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 four Hobie Waves – 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 North Beach for more information or call 239-272-7159. A signed waiver and a one-time fee of $100 (plus sales tax) 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 20 mph and in rough seas (surf over three feet).

In the Estuary –
Canoes & Kayak

Canoes are currently available at Station 6 (Beach Walk), free of charge with Foundation-issued member ID card or guest card.

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.

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:

  • We offer a hybrid canoe/kayak vessel that can be navigated with canoe or kayak paddles. They have bow and stern seats with seat backs and a middle bench that can become a third seat – cushions provided at Station 6.
  • 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 Beach Manager for information and registration – 239-272-7159. Take advantage of this wonderful amenity and get out there and enjoy nature!