Mark Toomey once helmed his own recruitment firm in Nottingham, England, on the outskirts of Sherwood Forest, but a disdain for damp winters led him to the sun-drenched beaches of Siesta Key. Since opening Robin Hood Rentals in 2009, Mark has persevered through what he calls "Florida's harshest winter in 30 years," during which temperatures teetered near the freezing mark. He equips visitors with rental land-based and aquatic craft that let them explore the area without having to saddle a horse or propose to a dolphin.
From its perch near the Jim Neville Marine Preserve, the company fits cyclists with a range of beach, mountain, and tandem bicycles; matches riders to a fleet of two-seat 49cc automatic scooters; and trains visitors to venture off on newer-model i2 LeanSteer Segways. They also let kayakers explore the local waterways from sunrise into the nighttime.
When Brian McInerney reflects on the humble beginnings of Wheel Fun Rentals, he points to his childhood passion for bikes. "As far back as I can remember, I had a real love affair with bicycles," he recalls. During a trip to Italy in 1987, Brian's affinity for cycling blossomed into a full-fledged obsession when he spotted locals' transporter of choice, the surrey. Inspired, he began importing the Italian four-wheelers to a rental business in the U.S. that eventually expanded into Wheel Fun Rentals, now a nationwide web of shops that also loans out bikes, electric cars and mopeds, and man-powered watercraft. Adventuresome athletes can also compete in activities such as surrey scavenger hunts and blindfold obstacle courses navigated via shouted instructions from a seeing teammate or exceptionally long rounds of trial and error.
Dunedin Watersports sets visitors sailing past fluffy clouds and gentle wakes on the Gulf of Mexico on jet skis, kayaks, paddleboards, and jet boats. With rental sessions lasting from 30 minutes to a full day, staff members equip renters with the means to paddle out to the likes of Caladesi Island State Park and its mangroves or zip along the tranquil coastline. Jet-boat rentals speed groups to fishing locations, and when the water is right, visitors may try paddleboarding with Poseidon's trident. The team can also provide fishing gear for angling trips or sets of snorkeling gear to get visitors close enough to swim alongside fish.
The newest addition to the fleet is the jet-pack-like flyboard, which uses hydraulic water pressure to create forceful streams that help to propel participants from the water?s surface and through the air. Not keeping solely to the Dunedin beachfront, the team also delivers speedboats and watercraft to customers? launch sites.
Located along the aquamarine shoreline of Clearwater Beach, Makin Waves supplies the ingredients for fun seaside jaunts, providing everything from beach balls to boat rentals. Beachgoers can relax in Makin Waves' reclining blue beach chairs beneath the shade of umbrellas or set out on a rental jet ski in search of dolphins or tricksters wearing fake shark fins. The shop's Australian suntan products fend off sunrays, and floating rafts allows up to six friends to relax atop deep-blue waters. Visitors may explore land and sea in a variety of other rental vehicles, such as banana boats, bicycles, and naval warships.
Just steps from Crystal Lake?and situated directly between Lakes Minnehaha and Mineeola?Clermont Waterfront Bikes and Boards provides ways to explore surroundings by both land and water. Rent a standup-paddleboard or kayak to explore the plethora of nearby waterways after taking an introductory lesson that is included with each rental. Landlubbers can borrow bikes to cruise along the car-free South Lake Trail, which connects to a network of other soothing Central Florida Trails.
Just a few steps from more than 22 miles of scenic trail-ways, West Orange Trail Bikes and Blades Co. provides tourists and locals with rentable bikes to explore the surrounding splendor. Stretching along Lake Apopka and through downtown Winter Garden, the path passes by boutiques, ice-cream shops, and historic destinations to jump off and explore by foot. Hourly and full-day rentals are available, and bikes can be delivered directly to any of the surrounding hotels. Those craving a more curated experience can sign up for guided tours, which traverse local trails, through populated downtown areas, and alleys filled with One Man's Treasure. Thanks to the range of bicycles offered, West Orange allows renters to get the right bike for hitting the trails or harmonizing to a rendition of "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head."