound settlers who raised tomatoes on the islands in the early 1900s.
  • Learn about unique adaptations of flora and fauna from a naturalist in Big Cypress National Preserve.

General Notes

Kayaking equipment provided. Airport Transfer at added cost.
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Marya Repko
Author Marya Repko grew up in Hadlyme, Conn., but lived most of her adult life in Europe as a software engineer. After retirement, she moved to Everglades City, Fla., where her first book, “A Brief History of the Everglades City Area” has sold thousands of copies. She is also the author of other brief histories on the Fakahatchee and Sanibel Island. Marya is the president of the Everglades Society for Historic Preservation and co-editor of a bi-weekly local newspaper The Mullet Rapper.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Marya Repko
Marya Repko View biography
Author Marya Repko grew up in Hadlyme, Conn., but lived most of her adult life in Europe as a software engineer. After retirement, she moved to Everglades City, Fla., where her first book, “A Brief History of the Everglades City Area” has sold thousands of copies. She is also the author of other brief histories on the Fakahatchee and Sanibel Island. Marya is the president of the Everglades Society for Historic Preservation and co-editor of a bi-weekly local newspaper The Mullet Rapper.
Profile Image of Dillon Griffin
Dillon Griffin View biography
As a professional back country navigator, Dillon is blessed to have spent most of his career sharing areas such as The Everglades, in southern Florida, and the Appalachian Mountains of Western North Carolina. He credits his education and upbringing for instilling a strong passion for the great outdoors and exposing people to new environments. His programs reflect his understanding of the importance of preserving and protecting our public lands. While away from work, Dillon enjoys spending time with family, and in the outdoors.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
The Everglades: River of Grass
by Marjory Stoneman Douglas
Before 1947, when Marjory Stoneman Douglas named the Everglades a ""river of grass,"" most people considered the area worthless. She brought the world's attention to the need to preserve the Everglades. In the Afterword, Michael Grunwald tells us what has happened to them since then. Grunwald points out that in 1947 the government was in the midst of establishing the Everglades National Park and turning loose the Army Corps of Engineers to control floods--both of which seemed like saviors for the Glades. But neither turned out to be the answer. Working from the research he did for his book, The Swamp, Grunwald offers an account of what went wrong and the many attempts to fix it, beginning with Save Our Everglades, which Douglas declared was ""not nearly enough.""
The Story of Barron Collier: A History for Younger Readers
by Marya Repko
Marya Repko delves into the story of Barron Collier; an entrepreneur whose investments in Florida early in the 1920's helped it become the place that it is today. After dropping out of high school at age 16, Collier went on to start a successful streetcar advertising business in New York City before turning his interests in Florida. He led numerous efforts to develop the Everglades swamps; building roads, hotels, and telephone systems, and attracting wealthy tourists to the region.
Endangered and Threatened Animals of Florida and Their Habitats (Corrie Herring Hooks Series)
by Chris Scott
A biological crossroads where temperate gives way to tropical and east blends into west, Florida has over twenty-five primary habitat types, several of which are unique to the state. Within these richly varied natural communities lives an astonishing abundance of animals and plants, making Florida one of the United States' most biologically diverse regions. At the same time, sadly, Florida is also one of the country's most ecologically imperiled regions, second only to California in the number of its animals and plants that have been federally designated as endangered or threatened. This fully illustrated book is a comprehensive, yet convenient and easy-to-understand guide to Florida's endangered and threatened animals and the habitats that support them. Chris Scott covers all 71 species, subspecies, or populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, crustaceans, insects, corals, and mollusks. His species accounts describe each animal's listed status, identifying characteristics, historical and current distribution, biology, current threats, and conservation efforts. To make the crucial link between animals and their habitats, Scott also includes extensive discussions of Florida's natural regions; human impacts on the environment, including habitat destruction, pollution, and the introduction of invasive, nonnative species; and ongoing efforts to conserve and restore native plant and animal communities. With this wealth of information available in no other single volume, everyone who cares about the natural environment can help preserve one of America's biological treasurehouses.
Adventure Guide to The Florida Keys & Everglades National Park (3rd Ed)
by Joyce Huber and Jon Huber
An adventure guide to the Florida Keys and the Everglades National Park. It offers a mix of practical travel information along with details of adventurous activities, which should be fun for everyone no matter what their age or ability. The volume provides information on the history, culture, climate and geography of the area, covering its people and their roots, museums, historic sites and local attractions. The adventures include diving, canoeing, birdwatching, deep-sea fishing, aerial tours and swamp hiking. Then there is advice on where to eat and stay, transportation, practical concerns, useful websites, e-mail addresses, tourism offices and detailed regional and town maps, that feature walking and driving tours.
The Swamp: The Everglades, Florida, and the Politics of Paradise
by Michael Grunwald
The Everglades was once reviled as a liquid wasteland, and Americans dreamed of draining it. Now it is revered as a national treasure, and Americans have launched the largest environmental project in history to try to save it. The Swamp is the stunning story of the destruction and possible resurrection of the Everglades, the saga of man's abuse of nature in southern Florida and his unprecedented efforts to make amends. Michael Grunwald, a prize-winning national reporter for The Washington Post, takes readers on a riveting journey from the Ice Ages to the present, illuminating the natural, social and political history of one of America's most beguiling but least understood patches of land.
47 Reviews
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4.91 Average
(5) Review left 1/31/2023

Kayaking the Everglades: the River of Grass was an amazing experience. How often does one get to paddle with enthusiastic new friends in a sunny, tropical locale amidst alligators and flocks of colorful birds? Everything from local seafood, knowledgeable history and wildlife presenters, and exhilarating paddles in a unique setting made it the perfect adventure trip for this solo traveler!

(5) Review left 1/30/2023

The Everglade kayaking trip was FANTASTIC! Our group leader, Dillion, was great! He was knowledgeable, organized and available for any questions or problems. LOVED seeing all of the alligators and learning about them! It was great to spend time with different people through out the trip. Our whole group was welcoming and fun to get to know. Highly recommend this trip!

(5) Review left 1/22/2023

If you, like me are interested in visiting as many of our national parks as possible on your bucket list put Kayaking the Everglades - The River of Grass at the top of your list. Faith Herschler

(5) Review left 12/17/2022

Have you ever dreamed of exploring The River of Grass and experiencing The Real Florida up close and personal? I am so glad I signed up for the Everglades Road Scholars paddle tour and fulfilled my dream! Outstanding!

(5) Review left 3/25/2022

This is great opportunity to learn more about the Florida Everglades. Don’t worry about the alligators.

(5) Review left 3/12/2022

What a revelation this trip was as we explored the side-by-side Everglades National Park and the Big Cypress National Preserve. One might think it was all a big, smelly, muddy, bug-infested swamp. NOT AT ALL! Instead, it's a rich, green, pristine environment, encompassing numerous biohabitats, filled with varied bird life, alligators too numerous to count, and some of the most beautiful waterways we've ever kayaked. Dillon and Tom—trip planners, tour guides, van drivers, Everglades Explainers Extraordinaire—were personable, accessible, flexible, fun. Everglades City as the center of our stay, and world headquarters of the Stone Crab industry, is the perfect location in the middle of it all. In fact, it might be fun to add a walking tour of Grimm’s Seafood just to marvel at how this delicacy is made available to the world. The pace was perfect with just the right combination of active, energetic kayaking and leisure time to explore area and take in the natural beauty. Highlights include the mangrove tunnels, the sleepy-eyed alligators, darting kingfishers and stately egrets and herons, soaring pelicans, alas no panthers, thank goodness no pythons. And in March, blissfully mosquito-free! Guest speakers included a local writer on the cultural history of the area and an archeologist on the evolution of the Everglades and the human impact on this unique river of grass. The National Park Service also provided a guest speaker on the ecology of the Everglades. This trip is everything Road Scholar promises: a focus on lifelong learning with experts in the field, combined with an active and energetic outdoor connection with the land and water, plus a compatible and personable group of fellow travelers. —Ben and Joyce Wiley, Largo, FL

(5) Review left 3/10/2022

A little kayaking here, a little environmentalism there. We had something for everyone who appreciates the great out-of-doors & fun in it.

(5) Review left 2/20/2022

Great trip. You will learn so much about this unique area of our country. The paddling is easy, and the scenery and birds are enchanting. The trip is very well organized and the guide is friendly and knowledgeable.

(5) Review left 2/07/2022

If you like to kayak, this is an interesting trip. The waters were all calm and there was very little issue with currents and no fast waters. If you want to experience some of the Everglades, this trip is worth taking. We saw quite a few gators and some interesting birds. Everglades City is a very small town and therefore has no large city stores or restaurants.

(5) Review left 1/31/2022

A jaw-dropping adventure in the mangrove/cypress wilderness of the Everglades. Truly a standout trip! We were comfortable and well-fed throughout, and the paddling was great. We had 2 field trips and 3 other classes that were all simply fascinating. Highly recommended!

(5) Review left 1/29/2022

A wonderful trip in understanding the Everglades up close and personal. Our trip leader, Dillon, and guide, Tom, were most accommodating thorough out the paddles...sharing, guiding, explaining... the wonders along the wonderful waterways within portion of the SW Everglades. What an amazing water world they assisted me to understand. Highly recommend this Road Scholar adventure.

(5) Review left 1/28/2022

Even though I live in Florida and have visited the Everglades often, I greatly enjoyed the Kayaking trip. I learned many new things about the Everglades, made new friends, and got ideas for further adventures in the Everglades. The daily paddles were enjoyable, meditative, and informational. The guides were true gems of local knowledge and kept the safety of the participants at the forefront. We got to sample local cuisine and learn about pythons, gators, and stone crabbing. Whether you have been to Florida or not, I recommend taking this wonderful kayaking adventure and learning more about the Everglades.

(5) Review left 1/24/2022

Such a great trip! It was well-organized and safe for all, but most of all I appreciated being in a warm (I live in the northern U.S.), different and beautiful part of our world.

(5) Review left 12/27/2021

This trip was amazing! I loved all of the opportunities we had to get up close and personal with the nature of the Everglades. The birds were absolutely fascinating and the mangroves, so impressive. Our guides were very knowledgeable, competent, and organized and the place we stayed was very comfortable. I only wished it could have been 5 full days for 5 days of paddling!

(4) Review left 12/23/2021

Fun trip with great paddles, instructors, lodging and food. Two of the paddles were a bit long and without a break.

(5) Review left 12/20/2021

"The greats"- guides, accommodations, food, location, paddling, informational lectures and site visits.

(4) Review left 12/20/2021

The everglades is a unique place and this will be a trip unlike any other. You will see many different birds and may see alligators, panthers, crocodiles, manatee, python and fire ants. You will see gumbo limbo, pond apple and mangrove trees and might see a poison tree. You will need a guide and road Scholar provides a good one.

(5) Review left 12/18/2021

Physically challenging in a remarkable setting. I was glad that I trained a bit during the 6-weeks prior to the trip; were I to take the trip again, I would train even more. Spacious and welcoming motel. Great leaders, interesting participants.

(5) Review left 12/18/2021

If you are at all interested in the Everglades and want to try your hand at kayaking, this is an amazing trip!

(5) Review left 12/17/2021

This is one of the best kayaking programs I've attended. The kayak trips were well coordinated, the accomodations were stellar as were the meals, as was the leader. Come visit Everglades City! You won't be disappointed!

This reviewer did not give a star rating. Review left 12/11/2021

Great guides! Enjoyed the evening discussions. All the topics were interesting. The night paddle was beautiful. Loved the moon reflecting off the water. The food was very good.

(5) Review left 11/20/2021

The Kayaking the Everglades program was exceptional. I looked forward to the actual kayaking experiences in the various eco systems, but I also wanted to meet like-minded folk, and did. The accommodations in Everglades City were very good and the food choices and local area restaurants were excellent. The program was very well organized and met all by expectations.

(5) Review left 3/07/2020

Thrilling trip.

(5) Review left 3/01/2020

As an avid paddler the Everglades has been on my list for 10 plus years. This is the first trip I took with Road Scholar and I cannot say enough wonderful things about the whole experience. The accommodations at the Ivey House were very comfortable. The staff were friendly and professional. The food was plentiful and excellent. Our extraordinary guide and leader, Dillon, was amazing. His knowledge of and respect for the flora and fauna of the Everglades was astonishing and evident. He organized and wrangled boats and paddlers alike and often said his priority was giving us the best experience ever. And he didn't miss the mark! His second, Tom, was as patient and knowledgeable as well. Dillon and Tom's professionalism provided a first rate trip. The speakers and educators that expanded the program were wonderful at sharing a more intimate look into the Everglades magic and history. The local businesses of the charming Everglades City were welcoming and helpful as well. My fellow RSers were a wonderful group of like minded persons. Each and every one of them provided another element of excellence to this trip. I look forward to booking my next Road Scholar adventure!

This reviewer did not give a star rating. Review left 2/22/2020

We both enjoyed our time on the water. Four outings was the right number for our beginner level of interest. As always (the website tells us we have been on over a half-dozen small group events) we enjoyed the participants as well as the safety-conscious leaders. Several of our group felt comfortable doing every other kayaking trip, rather than the whole program...good leadership to encourage us to stay within our comfort zone.

(5) Review left 2/22/2020

Loved Everglade City, still much undeveloped, not commercialized but wonderfully quirky. No boutique stores here but great shirts at the Ivey House and the Bait & Tackle shop. Excellent place for singles as restaurants and and bars are comfortable (have fun meeting the locals). Everglade adventure guides attentive and easy going. They have a fun sense of humor; so patient with questions (reminder to read your Information Packet so there will be more time for fun activities). The Ivey House is charming and very clean. Truly thrilling to kayak among alligators and see the wonderful bird life. But if you never kayaked reconsider - getting in and out of kayaks proved challenging to several in the group. Would have liked a presentation on hurricane damages and reconstruction efforts.

(3) Review left 2/12/2020

If the program is revised, so that you get to walk the trails and actually see some of the Everglades, it will be a wonderful program. The kakaking is great.

This reviewer did not give a star rating. Review left 2/04/2020

AWESOME TRIP! And Dillon was the best trip leader ever. Kayaks were in great conditions. Hotel comfortable and clean with good variety at breakfast. Restaurants good except for the Island Cafe - 1/2 hour wait for dreadful food.

(5) Review left 2/03/2020

Had a wonderful time! Dillon and Tom did a great job of guiding our group thru a fascinating variety of waterways and walks, sharing information about the plants, animals, and history of the area. I'm not a birder, but was very happy to see 5 or more different types of heron, plus osprey, eagle, roseate spoonbills, and more. We also saw manatees. Tom shared a photo of a panther pawprint he found. The kayaks were comfortable and very beginner friendly, the short van rides to and from our stops were also comfortable. I really enjoyed paddling through the Mangroves and out in the bays - so different from the paddling at home. The length and pace of the paddling trips was just right for me. The hotel was very comfortable, and served delicious dinners. Breakfasts were the same every morning, but were varied enough to eat something different each day if we wanted. Hotel sack lunches were hearty - the hoagies were too big, in fact. I also enjoyed the meals eaten out: only one disappointed. We got a lot of information about the history of the Everglades region, the plants and animals, the human history, etc. There was more repetition than I cared for, with different presenters/info films covering the same information.

(5) Review left 1/30/2020

For anyone who does not remember when she last kayaked but really likes the sound of this trip, GO.You'll be fine and want to do it again.

(5) Review left 1/21/2020

While this program is listed as "no sweat" it is apparently interpreted by some as "no experience needed." It attracted some people who had no experience kayaking or last paddled 10 years ago when they were in their 70's. The group, rightly so, can only do as much as the slowest member and that can be a disappointment to more active people. Some improvement in the self selection process is necessary. While the trip states you may paddle up to 6 miles a day, it was more like 2 or 3. It is not about the distance traveled, but it limits your exploration and what you can see.

(5) Review left 12/23/2019

The trip was great, the tour guides were wonderful, we had a great time and we want to do it again.

(5) Review left 12/13/2019

The kayaking in the River of Grass (Everglades) was a great, exciting and a rewarding experience. The leadership was outstanding and very professional. Kayaking through mangrove coves was a thrill and challenging but the leadership made it easy.

(5) Review left 11/25/2019

This trip is well worth the effort. Expertise in kayaking is not required; some experience is helpful but you can enjoy without much experience. Leader and Guides are super.

(5) Review left 11/23/2019

Wonderful program and enjoyable participants. Kayaking was a new experience for me, and with a little effort I was able to keep up. Our program leader was great and worked hard to make sure everyone was comfortable and got the most out of the trip.

(5) Review left 11/22/2019

This is a wonderful and unique way to learn more about the Everglades. Dillon, our group leader, does an outstanding job with all levels of kayaking and makes certain you have a great experience in the magical Everglades.

(5) Review left 6/15/2019

I am usually a hiker, but the best way to see the Everglades is on the water. As a novice paddler, the pace of this trip was just right for me -- exploring small waterways and mangrove tunnels, and seeing the many sides of the Everglades. Lots of wildlife on this trip, from alligators and turtles to a great variety of birds. The evening paddle with headlamps illuminating the eyes of alligators hiding under the mangroves was not to be missed. One stormy day cancelled our planned water trip, but the guides instead took us on a short walk and a boardwalk tour with lots of information and close-up viewing of Everglades flora and fauna. Both guides were experienced, good teachers, and very nice. The Ivey House was very comfortable and although Everglades City is a small town, it had several options for tasty dinners.

(5) Review left 3/23/2019

This was a very enjoyable trip. Location and accommodations were great. Paddling was easy and allowed for lots of enjoyment of plant and animal life. Enjoyed the camaraderie of the group. Best of all was the highly-skilled leader, Dillon. He is not only very knowledgeable in all aspects of the local area and outdoor skills but is a truly nice guy with great people skills.

(5) Review left 3/14/2019

A terrific trip, saw many kinds of birds, turtles and alligators. Paddled in the mangrove tunnels, and even had an evening paddle. Our leader was the best.

(5) Review left 3/11/2019

The program was well organized. Our instructor provided us with a wealth of information on the plants, birds and overall ecology. With a small group of 10 we got to know each other quickly and had fun.

(5) Review left 2/27/2019

It was a wonderful trip. The weather was good, the guides excellent, the food was okay, the arrangements worked out well, and the hotel just fine. The Everglades kayak tours were spectacular! Not often does one get to see a full moon, rise, at night, in the Everglades, while in a kayak. Everglades City is a quint, quiet, friendly town with some great seafood restaurants and interesting tourists attractions. I'd do it again except that there are many other Road Scholar trips I plan to take. Thanks.

(5) Review left 2/11/2019

Don't hesitate to try this adventure. While no paddling experience is necessary, it would be helpful if you have sat in a canoe or kayak. Balance is a key factor. The guides are great and the pace is slow and easy. The history of this gem like no other in the world, and the activities out weigh the traditional box lunches that are necessary to fit in all the adventures during the day. If you are looking for fine dining, this trip is not for you. However, what you will experience will stay with you forever. A very special part of nature that will not be here much longer.

(5) Review left 2/11/2019

RoadScholar programming is extensive and varied--one can find a range of physical activity, many types of intellectual engagement, diverse destinations, and prices for many different budgets.

(5) Review left 2/10/2019

If you have any interest in the wilderness and enjoy kayaking, this is the trip to take. The four paddles were all great learning opportunities, but my favorite was the twilight paddle. Gliding through the Everglades while seeing our headlamps reflected in the eyes of the alligators was an extraordinary experiences.

(5) Review left 2/09/2019

This was an outstanding tour. I wasn't sure how I'd like being relatively close to gators but the guides eased us into it, so that the twilight tour on the 2nd day, in the dark, with headlamps illuminating the gators' eyes, was magical! So many birds, gators, bromeliads and other plants. I learned a lot.

(5) Review left 2/04/2019

This program is an ideal way experience nature's magic in the Everglades in a quiet and intimate way without intruding on the fragile inhabitants and ecology that make it all so special. I am still smiling as I revel in the beautiful memories of this trip.

(5) Review left 1/25/2019

I had very little paddling experience but it was the perfect way to experience and appreciate the Everglades.

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