Neville Wildlife Preserve

The Neville Wildlife Preserve, named after Jim Neville, is located right off the southern end of Siesta Key in the Little Sarasota Bay. This scenic island is one of the most popular boating, kayaking and wildlife viewing destinations in Sarasota with a variety of native plants, birds, dolphins, manatees and other flora and fauna to see.

The preserve totals 35 acres in size, and one of the best ways to explore it is via Siesta Key kayak tours, where you can be within an exciting distance of the local creatures and take some incredible photographs or simply enjoy the experience for what it is. Any nature enthusiast will want to spend at least a little bit of time at this extraordinary Siesta Key wildlife preserve during their vacation.

kayaking neville wildlife preserve

One of the most exciting Siesta Key things to do

You can explore the preserve on foot, but be aware that its low elevation means that you’re in for a wet hike during the high tide. You’ll still be able to view the local coastal plants and will have the potential to spot a huge range of remarkable bird species including kingfishers, herons, anhingas, egrets, and storks.

You might even be able to spot dolphins or manatees out in the water if you’re lucky! Hiking the preserve is certainly worth it, however, and you’ll need to arrive to it via boat or kayak to have the opportunity. So, be sure to add a trip to the Neville Preserve to your list of Siesta Key things to do.

A Siesta Key kayak tour is perfect for all skill levels

Exploring the Neville Marine Preserve on kayak is ideal for all skill and experience levels. The waters of the Little Sarasota Bay are shallow and calm. Your tour will typically be supervised by an experienced kayaker who will assist you if needed. The area is also a NO WAKE zone for any boats or watercraft, so you won’t have to worry about being disrupted from the wake of a fast-moving boat.

There are multiple kayak launches throughout the preserve. Rates are affordable and you can choose to kayak in tandem with another person or with your own individual kayak. Young children can safely participate in the tours on tandem kayaks. There are also no alligators to worry about in the area, which is a common question from many of those who are interested.

What you might see on a kayak tour

There’s a chance that you can see dolphins or manatees in the waters of the Neville Preserve, which is an experience that you’re sure to remember for a lifetime! Your chance of spotting them depends on the time of year that you visit and having a little luck on your side.

Chances are higher during the warmer months. However, during any month of the year you’ll be able to see a vast range of different local fish species and several of the bird species mentioned above. During the winter, bird populations can be even higher as there will be a large population of migrating birds with some unique species you won’t be able to spot during other times of the year.

It’s important to follow local guidelines for wildlife protection

The Neville Marine Preserve is a beautiful area with a wide range of native Florida species and a designated protected habitat for manatees and other sea life. It’s essential to exercise precaution while exploring the Neville Preserve to guarantee that this area stays pristine for years to come.

Be sure to avoid touching any of the wildlife if you are fortunate enough to get up close to it. Admire from a safe distance and follow the guidance of your tour operator. Never remove anything from the protected area, even shells. There are plenty of shelling spots on the beaches near the preserve.

If you have any questions about the proper protocols to follow, it’s best to visit the preserve on a professionally guided tour rather than venturing out on your own. Once you’ve tried a few tours and know the local restrictions and safety protocols, an unguided kayak adventure as a couple or with your family can be even more thrilling!

So, add a kayak tour of the Neville Preserve to your list of Siesta Key things to do and explore the wonders of this pristine and protected Siesta Key wildlife preserve!

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