From the moment seasoned nature tour guide Kurt Zuelsdorf first dipped his paddle into Clam Bayou, he knew the mangrove estuary would be the right place to set his kayak tours. But there was a catch—a garbage dump’s worth of rusting shopping carts and waterlogged plastic bags was strewn about the waterway. Undeterred, Kurt hit upon a clever cleanup strategy: people could launch his fleet of kayaks for free, so long as they toted a bag of garbage out of the bayou with them.
Numerous grants, media attention, and awards later, Kurt’s waterway cleanup program has reached its final stages. Now, kayakers and paddlers can freely navigate the mangrove channels, nabbing sights of manatees, herons, and tugboat captains hopelessly lost in the mangroves. An avid nature enthusiast who has kayaked waterways from Wisconsin to Florida, Kurt prizes Clam Bayou, citing the diversity of wildlife along the one-mile stretch. “It’s not like the zoo,” he says. “Every time you hit the water, it’s a completely different experience.”
Thanks to Island Action Sports, you don't need to hop in a car to go rent a kayak, bike, or paddleboard. That's because the business will bring your rental to you, whether you're looking for equipment to use on the water, beach, or land. And when you're finished skimboarding down the shoreline of Treasure Island Beach or longboarding across St. Pete Beach, Island Action Sports will come pick up your rental as well.
The fleet of two-seater scooters is comprised of 2009 models with 49cc engines. Although these sportsters can zip around town at optimal cruising speeds, no motorcycle license is required—just a driver's license, eye protection, and a strong understanding of astrophysical thermodynamics as it pertains to scootering. The surrounding area is prime for pavement thrashing. For two hours, wheeled explorers can park and play on the pristine white-sand beaches, zip over to one of the area restaurants, or Evil Knievel over one of the bays, explaining the required $250 security deposit for each rider.
Lazee Lizard opens up the Gulf, Tampa Bay, and Florida's myriad waterways to adventurers with its standup paddleboard and kayak rentals. In such vessels, explorers paddle blue waters to take in the sights, get in a workout, or spot manatees and dolphins trying to wipe the grins from their faces. To keep the maritime fun accessible, Lazee Lizard's team can also bring equipment directly to each customer's watery launch site.
Boats dance and glide over the crisscrossing wakes carved into Tampa Bay, each craft anxiously revving toward its respective dock to arrive before closing time. All the while, a handful of boats remain on the open water, swaying atop the undulating waves as its passengers continue to enjoy the fiery sunset reflecting off the bay's surface. These select aquatic vehicles carry Lotto Boat's boat club members, who have access to a slew of exclusive perks, such as extended marina hours. Stationed at Harborage Marina, Lotto Boat's 45 rental vessels include kayaks, paddleboards, WaveRunners, and power boats equipped with GPS navigation systems. After hopping aboard a vessel, landlubbers can go jet-skiing, drift over to nearby tiki bars for dinner and live music, or take in scenic views of downtown St. Petersburg. Once patrons make their way back to one of Lotto Boat's two docks, staffers thoroughly cleanse the boat of interior debris and exterior mermaid hitchhikers to prepare for the vessel's next excursion.