Located in the shadow of the Marriott hotel, Clearwater Jet Ski and Parasail outfits beachgoers with the equipment to safely speed across or sail above the waves. Its three-seater jet skis kick up massive wakes as they roar over the sapphire surface of the water, and tandem kayaks trundle along. Staff-operated speedboats tow parasails behind them, passengers getting a seagull’s view of the waves and a firm understanding of how silly the dog paddle looks from a distance.
The introductory kayaking lessons at Bill Jackson's Shop for Adventure utilize personalized instruction to teach landlubbers ages 12 and older how to glide across waterways. After imparting fundamental techniques such as boarding and exiting a kayak in a custom-built, 100,000-gallon heated, indoor pool, experienced instructors lead fledgling paddlers to Freedom Lake Park, where they can hit the open waters or barter with a mermaid. Beginners looking for a relaxed experience can sign up for the two-hour recreational kayaking lesson where they'll rest atop a sit-on kayaks' molded seat as they enjoy scenic views of trees and picnic areas surrounding the lake.
Sweetwater Kayak’s self-guided kayak tours give seafarers a quiet look at the ecosystems of Weedon Island without the clamor and commotion of a motorboat or Secret Service motorcade. Paddling patrons can wind along the 4-mile marked trail, across crystalline lagoons and under mangrove tunnels in hopes of seeing a resident bird, dolphin, or manatee. Each floating foray lasts up to four hours and provides a panorama of pristine environments and a glimpse into the life of Blackbeard. Sweetwater Kayaks will provide the necessary vessels, paddles, life vests, and trail maps, and Groupon holders can check here for a list of other supplies they need to bring (some of which can be purchased at Sweetwater Kayaks if forgotten).
Helmed by Captain Charles Davis, Flatmasters Fishing Adventures offers guided, all-inclusive fishing trips to anglers of all levels. For any of the company's half- or full-day excursions, clients climb into a kayak already loaded with necessary equipment, including rods, reels, and live or artificial bait. Out on the water, instructors divulge tips for reeling in catches and working around irked fish who sit and tap their "No Soliciting" signs. The company's educational opportunities stretch beyond fishing, too, with basic kayaking lessons.
Whether renting a buccaneer deck boat, manning a fishing boat, or taking a kayak out for a spin, customers utilize the Belle Harbour Marina's extensive fleet to explore Anclote River, close to Tarpon Springs' Sponge Docks. Boaters can follow boating area charts or cut their own path, careening across the surface of the water as they look out for manatees, dolphins, and notes in a bottle they regret sending. They can also rent a stereo and drop anchor to lie out on Anclote Key's sand bars and islands, or they can rent tackle and ice boxes to search for the flats' sea trout, redfish, and snook.
The state of Florida was once entirely underwater—and Florida Eco-Adventures’ tours explore the parts that still are. Founders Mac and Suzanne McCormick lead adventurers through waters such as Kings Bay that, thanks to its 72-degree waters, is a wintertime refuge for West Indian Manatees. The Silver River, meanwhile, hosts a more eclectic array of wildlife, ranging from gators—although they’re too shy and skittish for regular sightings—to sunfish and rhesus monkeys.
Renters must be at least 21 years old, and a credit card and ID are required as a deposit during rental periods. You must be 23 or older to operate the jet ski alone, and people ages 18–21 can ride alone with a boater-safety card. Previous boating experience is required to drive the pontoon, and guides are available to drive-inexperienced boaters.