FALL 2021: 93
MANATEES UP CLOSE
Another popular launch site is Honest John’s Fish Camp,
off A1A in south Melbourne Beach. The main outfitter
is Karen McLaughlin of Karen’s Kayaks. She likes this
location because water quality is generally better in
south Brevard and there is more marine life.
We spotted manatees and dolphins as we paddled along
the paddle trail between mangroves, which are the only
tree that lives with its roots in salt water.
“Paddlers get to see for themselves how important
mangroves are,” McLaughlin said. “We have incredible
wildlife in the lagoon and when people love something
they’ll protect it. I think we are fortunate to have what
we have in Brevard County.”
Kayaking seems to have picked up as the pandemic
wanes. People want to get outside. Outfitters report an
increase in business and retail sellers say kayaks are in
demand and often on backorder.
Interest is so strong that Laura McWilliams, an
accounting software specialist, bought a bunch of boats
and started her own side business as a kayak outfitter
earlier this year.
“I’m starting out small, maybe three trips a week, usually
just a handful of people, mostly friends,” she said. >>
Kayakers explore the mangroves,
which are the only trees that live
with their roots in salt water, during
a tour of Thousand Island Park.
If you go …
There are many kayak outfitters in Brevard County who offer
guided and self-guided paddle trips in the Indian River Lagoon.
Here are three:
Operator and guide: Karen McLaughlin
karenskayaks.com or 321.848.8416
Guided tours from Honest John’s Fish Camp, Melbourne Beach
Owner: Jeremy Edgar
firstname.lastname@example.org or 321.698.7233
Guided tours from Ramp Road Park, Cocoa Beach
and Cocoa Beach Country Club
*Offers a discount for local customers.
Owner: Laura McWilliams
iKayaknow.com or 321.208.2667
Guided tours from various locations on the lagoon
Web services like Yelp and TripAdvisor will help you search
for other kayak outfitters in Brevard County.