Now is the perfect time to venture into the mystical, magical world of Florida’s Mangrove Tunnels. Experience Florida’s unique ecosystem while admiring wildlife above and below the canopied waterways.
For the outdoor enthusiast, paddling through Florida’s mangroves is a very unique adventure many enjoy along the state’s coastline. Mangroves are found in coastal areas from as far north as Cedar Key on the Gulf coast to Cape Canaveral on the Atlantic coast all the way to the tip of the Florida Keys. They could be considered Florida’s Tree of Life because they create a unique ecosystem that supports many inhabitants.
Mangroves serve as nurseries for fish, oysters, crab and shrimp. Snook, mangrove snapper, tarpon, jack, mullet, sheepshead and a large variety of other Florida fish feed on this tropical plant. Its branches and boughs become nesting rookeries for many species of birds and its root system helps prevent erosion and stabilize the shoreline.
Three mangrove species are found in Florida: the red, black and white mangrove. The red mangrove is the best known, found closest to the water and distinguished by its prop root system. The black mangrove has finger-like projections that are found in shallower water while the white mangrove usually grow upland of the other species and have yellowish green leaves with no visible aerial root systems. Mangroves grow in tidal salty environments and are able to obtain fresh water from salt water.
Popular throughout Florida are “mangrove tunnels” – small waterways under a canopy of mangroves that create a tunnel effect.