Florida’s indigenous mangrove forests are some of the most beautiful places on earth, attracting ecotourists and nature lovers from around the globe. The Sunshine State’s other major international attraction? Its storied white-sand beaches and clear aquamarine waters.

Pelican Bay is one of the rare communities that offer both.

Within the Pelican Bay private community, members encounter one of Florida’s most exceptional ecosystems: Clam Bay, a protected network of tidal ponds and creeks meandering through acres of mangroves. And just on the other side of the forest: three miles of exclusive-access beaches, fronting the Gulf of Mexico. For members who can’t help but dive in, the community offers kayaks, canoes and sailboats for use in the Gulf and in Clam Bay.

On the Gulf –
Sea Kayaking and Sailing

Sea kayaks are available from both the South Beach and North Beach staff, free of charge with Foundation-issued member ID card or guest card. There are six single-person and six double-person sea kayaks available for use one hour at a time, after signing a waiver.

Pelican Bay also has a fleet of six sailboats – Sunfish, Laser, Pixel and Hobie-Wave models – available for the use of any member, tenant and/or guest who has prior experience, is at least 18 years of age, and is on the “authorized sailor” list. Want to set sail? Stop by South Beach for more information or call 239-272-7159. A signed waiver and a one-time fee of $75 (plus sales tax, for a total of $79.50) is required.

Friends and family may sail with the authorized operator as long as they are at least six years old, wear a life jacket, and are able to swim. Sailing time is limited to one hour when others are waiting. Sailing is not allowed in winds exceeding 15 mph and in rough seas (surf over three feet). For more information on rules and regulations, click here.

Contact Beach Manager, Mark Gruen, at 239-272-7159 for more information.


In the Estuary –
Canoeing and Kayaking

Approximately six to eight miles round-trip, the Clam Bay system runs from its southern point at Clam Pass Park (at the end of Seagate Drive near the Naples Grande Beach Resort), past Clam Pass (the water entrance and exit to the Gulf of Mexico), to the northernmost point close to Bay Colony and The Ritz-Carlton. The waterways are open to the public, but only Pelican Bay members and their guests have access to canoes and kayaks from the North Boardwalk dock.


Download the Canoe & Kayak Trail Guide here.

Check-out procedures:

Arrangements for watercraft are made on a first-come, first-served basis at Tram Station #6 at the beginning of the North Boardwalk. Users sign a waiver and are provided with paddles, a map of Clam Bay (including usage procedures and helpful information), a key to unlock the gate, and life jackets.

Check-out times:

During season, canoes and kayaks are available every day in two sessions. It’s critical to only use the watercraft for the time allotted – not just to provide everyone a fair opportunity to use them, but as a safety measure to monitor everyone’s return.

Morning session          8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Afternoon session      12:30 p.m. – one hour before sunset

Rules & Guidelines:
  • You must be 18 years or older to use canoes/kayaks unless accompanied by an adult.
  • Two adults must accompany children under 12.
  • Canoes are NOT to be used in the Gulf of Mexico; Kayaks are allowed.
  • The person checking out the vessel will be asked to sign a watercraft waiver to consent to abide by Foundation Policies and Procedures while using the canoes/kayaks.
Don’t Forget:
  • Comfortable clothes
  • Sunscreen
  • Water
  • Bug spray
  • Camera
Things You Should Know:

The Clam Bay mangrove estuary is an undisturbed natural ecosystem – and some of its challenges are unique, particularly compared to other open lake and river systems. Be cautious of:

  • Very shallow waters (including sandbars) that can make canoeing difficult, especially at low tide;
  • Tidal flows, which can become strong – particularly in narrow creeks and in the area surrounding Clam Pass (the narrow outlet to the Gulf of Mexico);
  • Low-hanging mangrove branches, which can interfere with paddling (also, spider webs and snakes sometimes hang from the mangrove branches – and may have to be paddled through, as ducking out of the way puts the canoeist/kayaker at risk of capsizing);
  • Muddy bottom soil that can act as quicksand if attempting to stand up to right an overturned vessel;
  • Presence of various wildlife, including alligators, raccoons, snakes and more;
  • Dead-end creeks that require turning around in very narrow spaces;
  • Sudden wind changes.

Don’t let these challenges discourage exploration! This information is provided solely to help prepare for adventure. Clam Pass is a relaxing, beautiful, and inspiring journey many of our members take again and again.

Kayak, Canoe and Paddleboard Storage:

kayak-rackThe Foundation has storage racks for kayaks, canoes AND paddleboards. The racks are located adjacent to the Naples Grande at the west end of the Clam Pass Parking area. Space is available so contact the Community Center for information and registration – 239-260-8998. Take advantage of this wonderful amenity and get out there and enjoy nature!