Rafting in Golden Gate

Select Local Merchants

The gentle clap of paddles against the water and the tenor thrumming of jet-ski motors drift from Adventure Water Sports. On waverunners, diminutive sailboats, and kayaks, patrons spread out across the surf and around Estero Island, their eyes peeled for dolphins and other fauna at all times. The shoreline falls back in quiet bays and estuaries, where little fish dart among tangled knots of mangrove roots. Instructors certified by the United States Coast Guard demonstrate the operation of vessels, lead tours, and knock down sand castles lacking proper fire exits.

1160 Estero Blvd
Fort Myers Beach,
FL
US

The passionate wildlife guides at Tours in the Glades usher nature-starved sightseers into the lush wetlands and past the stunning marine wildlife of the Everglades. Captivating facts about the Everglades’ ecological and cultural significance abound, as do anecdotes about some of the birds and reptiles that call the wetlands home. All tours include the proper gear for watery odysseys and transportation into the park, thereby obviating the need to hitch rides on the backs of water-walking lizards.

20 SW 2nd Ave
Florida City,
FL
US

After plans were revealed to build a road through Rookery Bay in 1964, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida formed to protect the region's environmental interests. This small group of concerned citizens mobilized the community to halt the project, protecting the land, water, and wildlife that makes southwest Florida beautiful. Today, the group continues that work on a larger scale, promoting clean water in the Everglades, treating and releasing injured animals, and protecting sea turtle hatchlings.

1495 Smith Preserve Way
Naples,
FL
US

The instructors at Sweetwater Paddlesports must have a natural affinity for the water and have nurtured passions for sports ranging from surfing and wakeboarding to boating. Drawing from these combined experiences, they've channeled their efforts almost entirely toward introducing others to standup paddleboarding. In group or private lessons, they introduce basic techniques for balance and maneuvering and what to do at a red light. To supplement this aquatic-sports training, Sweetwater also coordinates on-water standup-paddleboard yoga and fitness classes. The company's fleet—which can be picked up or delivered for rental—includes standup paddleboards by makers such as Tahoe and One World and kayaks by Jackson and Feel Free.

4836 Bonita Beach Rd Unit #1
Bonita Springs,
FL
US

Sarasota Wind and Water Adventures gives adventurers the vessels and knowledge to plunge boldly into the surf, providing paddleboard, kayak, and waterski rentals as well as lessons. Fishing trips set sail for open water with a Coast Guard-certified captain and all of the tackle necessary to hunt for kingfish, triggerfish, and the vengeful ghosts of scuba divers, while sunset cruises let passengers experience the wonder of voyaging directly into the heart of the sun.

1518 Stickney Point Rd
Sarasota,
FL
US

Since he was six, Nate Dunn has explored almost every form of water-bound sport, including surfing, kayaking, sailing, and even commercial fishing. Now his experiences allow Nate to share his knowledge of the water with locals, doling out rental paddleboards and kayaks. During his guided eco-tours, bobbing wanderers get views of mangroves, local wildlife, and disappointed surfers from the placid waters.

5511 Calle Del Invierno
Sarasota,
FL
US