A Guide to What to Wear Kayaking in Florida

When kayaking in Florida, clothing choice requires strategic consideration. The state’s intense sun and humidity demand lightweight, breathable fabrics with moisture-wicking technology and ample UV protection.

Synthetic shirts and athletic shorts maintain comfort during paddling, while quick-drying attributes allow versatility for splashes and storms.

Rounding out the outfit with grippy water shoes, secured sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat completes a high-performance kayaking ensemble for Florida’s fickle weather and unique waterways. Careful layering in durable, fast-drying textiles ensures kayakers remain unrestricted and protected across myriad adventures.

And if you’re planning on doing any fishing while you’re out on the water, make sure to bring along all the necessary gear. By following these tips, you’ll be sure to have a comfortable and enjoyable day of kayaking in Florida.

What Should I Wear First Time Kayaking in Florida?

When first-time kayaking in Florida’s balmy climate, the main priorities are sun protection and quick-drying comfort. Many newcomers opt for swimsuits or fast-dry shorts with rashguards or bikini tops for warmer jaunts. That way, even impromptu swims won’t soak you with excess weight. The breezy styles also prevent overheating while paddling under the Sunshine State sun. For cooler treks, breathable long sleeves and leggings retain warmth when wet without compromising the range of motion. Don’t forget sturdy water shoes, secured sunglasses, and ample sunscreen regardless!

Must-Have Gear and Additional Items

Beyond a properly prepped kayak itself, several supplementary provisions step up comfort, safety margins and fun while paddling Florida’s azure arteries. Securing sunblock, bug spray, snacks, fluids, dry bags, hats, shades, and waterproof phone cases can significantly upgrade your experience.

Based on your particular paddling plans, consider stashing backup items like a phone charger, headlamp, compass, towel, whistle, flare, first aid supplies or nautical maps. Doing so builds self-reliance and readiness to handle common paddling hiccups.

What Should You Not Wear While Kayaking in Florida?

Certain clothing choices spell trouble for Florida kayakers. Excessively loose or baggy apparel risks tangling with gear and causing capsizes. Likewise, heavy cotton materials become a dangerous drag when saturated. For safer, lighter options, choose synthetic fabrics that dry quickly after splashes or spills. Proper footwear with grip and stability prevents slippery mishaps during launches and exits. Pack pieces that won’t restrict movement or weigh you down when wet.

Choosing the Right Kayaking Attire

Choosing the Right Kayaking Attire
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The best kayaking getup for Florida emphasizes UV coverage, breathability, stretch, water resistance and quick drying. Wide-brim hats, moisture-wicking shirts, UPF attire, ventilated paddling shoes, and strap-secured sunglasses check the key boxes.

Dressing in lightweight layers gives you room to adapt to fickle skies and swings in temperature. Packing extra changes of clothes also saves you from extended discomfort or safety risks if your initial outfit gets clammy, cold or waterlogged during your waterborne adventure.

Essential Preparations for Kayaking

Florida kayaking demands more upfront planning than many newcomers first assume. Before hitting the waterways, key to-do’s consist of consulting tide schedules, packing enough water and sunblock, and reading up on site-specific paddling laws.

While an impulsive launch with just a boat may fly elsewhere, Florida’s sweltering heat, pop-up storms, boat traffic, wildlife hazards, and fickle tides make preparedness key. Doing your homework beforehand helps you foresee and adapt to challenges, promising a legal, safe, and fun kayaking adventure.

Navigating Kayaking Regulations

Like any water sport, kayaking falls under Florida state statutes and local codes. For instance, factors like kayak type, size and age dictate registration needs, mandatory gear, and right-of-way etiquette.

Studying the legal playbook for where you’ll paddle allows you to avoid tickets or fines. But most vitally, obeying the boating rules fosters safe run-ins with fellow vessels, setting you up for peak on-water moments.

Weather Insights for Kayakers

Florida’s fickle weather stirs up added complexity for kayakers. While sunny skies normally prevail, summer heat indexes frequently eclipse 100°F. And bursts of thunderstorms can drench unprepared paddlers.

Checking hourly forecasts and radar pre-launch allows you to cherrypick optimal launch times based on cloud cover, storm chances, wind speed and temperatures. Tracking potential shifts further informs precautions and backup supplies.

Diving into Water Temperature

Water temperature tangibly sways comfort, safety and abilities while kayaking. Florida averages 70°F in winter and 83°F during summer. But distinct fluctuations emerge between locations, seasons, times of day and depths. And prolonged summer submersions boost hypothermia odds.

Prepping for Florida’s mercurial aquatic thermometer allows you to dress suitably, skirt overheating or chills, gauge survival if capsized, and note seasonal manatee zones tied to the mammals’ winter warming migration.

Can You Wear Flip Flops Kayaking in Florida?

Flip flops pose problems for Florida kayakers. The flimsy footwear easily slips off when wet, creating litter and bare feet vulnerable to scrape injuries. Even when secured, flip flops offer little protection against impact with underwater hazards like shells or submerged branches commonly found in Florida shallows. For safer passages, opt for athletic water shoes with ankle straps instead.

Can You Kayak Without a Life Jacket in Florida?

Kayaking without a life jacket defies both legal regulations and personal safety in Florida. Even strong swimmers and seasoned paddlers risk dangerous riptides, alligators, and disorienting currents prevalent in the state’s waters. The proper, securely-fitted, Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device makes tragic outcomes preventable despite worst-case scenarios. Don’t endanger yourself and others by ignoring this cardinal rule for Florida kayaking.


If you’re kayaking in Florida, you’ll want to wear clothing that can get wet and protect you from the sun. A bathing suit or shorts and a T-shirt are good choices. You may also want to wear a hat and sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun.

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