With help from a staff of paddleboarders, surfers, environmental scientists, and a dog named Dillon, Kayak Amelia founders Jody and Ray Hetchka combine their love for outdoor sports with environmental conservation. Ray, a certified naturalist and self-described tree hugger, peppers guided kayak, bicycle, and paddleboard eco tours with facts on flora, fauna, and all the best smells circulating throughout the island's delicate ecosystem. In addition to guided tours, Kayak Amelia teaches paddleboard and kayak lessons, and leads fishing trips and overnight kayak excursions. Guests can sign up for tours, or rent equipment for the day, at Kayak Amelia's storefront, Y.B. Green's General Store, which carries eco-friendly gifts such as beeswax candles, carved bone necklaces, and clay-dyed clothing.
With an inventory of canoes and kayaks—as well as a choice launch point on the banks of the Santa Fe River – Santa Fe Canoe Outpost is a starting point for a wide range of aquatic daytrips. There are adventures of varying length, from the 7-mile down-river trip to Rum Island, to multi-day canoe-camping trips to their furthest destination, 39 miles away. Gliding down the river, paddlers may spy some of Florida's famous springs, including the Poe, Devil's Eye, or Lilly, or can peer back at nocturnal wildlife on one of the monthly Full Moon trips. At the conclusion of each outing, a Canoe Outpost team member arrives to safely transport both guests and vessels back to home base.
Drawing from experience in activities such as surfing, kiteboarding, snowboarding, and wakeboarding, the staff at Sandy Point Progressive Sports pour all of their energy into instructing others in outdoor extreme sports. They helm one-on-one lessons on kitesurfing and standup paddleboarding throughout central Florida’s waters, as well as kayak and standup paddleboard eco tours, during which guides point out native plants and wildlife while helping paddlers navigate wetlands, rivers, and inlets. As part of their involvement in the local community, they also conduct free kayaking and standup-paddleboarding demonstrations, where representatives of popular brands arrive with new equipment to test and then sacrifice to Poseidon in exchange for fair waters. In addition to lessons, staffers rent and sell up-to-date gear such as backpacks for hiking and camping, canoes and kayaks, and kiteboards and snowboards.
At Daytona Beach Parasail, flightless humans can highlight day trips to Daytona Beach with a parasail adventure. After taking off from the flight deck of a boat piloted by a USCG-licensed captain, customers soar 2,000 feet in the air, which is the perfect height for catching scenic glimpses of the world-famous shoreline. No previous knowledge of parasailing is required. The entire excursion takes about 45 minutes, which includes the boat trip out and back. Single flights last about 8 minutes; customers can team up with Groupon-bearing friends for a tandem flight, which will keep them floating for 14–16 minutes. Pack your camera if you want a friend to snap pictures of your airborne antics. Ferry customers receive free shuttle service to and from the boat.
Perched on the banks of the Intracoastal Waterway, Paddleboard New Smyrna Beach populates Florida’s placid waves with professional-grade standup paddleboards and kayaks cared for by expert guides. Whether leading beginners’ lessons in a protected lagoon or explaining the nuances of vehicle control before sending guests on a free-wheeling rental, the team prepares guests for jaunts around the waterway’s palm-lined shores. Pushing off from the center’s North Causeway dock, two-hour tours find the guides in their natural element, shepherding guests toward wildlife areas saturated with manatees, dolphins, and wrestlers practicing for the alligator bonus round at the next big meet.