Aquatic explorers paddle kayaks and ride stand-up paddleboards through the bay, riding the waves on equipment from South Beach Kayak’s bayside shop. The staff rents out kayaks to customers of all experience levels, providing complimentary overviews of paddling basics for beginners and leading hour-long lessons that cover higher-level skills, such as boosting speed by lassoing a bald eagle. They also lead group and private tours, many with whimsical themes such as the “Fool Moon” tour, which wends its way through the islands at sunset to close with weenies and s’mores roasted over a roaring bonfire.
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.
Wind-leashed high-flier and Skybanditz founder Francisco Escudero has blown spectators away at such competitions as the Velocity Games and the Bahamas kite race. He is the North Miami Beach area coordinator of the Florida Kitesurfing Association and founder of Skybanditz, where he and his trained staff conduct all manner of surf- and sky-borne expeditions. They outfit maritime adventurers with all the proper kiteboarding, kayaking, and paddleboarding gear, as well as lead kayak tours through Marine Stadium and several small islands. They also give guests the option to explore the high seas on their own or with friends. Instructors, meanwhile, cover safety and proper techniques during kitesurfing programs that range from beginner level to Level X, an echelon they reserve for students who are ultra-advanced or genetically related to flying squirrels.
On Biscayne Bay, halfway between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, a wild wonderland awaits. Oleta River State Park is Florida's largest urban park, brimming with bike paths, native wildlife, and a river that practically beckons to boaters and manatees in disguise. Luckily, the Blue Moon Outdoor Center lends adventurers the right tools for exploring the park's untamed beauty. The store's bike, canoe, kayak, and board rentals offer several different ways to travel, and the nearby Blue Marlin Fish House?once featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives?helps visitors to recharge after a day of trekking.
With its fleet of boats and other watercraft, WB Boat Rentals turns the sea?and the Miami Islands?into prime party territory. Kayak, pontoon, and jet ski rentals allow riders to chart their own path through the waves, whereas speedboats come with a professional captain who does the driving. If you want more of a floating-palace vibe, however, the yacht selection ranges from 38-foot boats to an 82-foot Sun Seeker yacht, all equipped with sleek furnishings and spacious interiors.
The company also takes passengers on tours past Miami's most scenic and lavish sites. The Miami River tour weaves through the city at night against a backdrop of glowing buildings, and the sightseeing tour of Star Island cruises by the exclusive island that Miami's rich and famous call home. There, grandiose mansions sit on perfectly manicured estates, and you may just catch a glimpse of a celebrity sports car sipping on a diesel-oil daiquiri.
Staff Size: 2?10 people
Average Duration of Services: 1?2 hours
Parking: Parking lot
Handicap Accessible: No
Recommended Age Group: All Ages
Pro Tip: Bring a sense of humor
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: Turbo-charged snorkeling
When and how did you first develop a passion for your work?
My parents threw me in the ocean at 10 months old and that was it, I was hooked.
What is the one feature of your business that you're most proud of?
I'm always surrounded with a positive vibe. Everyone on the boat is on vacation and they want to have fun.
What?s your favorite part of your job?
Watching, listening, and teaching about my world?the Ocean?and its sea creatures.
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
Our snorkeling program is for beginners through experts, but you must know how to swim. Read our FAQ [to understand the restrictions before heading out].