Key West
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Key West Schooner Backcountry Eco-Tour: Sail, Snorkel & Kayak

Badge of ExcellenceKey West, United States
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From $129.95

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Free cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance.
  • 5 hours (approx.)
  • Mobile ticket
  • Offered in: English

Overview

Explore the patch reefs, mangrove islands, and waterways of Key West on a 6-hour cruise and snorkeling tour aboard a wooden sailing schooner. Take a hand at the wheel on your way across the Gulf of Mexico, kayak through the mangroves, then snorkel through patch reefs and sponge gardens. This 6-hour tour includes lunch and access to an open bar on the return sail to Key West.
  • Kayak through mangrove islands
  • Snorkel at a patch reef
  • See native wildlife in a natural environment
  • Buffet lunch, and drinks included

What's Included

  • Professional guide
  • All equipment
  • Full buffet lunch and afternoon snacks
  • Unlimited beer, wine and soft drinks
  • Gratuities

Meeting And Pickup

Meeting point

  • 205 Elizabeth St
    205 Elizabeth St, Key West, FL 33040, USA

    Located along the Harbor Walk at the end of Elizabeth Street, between Schooner Wharf Bar and the Conch Republic Seafood Company on the byway colloquially known as Lazy Way Lane.

Start time

10:30 AM

End point

This activity ends back at the meeting point.

What To Expect

Make your way to Key West’s Historic Seaport for a 10am departure on the Appledore Star, a 72-foot (22-meter), two-masted wooden schooner. Join the crew to unfurl the sails, take a turn at the wheel, or just relax on deck as you sail across the Gulf water. Watch for dolphins and sea turtles during the morning sail.

When the Appledore Star reaches Key West’s mangrove islands, the captain will drop the anchor for the first stop of the day. Step into a stable, easy-to-paddle sea kayak, and follow a guide through the calm water, exploring the mangrove ecosystem and wildlife. Following the sea kayaking tour, return to the boat for a buffet lunch of deli meat, cheeses, fresh bread, fried chicken, and Key West’s “pink peel” shrimp.

Spend the afternoon at a nearby patch reef, where you can snorkel above the reef’s nursery systems and sponge gardens. Climb back on deck after your snorkel, wash off the salt using Appledore Star’s fresh water rinse, and grab a beer, wine, sangria, or soda from the open bar for the return trip to Key West.

Additional Info

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Children must be accompanied by an adult
  • Vegetarian option is available. Must notify operator 72 hours prior ro departure.
  • Please advise of any specific dietary requirements 72 hours prior to departure.
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Infants must sit on laps
  • In order to expedite the check-in process, please provide lead traveler's e-mail address in the 'special requirement' section during check-out.
  • Travelers should have a moderate physical fitness level
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 16 travelers

Cancellation Policy

You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.

  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.
  • This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund.

about cancellations.

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.

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Q:Is there a restroom onboard for the Key West Schooner Backcountry Eco-Tour?

A:Yes, each of our ships is equipped with a restroom to maximize your comfort. In addition, each of the catamarans has a freshwater rinse.

Feb 2021

Q:What do I need to bring with me for the Key West Schooner Backcountry Eco-Tour?

A:Bring along your towel, sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, bathing suit, and camera. If you want to drink alcoholic beverages on your tour, remember your photo I.D. to show you are at least 21 years old.

Feb 2021

Q:Should I wear my swimsuit or change on the boat for the Key West Schooner Backcountry Eco-Tour?

A:It is easier to wear your suit to the tour. There aren’t any changing facilities at our office. However, if you do need to change after boarding, there is a very small changing area in the restroom on board.

Feb 2021

Q:Is there parking at the terminal for the Key West Schooner Backcountry Eco-Tour: Sail, Snorkel & Kayak?

A:There is no parking at our office but you may unload passengers in front of our office. The most convenient city parking lot is at Margaret and Caroline Street with pay machines in the center of the lot.

Mar 2021

Q:Will I see wildlife during the Key West Schooner Backcountry Eco-Tour: Sail, Snorkel & Kayak?

A:The Florida Keys and the living reef are full of wildlife and it is common to see birds, fish, and marine animals, however, that can’t be guaranteed.

Mar 2021

Q:Is there a place to store my belongings while on the Key West Sunset Sail with Full Bar, Live Music & Hors D'oeuvres?

A:We do not have lockers or storage facilities in our office. Parties are welcome to bring a beach bag or backpack with personal belongings on our boats. However, if you have luggage or suitcases these would be best stored at your hotel or vehicle.

Mar 2021

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Reviews
4.5
173 reviews
Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and Tripadvisor reviews
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Reviews by Viator travelers.
Showing 1-10 of 173 reviews
Phenomenal
Jeanne_C, Feb 2023
What a phenomenal time we had, Russ and Bradley and Wade made our trip the best. Snorkeling and kayaking through the groves and the stories wade and Bradley told. Lunch was delicious . We will definitely be back
Great crew
Steve_L, Jan 2023
Ella and Zach were absolutely awesome. Wind was 20 knots tho. Wonder if it shouldn’t have been cancelled. Capt was great too.
Smooth sailing in Key Eest
Russell_B, Jan 2023
Beautiful day. We’ll run tour with friendly crew. Very nice refreshments including small sandwich, pasta salad and fruit.
Wonderful captain and...
Darrell_G, Aug 2022
Wonderful captain and mates. Excellent trip for my daughters bday. Highly recommend to families. Delicious lunch too.
Epic Sunday with Backcountry Eco Tour
MichelleK_L, Jul 2022
Such a fun day with my son onboard the schooner with epic crew Russ (El Capitan) and his first mates Bradley and Mario. They took great care of us while snorkeling, sea kayaking, and feeding us. The weather was great, and it was altogether just a perfect way to spend a Sunday!
Anniversary vacation treat
Tamara_F, Jul 2022
We loved both the snorkeling and kayaking , had a perfect day for it! Plus the captain made sure we had the best locations.
Sailing with friends and family
Diana_C, Jun 2022
Memorable moments while snorkeling and kayaking in Key West. Great knowledgeable crew that took care of all of us. Had so much fun during the sailing time.
False advertising on...
Lynnette_L, Jun 2022
False advertising on snorkelling farther out. Couldn't go cause of low tide. Snorkelling near a mangrove is non existent. Crew was super friendly and helpful. Turned a booze cruise. Add traction to your ladder so it's not slippery from all the sunscreen.
Schooner Adventure
Renee_B, Jun 2022
Being on the water on board a schooner was special. Being able to both kayak and snorkel was fantastic! Everyone was friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. Thanks for an amazing adventure!
Great Value - Excellent Service
Mike_M, Jun 2022
Great trip with a very attentive and friendly crew. Nice lunch. Beautiful and well maintained wood vessel
The guided kyayk tour...
Alex_L, May 2022
The guided kyayk tour around one of the mangrove islands was really informative. Swimming around the boat with some drinks was also very enjoyable!
Great experience
Samantha_S, May 2022
The whole experience was great, even though we didn't really see much when snorkeling, which cannot be controlled. The kayaking was relaxing and not rushed. The staff was very friendly and helpful and lunch was good.
Great time for adults and kids!!!
Paras_Z, May 2022
Highly recommended trip in key west. We travel to tropical places a lot and take a lot of tours and this tour was a highlight for myself and the kids. We showed up at 10:33 for a 10:30 departure and they were nice enough to let us on, I wouldn’t recommend it though. Get there early and avoid a trip to Dunkin’ Donuts before your adventure in Florida! Took 30 mins for coffee and one sandwich!! The tour was great, snorkeling was good. Not a lot of sea life but the first time for the kids so was gentle waves and a good learning experience. The kayaking was heaven. Saw so many birds and the wonderful tour guy, who kayaked with us, explained the history and nature around us. Was great with the kids as well. Ages 6,9,10, and 8. Highly recommend your and I would do it again. The kids are still talking about it!!
Great for new snorkelers!
Ken_C, Apr 2022
Great trip! Crew answered the many questions about the boat and local sailing. (Quite a few of us were sailors) The first surprise, was how well the crew waited on the passengers. They were constantly serving water and soft drinks on the way out. The ride out was extremely smooth. We motored out. My wife didn't sign up for this trip as she gets seasick. The water was very smooth, and the relatively slow speed would not have bothered her at all. Once we arrived at the mooring site, the passengers were split into two groups. Half went kayaking, while the other half snorkeled. As I was an extra single, I was paired up with our tour guide Mario. I enjoyed being paired with an experienced paddler as it was easy to stay in sync. The crew gave a very good briefing on the procedure to enter the Kayaks from the boat. A few were nervous about falling in, but everyone got aboard safely. We then went on a tour of a nearby Mangrove "island". I thought, the briefing could have included a few tips for novice kayakers or people who hadn't paddled a tandem before. The tour of the "island" was great! After we got back to the boat, we swapped with the snorkelers. When I had snorkeled in the Caribbean, it was in about 20 feet of water. (Requiring a dive to depth, holding your breath while swimming around, clearing the snorkel upon reaching the surface, and then breathing in some air for the next "dive". This time, we were in about 6 feet of water. The bottom was too close to dive down too and hovering too close to the bottom would stir up a lot of sediment. The visibility was excellent. The procedure was to basically float on the surface, breath through the snorkel, and watch the sea life. The crew recommended using a pool noodle (provided) to just float around. While I would have preferred actually diving down to a few feet above the bottom, this is a great way for someone who has never snorkeled or might be slightly claustrophobic in a dive mask to give snorkeling a try. After both groups were back aboard, the crew served drinks to those old enough, and severed an excellent lunch. (I wasn't expecting much more than a sandwich). On the way back in, the crew hoisted the sails. Captain Russ did cut the engine for a short time, but there was not enough wind to "sail" back in, so he augmented with the engine. The advertisement did state that passengers could participate in sailing the boat, if desired. However, that was not allowed. Overall, this was a fantastic trip and well worth the money!
Fun for the whole family!
Sandra_C, Apr 2022
The crew, including Russ, Mario, and Bradley, was courteous the entire trip. Their helpfulness and friendliness made the experience a lot of fun and relaxing. The Appledore was clean and well maintained. The snorkeling was fun and we saw a lot of different fish. The kayaking was peaceful and informative (Mario is well informed).
Highly recommend
Donna_L, Apr 2022
Beautiful day, relaxing fun kayaking and snorkeling. Great captain and crew!! Lots of fun!! Highly recommend!
Casual Day on the Water
Dan_F, Mar 2022
We had a great trip on March 19th 2022 with Captain Russ and mates Brad and Mario. Boat left the dock promptly on time with only 10 passengers aboard, so there was plenty of personal attention from the staff. We were offered something to drink upon boarding and at all times throughout the day. After leaving the dock, we motored out to a shallow water sponge garden where we snorkeled until everyone had their fill. Captain Russ explained that a sponge garden is a transition zone for growing fish between the mangroves, where they are born and the reef, where they move to fully mature. I saw a lobster, a couple of sting rays and plenty of small fish nestled among the bottom structure. One school of larger fish swam past me pretty quickly. After snorkeling, we moved on to sea kayaking among the mangroves. Mario led the trip giving us interesting ecosystem and wildlife facts along the way. It was a bit windy and choppy, but the sea kayaks were very stable and no one had any issues on the water. We paddled around the island seeing a number of different fish and bird species and paddled through a narrow channel that led through the middle of the island to the other side. It was neat to explore the inner workings of the mangroves. Once we finished kayaking, we had a lunch of sandwiches, chicken tenders, shrimp and macaroni salad that was prepared by Brad while we were off the boat. Brad moved to Key West from Idaho only 9 days before the trip, but he handled himself very well and was very personable, sharing many stories along the way. The food was good and the drinks were flowing. They had many types of pop, wine and a variety of beers. After lunch, we sailed back to Key West harbor to end the day. All along the way, the staff was very attentive and helpful. They took many pictures of us in the water with our cameras and we got some excellent photos to remember our trip by. It was a nice relaxing day on the water and I'd recommend it for anyone seeking a casual day on the water! Thanks, Russ, Mario and Brad!!
Great day
timothy_B, Mar 2022
The crew was wonderful. Mario,Brandon and Capt. Russ was great very attentive and helpful. We would again
Great fun and relaxing!
Christina_P, Mar 2022
Very pleasant trip! Enjoyed the boat ride, kayaking and snorkel and the crew + captain Russ were very friendly and professional. I would highly recommend.
Take this trip!
Karhleen_R, Mar 2022
Great captain and crew made this sailing snorkeling and kayaking trip a perfect day. Snorkeling Saw a lobster I it’s own habitat for the first time. Kayaking and learning about the flora as well as spotting three sharks was a treat.
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Product code: 3800P12