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.
Yellow and orange kayaks drift along the protected estuary of Estero Bay. They're maneuvered by small groups of kayakers led by an experienced guide who points out the multitude of wildlife surrounding the group. The certified naturalists pick out the dolphins, manatees, and wild birds as well as impart knowledge about the surrounding eco system.
Though Adventures Kayaking founder Glenn has fly-fished the Arctic Circle and helmed charter boats across Lake Michigan, the seasoned captain likes kayaking best. That’s because the small, sleek vessels grant Glenn access to Florida’s secluded backwaters and estuaries, which are inaccessible by boat. Now, Glenn and his guides impart not only their expertise on kayaking technique, but lead tour groups to the best spots on the Calusa Blueway for spotting wildlife or nabbing fish. Guides happily tailor tours to suit each group's skill levels and furnish kayaks with storage bags, coolers, and bottled water to ensure the tour remains a comfortable experience. En route, they’ll even snap pictures of groups as they glide across waterways and attempt to dodge photo-bombing manatees.
The instructors at Sweetwater Paddlesports must have a natural affinity for the water and have nurtured passions for sports ranging from surfing and wakeboarding to boating. Drawing from these combined experiences, they've channeled their efforts almost entirely toward introducing others to standup paddleboarding. In group or private lessons, they introduce basic techniques for balance and maneuvering and what to do at a red light. To supplement this aquatic-sports training, Sweetwater also coordinates on-water standup-paddleboard yoga and fitness classes. The company's fleet—which can be picked up or delivered for rental—includes standup paddleboards by makers such as Tahoe and One World and kayaks by Jackson and Feel Free.
You don't have to travel to South America to take in some of the continent's most exotic plants—you just have to head to Everglades Wonder Gardens. Here at the nearly 80-year old establishment, visitors can explore the multihued botanicals of South America up close. While perusing the flora, they can mingle with flamingos, hens, golden pheasants, and a green iguana named Buddha, which all pay homage to the center's beginnings as a rehabilitation refuge for injured animals. This history also springs to life inside the center's museum, which additionally hosts an art gallery full of pieces by local artists and new owner John Brady.
From a distance, the manatees, dolphins, and bald eagles that populate Estero Island make quite an impression. But the staff at Holiday Water Sports of Fort Myers Beach believes up-close encounters are not only the sole way to determine if the animals can talk, but also the best way to enjoy them. To that end, they guide tours and rent out myriad watercraft, from Yamaha 4 waverunners and 10-passenger pontoon boats to paddle bikes, which resemble oversized tricycles as they surge through nimbuses of sea foam. The staff hoists parasailers over their water-bound peers, letting out up to 1,200 feet of slack and allowing riders to plunge into free falls with houses and piers blurring into a cubist painting beneath them. Captains certified by the United States Coast Guard guide the ships back toward the sun-bleached sands, where the company’s rental umbrellas rustle in the breeze above lounge chairs.