Rafting in Ocala

Select Local Merchants

"We've got more canoes, kayaks and SUPs than fingers and toes to count them," Captain Wendy explains. "Also, two sailboats, eleven pontoons??all rentable. The funny thing is, this business came from a big accident." She's referring to the company?s inception in 2002, when a devastating hurricane led a friend to sign his company?s single sailboat over to Wendy and her husband, Bruce. "We were in marketing??then, suddenly, we were in boating." More than 12 years later, Windsong Charters & Boat Rentals has flourished under the duo?s stewardship. The company now performs 200 weddings each year and equips a wide range of patrons to revel in the breathless joy of cutting through playful zephyrs and out across the water. Wendy and Bruce encourage fishing and bringing pets on boating voyages, and the two share stories to delight guests or calm champagne bottles propped next to brand-new yachts. As propellers hum to life and paddles make a gentle kissing sound against the surf, visitors scan the horizon for the variety of wildlife that slips along just below the surf's surface or comes wheeling out of tufts of cumulonimbus. "I wish the animals would give us their schedules,? Wendy says, ?but, on a given day, you could see manatees, dolphins, stingrays, and lots of birds."

4927 US Highway 19
New Port Richey,
FL
US

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 day trips. There are adventures of varying length, from the 7-mile down-river trip to Rum Island to multi-day canoe camping trips to the 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.

2025 Northeast Santa Fe Boulevard
High Springs,
FL
US

Each sculled excursion includes paddles, life vests, bottles of water, a snack, and a waterproof color map.

1326 SE US Highway 19
Crystal River,
FL
US

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.

3090 S Ridgewood Ave
South Daytona,
FL
US

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.

4936 S Peninsula Dr
Ponce Inlet,
FL
US

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.

177 N Causeway
New Smyrna Beach,
FL
US