The husband-and-wife team behind Adventure Lifestyle lead intimate tours of South Africa, Egypt, Europe, New England, and sailing excursions around Florida. Small groups can ride a camel around the pyramids of Giza or take a boat cruise down the Seine. Guides Rudi and Jenny speak a variety of languages and have lived in numerous countries, granting them the expertise to give memorable tours.
It only took two weeks on the picturesque shores of Tahiti and Moorea to send Craig Stewart into a tailspin. He and wife Evelyn fell in love with the South Pacific’s crystalline waters and beachy breezes, so much so that the prospect of remaining in their native Oklahoma turned gloomy. Six years after the Stewarts’ Pacific vacation, they stumbled upon Sanibel Island. With a love for the waters still coursing through their veins, they uprooted and moved there, making it home base for Adventures in Paradise. In 1986, they started out with one boat—Miss Paradise—and one tour, the sunset dolphin cruise. Today, the Stewart family maintains a much larger operation. Their tour topics range from fishing and shelling to dolphin watching to historical sightseeing on a trolley.
Under the capable direction of Captain Gene Becker, the 75-foot Fort Myers Princess glides into the Gulf of Mexico on a variety of day and night cruises. Certified by the U.S. Coast Guard to carry up to 135 passengers, the boat offers dual styles of relaxation on its decks: the climate-controlled lower level, where guests can sip on the ship's signature drink, the "Princess Punch," and the open-air upper deck that can accommodate more casual events. Sightseeing cruises put passengers up-close with southwest Florida wildlife and other water inhabitants.
At Wheel Fun Rentals, visitors can traverse surrounding areas in fun paddle- and pedal-propelled vessels while soaking in oft-overlooked scenery. Established in 1999, Wheel Fun Rentals has since provided locals and tourists with an engaging way to sightsee while promoting a healthy lifestyle. With their $27 credit, customers are able to rent a wide range of vehicles for up to two hours, including a pedal boat, surrey, hydro bike, or double kayak. Because rental fees apply toward the entire land or sea vessel and are not per person, Groupon holders can grab some friends and rent three single kayaks for one hour, or multiple single bikes for one hour.
Pirates cheer as cannons fire smoke across the sea. Yet while the pirates are actors and the cannons are just miniaturized toys, the ship they sail upon is anything but pretend—it's a 65-foot steel-hulled vessel designed by a naval architect to look like a Spanish galleon.
Named for the prized Spanish currency of yore, Pieces of Eight Pirate Cruise evokes the golden age of buccaneering as it sets sail from Salty Sam’s Marina. The ship is helmed by a merry band of pirates—such as Pick Pocket Pete, Peg Leg Meg, and Fancy Face Phil—that bookends lessons on pirate history with sing-along chanteys and skits. The 90-minute family-friendly cruise also includes map-reading trivia, face painting, yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum. During the ride, passengers are welcome to explore the upper and lower decks or step inside the grand salon for ice cream, pretzels, and other treats.
In addition to its all-ages cruises, Pieces of Eight hosts an adults-only cruise on Friday nights, which includes cocktails and its own revue. It also charters private cruises to celebrate birthdays and other special occasions.
Situated in the midst of a wildlife-rich preserve on the Lee County coast, Kayak Excursions, based at Bunche Beach, doles out an arsenal of paddleboards and kayaks for fishing, sightseeing, or motorized water-skimming. Guides lead sightseers out on three-hour tours that pass by lush mangrove forests, salt flats, sandy beaches, and sirens holding band practice in secluded coves. The densely populated waters of southwest Florida open their cache of sea candies to wide-eyed fishermen, who can paddle out to cast lines for snapper, cobia, and sea trout with or without a professional guide. Kayak and paddleboard rentals are available by the half-day, full-day, or week.