Rowing in DeBary

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Cypress trees sway in the breeze, lush tropical vegetation soaks up the sunshine, and white sandy beaches glisten nearby as Buena Vista Watersports' rental jet skis, paddleboards, kayaks, canoes, and pontoons tote adventurers across the spring-fed waters of Lake Bryan alongside waterskiers and wakeboarders. The Key West–style resort, located just east of Disney World, allows families and friends to glimpse local wildlife as they skim scenic shorelines and chase picturesque settings at an aquatic reservoir as vast and secluded as Bigfoot's bathtub. The resort's alighted tiki torches and palm trees that border its tiki bar and pavilion attract groups for company picnics or private events such as weddings and parties, during which revelers can partake in watersports, dance to reggae, or watch a fire-dancing show.

13245 Lake Bryan Dr
Orlando,
FL
US

After spending their youths on the sea sailing, water skiing, and fishing, Cynthia and Jay realized they were in very real danger of spending their adult lives behind the desks of corporate jobs. So, when they got the chance to re-immerse themselves in the aquatic world by buying an inland marina at Lake Fairview, they jumped at it.

Today, they and their team of certified instructors lead sailing experiences on that glassy blue expanse and rent a wide assortment of seafaring vessels. They pile visitors in pontoon boats, two-person pedal boats, kayaks, and sail boats to navigate the lake for on-water picnics and fishing expeditions. Should renters get hooked on the experience, the staff can happily help them purchase new and used sailboats, fishing boats, runabouts, and ski boats. For land-based celebrations, their tiki hut-style gazebo, complete with a panoramic view of the lakeshore, accommodates guests during company retreats, birthdays, and lake monster sting operations.

4503 N Orange Blossom Trl
Orlando,
FL
US

A competitive rowing club for male and female high school students, North Orlando Rowing prepares athletes age 12 to 18 for competition against scholastic and club teams across the Southeast. Open to any student whose school doesn't already provide a rowing program, the club competes year-round with seasonal competition in the spring, summer, and fall. Fitness benefits aside, North Orlando Rowing offers youngsters a chance to gain discipline, learn about teamwork, and earn college scholarships. The club's annual summer camps also give prospective rowers opportunities to try the sport, and—if they enjoy it—eventually join the team and start finding ways to row everywhere in life.

PO Box 608281
Orlando,
FL
US

The waters off Florida's Atlantic coast teem with fish whose bright, sometimes breath-taking colors belie their fierceness. Take a blue marlin unfurling its cobalt sail as it strips line off a fisherman's reel, or a mahi-mahi flashing its chartreuse sides before bolting away at up to 50 miles per hour. At Sea Spirit Fishing, Captain Mike Mulholland and his crew supply anglers with all necessary tackle for hooking these trophies, welcoming passengers aboard the US Coast Guard–licensed Sea Spirit. Rated for up to 65 passengers, this 65-foot, custom-built party boat quickly motors out to the deep sea thanks to its twin 650-seahorsepower engines. After showing passengers how to land piscine prizes, Sea Spirit's crew also cleans the catches so anglers can make their own seafood stews at home without adding Goldfish crackers, for once.

133 Inlet Harbor Rd
Ponce Inlet,
FL
US

In 1994, owners Chris and Margie Long established Boggy Creek Airboat Rides with a single, six-passenger vessel. Today, their fleet has grown to more than a dozen boats, and the business has whisked more than one million passengers through Orlando's nearby wetlands. From two locations, Boggy Creek's fan-propelled watercrafts launch into the Florida Everglades, exploring the swampy habitats of gators, turtles, eagles, exotic birds, and exiled Frankensteins. Four different tours offer varied experiences, including a night ride, during which participants observe red-eyed gators prowling for prey. US Coast Guard–certified captains helm every ride, which are safe for explorers of all ages—even infants.

3702 Big Bass Rd.
Kissimmee,
FL
US

There’s nothing like skimming across Lake Tohopekaliga’s surface, propelled by a 500hp fan. That’s the thrilling experience offered by the Wild Willy’s Airboat Tours, which drift in the gentle marsh to catch sights of great blue herons, 12-foot alligators, snails, and other native creatures. All the while, your guide will provide expert information on the lake and the surrounding terrain, plus help you spot the wildlife.

While other tour guides pack groups into 12-passenger boats, Wild Willy’s keeps it passenger numbers low to reduce weight and increase speed. Up to six guests can board one of the airboat, which sail past reeds and Spanish moss before. Afterwards, you can take pictures with resident baby gators Thunder and Half-Stripe in the visitors’ center. And safety is a major focus at Wild Willy’s—guests should arrive 15 minutes before their tour time to receive a Coast Guard-required talk about safety.

4715 Kissimmee Park Rd
Saint Cloud,
FL
US