Rising Tide Explorers delivers rental kayaks to clients before sunrise. This could be a reason why the Naples business was recently ranked the No. 1 kayaking tour company in the country by a USA Today poll. In addition to kayak rentals, Rising Tide offers guided kayaking tours or boat tours through thriving estuaries in Naples and Marco Island that are home to dolphins, manatees, wading birds, hundreds of species of fish, unique invertebrates, and more. Kayak adventures can include exploring mangrove tunnels, oyster reefs, and hidden bays, as well as sunset tours of Rookery Bay Reserve, where hundreds of birds rush in for the night.
For owner and founder Ryan Young, his company’s dedication to science education is what sets it apart. His guides study the biology of the animals and plants seen on their tours in order to share this knowledge with guests. “You will see the area in a whole different way when you are with a biologist tour guide,” says Young. Another distinguishing factor of this kayaking outfit is its partnership with the Friends of Rookery Bay to support their national estuarine research reserve with a percentage of the proceeds from all tours and rentals.
No experience is necessary, and Young thinks that Naples is one of the best places to try kayaking because the calm, shallow, and protected waters are easier to traverse than spots with rougher conditions. November is a beautiful time of year for a tour, since afternoon showers are not usually a factor. Kayaking is also ideal for folks looking for socially distanced recreation. A kayak is 12 feet long, meaning that you are forced to have 6 feet on either side of you at all times. “We’re providing people with opportunities to get outside and do the best kind of social distancing,” Young says.