Mangrove Tunnels of South Lido Key
Adventure Kayaking You Won’t Soon Forget
Sarasota is most notably recognized for its beautiful beaches, warm temperatures and breathtaking sunsets. Vacationers flock to Sarasota in the winter and summer seasons to enjoy all that the community has to offer from our rich, cultural history and exquisite dining to the area’s architectural wonders. However, when it comes to enjoying the great outdoors, nothing says “adventure” like a kayaking trip through the mangrove tunnels of South Lido Key Beach.
What Are Mangroves?
Mangroves are tropical plants that have adapted to the loose, wet soils of our coastline, as well as salt water and tidal surges that frequent Lido Key. There are more than 50 species of mangroves throughout the world, with 3 species that are native Florida:
- Red Mangrove (Rhizophora mangle).
- Black Mangrove (Avicennia germnans).
- White Mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa).
White Mangroves are the most common species and are easily recognized by their smooth-barked trees with clusters of small orange flowers that are very fragrant. The White Mangrove can grow in excess of 16 feet and produces mangrove fruits that were a common staple of nourishment to the Aboriginal people thousands of years ago. The fruit is highly toxic, but the toxins are easily removed by burying the fruit in mangrove mud for 3-7 days. Once boiled or roasted, the fruit is ready to eat with no worries. Futhermore, mangrove tree branches can be burned to repel sandflies!
Why Are They So Important?
You might think to yourself, “Well, why are mangroves so important? Aren’t they just trees?” Well, yes, they are trees. However, mangroves and mangrove tunnels are extremely important to both humans and marine life for a number of reasons:
- Provide nursery areas for young fish and crustaceans, safe from deep waters and large predators.
- Serve as an important source of nutrients for the marine ecosystem.
- Act as shelter to their inhabitants.
- Are a barrier to coastal erosion, cyclones, hurricanes, tsunamis and flood waters.
- Provide us with many benefits such as:
With so much to offer, Mangroves have been a highly regarded part of Sarasota’s aquatic ecosystem and have played a major role in the conservation of our coastline.
Kayaking the Mangrove Tunnels of Lido Key
Among the many benefits of Mangrove’s, they also offer up a great opportunity for kayakers looking to explore Lido Key from a unique perspective. Lido Key is home to miles of Mangrove forests, twisting and turning to create beautiful, canopied mangrove tunnels, serving as a natural habitat to various plants, birds and marine animals.
When kayaking the mangrove tunnels of Lido Key, you can expect to see:
- Great Blue Herons
- Mangrove Crabs
- Sea Stars
- Sea Urchins
- White Egrets
And that’s just to name a few.
The experience itself is worth the trip, giving you an up close and personal look into the heart of Florida’s mangrove forests and the many surprises they hold within.
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