As they flock to the nearby beaches of Clearwater or the nightlife of Tampa, most tourists overlook Dunedin, a pretty burg known for its sweeping views of the Gulf of Mexico. But, thanks to the segway-riding guides at Sun Glide Tours, the region’s hidden gem just became much more accessible. Astride their two-wheeled steeds, visitors can explore the Pinellas Trail that cuts through downtown, steering their segways alongside runners, bikers, and the town’s famous rollerblading squirrels.
White sand beaches spread out into the distance, running into the cerulean-blue sea, where seaweed and fish can be seen drifting below the surface. Tree-studded islands and winding sandbars pass underneath, and a white suspension bridge stretches across the horizon like a length of thread. Tampa Bay Aviation's visitors take in these elevated, panoramic views of the Florida coastline from the passenger’s seat or behind the controls of an airplane or helicopter.
Its team of certified flight instructors and experienced commercial pilots operates a fleet of Cessna 172 and Piper Cherokee planes, Robinson R22 helicopters, and an FAA-approved helicopter simulator. During flight experiences and pilot-training programs, they let clients take the aircraft's controls without having to first duel the ghosts of the Wright brothers. They also take clients skyward for aerial surveys and photography sessions.
During scenic voyages, the adventurous staff of The Tropics Boat Tours escorts guests through the Gulf of Mexico’s rushing tides, pausing for brief glimpses of bottlenose dolphins, sea turtles, and abandoned bikini bottoms. Aboard a tropical-themed, double-decker catamaran decorated with palm trees, guests take in views of Clearwater Beach's landmarks, including celebrity mansions peppering nearby coastlines, while imbibing beverages.
The thrum of the speedboat's engine carries through the water like an ice-cream truck's jingle. A 4-foot-high wake trails behind, fanning out into a fork as the speed increases and the passengers ready their cameras. Soon, a glistening fin breaks the surface. The first bottlenose dolphin seems to levitate on top of the wave while it bodysurfs for the sheer fun of it, then disappears back into the sea. Its pod follows suit, leaping, splashing, and riding the swells, soaking up the attention of the human spectators.
Sights like this are typical on the Dolphin Racer Speed Boat. The sunny yellow craft skirts across the Gulf of Mexico on 60- to 75-minute trips while up to 125 people lounge on the open deck and the captain narrates the sights of the passing beaches. Ample viewing space ensures that cameras can capture split-second jumps and spins when the dolphins heed the call to play. Whether it's because of the thrill of breaching, the pride in their celebrity status, or an underwater bet to see who can communicate with humans first, the dolphins' presence is virtually guaranteed—the boat offers a complimentary future cruise in the case of no-shows.
When Brian McInerney reflects on the humble beginnings of Wheel Fun Rentals, he points to his childhood passion for bikes. "As far back as I can remember, I had a real love affair with bicycles," he recalls. During a trip to Italy in 1987, Brian's affinity for cycling blossomed into a full-fledged obsession when he spotted locals' transporter of choice, the surrey. Inspired, he began importing the Italian four-wheelers to a rental business in the U.S. that eventually expanded into Wheel Fun Rentals, now a nationwide web of shops that also loans out bikes, electric cars and mopeds, and man-powered watercraft. Atop bicycles and surreys built for solo riders or entire families, patrons embark on self-guided tours of major U.S. cities. Led by maps and lists of nearby sites of historical or cultural significance, riders zoom down bike paths and safe, lightly trafficked streets. Adventuresome athletes can also compete in activities such as surrey scavenger hunts and blindfold obstacle courses navigated via shouted instructions from a seeing teammate or exceptionally long rounds of trial and error.
This must be how birds feel, he thinks. Up here, the sounds of human life are inaudible so far below, and the senses are heightened so that the hair-tickling sea breezes and panoramic view of the aquamarine expanse seem like the first he's seen or felt. Peacefully floating through the air, the parasailer scans his eyes across Clearwater Beach, watching in awe as boats etch white waves into the blue waters stretching out beneath his bare feet. Champions of fostering exhilarating memories such as this, Gulfside Adventures' staff organizes a host of relaxing and adrenaline-filled outdoor outings for explorers of all ages.
Founded with the goal of introducing visitors to the natural beauty of Clearwater via meticulously planned excursions and activities, Gulfside Adventures' staff of expert guides passionately upholds this vision. Adventurers immerse themselves in a variety of day trips, such as embarking upon a jet ski eco tour led by guides trained to preserve and protect the fragile aquatic ecosystem, who frequently stop to interrogate rogue waves. Gulfside Adventures also offers sailing lessons and fishing charters, as well as dinner cruises aboard vessels of all sizes.
After meeting at the Beachview Inn starting point and undergoing a training session that frowns upon Segway jousting, your tour group will segue on their Segways to the Ream Wilson trail and follow it to the Clearwater Memorial Causeway to spot a fantastic panorama of the Gulf of Mexico. Once you've snapped a few shots of people smiling, jumping, and balancing Segways on their noses, buzz down the corkscrew to Coachman Park before continuing to historic Harbor Oaks and the Clearwater Beach Walk. Along the way, there's a chance you'll spot manatees, dolphins, stingrays, and wild parrots. After two hours, you'll have covered seven miles worth of sunny landscapes and wildlife.