The 10,000 Islands National Wildlife Refuge on the western tip of Southern Florida is home to an amazing variety of wildlife, plants, and scenery, of which Panther Key is no exception.

To reach Panther Key, kayaking and navigation of the tides and mangrove islands is a necessity. The Everglades National Park ranger station in Everglades City is the closest put-in point for kayaks, and from there its a 12 mile paddle to Panther Key.

This is a great adventure on which to visit multiple keys to stop and camp on, to make the paddling distance each day more manageable. Tiger Key within Everglades National Park, and for which a backcountry permit is required, is an excellent additional key to visit and camp at during such a trip.

As with any sea kayaking trip, access to fresh water for the duration of the trip is paramount. There is no fresh water on any of the keys within the 10,000 Islands, so bringing enough with you in dromedary bags is crucial to staving off dehydration.

Winter is the best time to visit, as the temperatures are still in the upper 70's to low 80's, but the humidity is low and the mosquitos/no-see-ems are fewer. 

For the latest conditions within Everglades National Park and surrounding regions, as well as information about permits, tides, wildlife, and everything else pertaining to a backcountry trip into the 10,000 Islands, be certain to contact the Everglades National Park and 10,000 Islands National Wildlife Refuge offices.

Pack List

  • Kayak
  • Camping Essentials (Tent, Sleeping Bag, Pad)
  • Backcountry Essentials  
  • Backcountry Permit
  • Tide Charts
  • Water Shoes
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • NOAA Navigational Charts of the 10,000 Islands Region
  • Fresh Water      
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Activities Camping, Kayaking, Swimming
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Year Round
Features
Beach
Scenic
Wildlife

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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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