Kayaking 101 - Mississippi

Kayakers paddle through a salt marsh toward open water.
Kayaking 101 is one of the best ways to learn the basics of kayaking and explore the national seashore's incredible marine resources

NPS Photo

The tidal salt marshes, bayous, and deeper open waters of Gulf Islands National Seashore are some of the most diverse marine habitats in the world. With around 120,000 acres of marine habitat to explore, you can join a park ranger to discover the plants and wildlife that inhabit these complex environments and experience the recreational opportunities available in your national seashore.

Dates for Mississippi kayak programs can be found on the park’s Calendar of Events. Programs are free to the general public, but reservations are required. Reservations can be made in person or by calling the Davis Bayou Area’s William M. Colmer Visitor Center at (228) 230-4121. Programs are limited to 8 individuals and last up to 1 hour.

Participant Requirements

  • All participants must complete and sign a Waiver Form.
  • A legal guardian must accompany participants under the age of 18.
  • All participants must weigh a minimum of 30 pounds or 14 kilograms.
  • For single, sit inside kayaks, total participant weight cannot exceed 325 pounds or 147 kilograms; for single, sit on top kayaks, total participant weight cannot exceed 350 pounds or 159 kilograms; for tandem, sit on top kayaks, total participant weight cannot exceed 500 pounds or 226 kilograms.
  • All participants must wear a life jacket or PFD (personal floatation device) and a whistle while on the water.
  • All participants must know how to swim in open waters without the aid of a flotation device.

Learn and Explore


What to Bring

The park provides kayaks, paddles, life jackets, whistles, and dry bags. We recommend participants bring:
  • Water: Pack at least two liters of drinking water per person depending on heat and humidity forecasts.
  • Food: Salty or high-calorie snack(s).
  • First Aid Kit: Prescription medications
  • Sun Protection: Sunscreen, wide-brimmed hat, and polarized sunglasses.
  • Correct Clothing: Weather appropriate clothing, such as a swim suit and a long sleeve water shirt or other wicking fabrics, and close-toed water shoes.

Program Cancellations

Park staff reserve the right to cancel a kayak program for any reason. If possible, participants will be informed as soon as possible if a program is cancelled. There are no rain checks or make-up dates for cancelled programs. Reasons a program may be cancelled include, but are not limited to:
  • Inclement weather.
  • Sustained wind speeds meet or exceed 10 miles per hour.
  • Water temperatures are below 60 degrees or combined air and water temperatures total less than 120 degrees.
  • Unsafe water conditions.
If you must cancel a reservation, please notify park staff as soon as possible so that those kayaks can be filled. Visit or call the Davis Bayou Area’s William M. Colmer Visitor Center at (228) 230-4121.

Last updated: August 30, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1801 Gulf Breeze Parkway
Gulf Breeze, FL 32563


(850) 934-2600

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