There will likely be a moment, perhaps as you pass through a mangrove forest into bright sunshine, when canoeing in the Upper Keys will qualify as pure, unadulterated bliss. It might happen when you've bailed out and are happily snorkeling among the coral, or while you're listening to a naturalist describe the flora and fauna of Lignumvitae Key. To access the beauty of this fragile environment, simply drive to Key Largo and put in at the end of Garden Cove Road adjacent to the North Key Largo Hammock State Botanical Site for an easily manageable day trip. You are now situated between Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge to the north and John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park to the south. The latter also offers a good launch spot, with the added bonus of showers and facilities. (If you head south from Garden Cove, beware bigger craft passing through the channel.) Follow the Atlantic's tidal flats as they give way to clear-water creeks full of snapper and snook. For individuals nervous about going solo or lacking equipment, Florida Bay Outfitters (305-451-3018) rents gear and leads half- and full-day trips in the area and further south.