Helping beach-goers get the most of their oceanside experience, Action Water Sports supplies an array of equipment for splashing through the water or basking in the sun. Visitors can hop on WaveRunners and jet across the waves of Fort Myers Beach, or lazily float atop a cabana water lounge with friends and manatees that are sick of swimming. The Action Water Sports team also uses jet skis to tow banana boats for exhilarating 20-minute rides, and lead guided tours where visitors might spot dolphins and other sea creatures. Beach chair rentals are also available for guests who would rather enjoy their time on the sand.
Yellow and orange kayaks drift along the protected estuary of Estero Bay. They're maneuvered by small groups of kayakers led by an experienced guide who points out the multitude of wildlife surrounding the group. The certified naturalists pick out the dolphins, manatees, and wild birds as well as impart knowledge about the surrounding eco system.
Captain Will Olds is an aquatic Renaissance man. The U.S. Coast Guard master mariner has dedicated his life to the water—from time spent piloting charter boats across Lake Superior to his days teaching boat safety at the Chapman School of Seamanship—and to his passion for history and the natural world. The multitalented skipper translates his many skills into a daily roster of eco-tours and excursions that whisk visitors along the fluvial highways of southern Florida.
From behind the wheel of his trusted ship, the Calusa Queen, the captain delivers entertaining and educational anecdotes along with views of Charlotte Harbor Estuary and Cape Haze. While not included in this offer, the Matlacha Art Community cruise features stops on terra firma to visit local galleries, and the Peace River Eco-Tour and Cruise wends through a nature preserve for a peek at manatees, alligators, and dolphins. Named for the Native American peoples of Florida’s southwest coast, the ship is inspected and certified by the U.S. Coast Guard and can hold up to 28 passengers along with their spare sets of sea legs.
Helmed by U.S. Coast Guard–certified captains—each with at least 10 years' experience navigating the waterways of 10,000 Islands—Double R's fleet of seafaring skiffs ushers visitors along fishing charters, eco tours, and manatee-watching jaunts. Exploring an ecosystem rich with diverse wildlife inside the United States' largest mangrove jungle, guides point out manatees, tropical birds, alligators, and Swamp Thing's collection of Swamp Thing memorabilia. Fishing charters explore the complex systems of swamps and estuaries home to tarpon, snook, redfish, and grouper, while fishing guides provide their years of experience in angling from exceptionally maintained vessels in rich waters.
If you part the branches of Mixon Fruit Farms’ citrus trees, you might spy an unusual sight: Burmese pythons, an alligator, a crocodile, and African land tortoises basking in the sunlight, surrounded by cages of roosting falcons.
The farm that began in 1939 as a 20-acre roadside fruit stand has stayed true to citrus farmer Willy Mixon’s vision of showcasing the region’s natural splendor. But in addition to an extra 50 acres of fruit trees, the farm has expanded its focus to include a wildlife refuge, where rescue volunteers nurse injured animals back to health and educate visitors on native and exotic species. The farm also hosts an on-site tropical garden along with dazzling koi ponds, and has a magical maze open to kids of all ages.
Along with daily tours of the grove and sanctuary, Mixon Fruit Farms also spotlights Florida’s bounty with citrus-infused ice cream and salads at Groveside Café. Homemade fudge and orange juice also populate the 14,000-square-foot gift shop
The veteran captains at Dolphin Landings Charter Boat Center promise tour-takers a 99% chance of spotting bottlenose dolphins during excursions in Boca Ciega Bay. That’s because the bay is home to more than 700 resident Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, along with manatees, and tropical sea birds.
During voyages, guests cruise in comfort on a US Coast Guard–inspected vessel. The boats serve complimentary soft drinks and water, and beer and wine are available for purchase.