Cypress trees sway in the breeze, lush tropical vegetation soaks up the sunshine, and white sandy beaches glisten nearby as Buena Vista Watersports' rental jet skis, paddleboards, kayaks, canoes, and pontoons tote adventurers across the spring-fed waters of Lake Bryan alongside waterskiers and wakeboarders. The Key West–style resort, located just east of Disney World, allows families and friends to glimpse local wildlife as they skim scenic shorelines and chase picturesque settings at an aquatic reservoir as vast and secluded as Bigfoot's bathtub. The resort's alighted tiki torches and palm trees that border its tiki bar and pavilion attract groups for company picnics or private events such as weddings and parties, during which revelers can partake in watersports, dance to reggae, or watch a fire-dancing show.
The experienced staff at Seaforth Boat Rentals play host to watery adventures that were voted finalists for the KGTV San Diego A-List’s Best Water Activities in 2010 and 2011. Guided sailing adventures and WaveRunner tours shoot seafarers along the waterways for exceptional views of the coastline, splashing sea life, and dolphins circling on their own WaveRunners.
Consummate aquaphiles can haul various benefits⎯including reduced rates on the rentals of kayaks, canoes, and other seaworthy crafts, access to all five Seaforth locations, and free bicycle rentals in Mission Bay⎯with the Seaforth Sailing Club membership. Seaforth also offers sailing classes along with myriad sailing, yachting, and fishing charters for luxurious days on the water or early mornings spent serenading elusive sailfish.
From two outposts on the shores of Mission Bay, Adventure Water Sports launches vessels and seafaring classes to introduce customers to the joy of cutting through veils of spray and sunshine. Both launching points are near the bay's full-speed zone, so captains hoping to tote skiers behindpowerboats or do donuts on a scuba diver?s lawn in waverunners don't waste valuable time idling through the no-wake zone. Kayaks, pedal boats, and paddleboards cut across the steel-blue mirror of the no-wake zone, an ideal stretch for learning and exploring.
Instructors from Adventure Water Sports impart nautical wisdom to youngsters in summer youth classes that focus on anything from waterskiing and wakeboarding to riding aqua cycles. The waterfront retailers also rent out single and tandem terrestrial bicycles for those looking to cruise the Mission Beach boardwalk or simply explain the motorcycle noises they are making with their mouths.
With San Diego being one of the world’s sailing capitals, any visitor or local alike should get out onto the water and enjoy the city’s aquatic playground. Next Level Sailing has three gorgeous yachts – Abracadabra, America and Stars & Stripes – that each offer two to three hour excursions around the bay and open ocean. During these hands-on sails, passengers act as part of the team and get to steer the yachts, grind the winches and learn about the entire boating process. The 139-foot America ship takes groups whale watching off the coast from December to April, as pods of gray whales travel from Alaska to Baja. A few months later, 100-foot blue whales appear off the coast, making one of Next Level Sailing’s former America’s Cup vessels the perfect place to catch an up-close glimpse. And regardless of the season, dolphins and sea lions are always ready to make a playful appearance.
Speed Boat Adventures combines the excitement of piloting a speedboat with the ease of a guided tour. Slipping up to 10 guests into the cushioned seats of 13-foot F-13 mini speedboats, guides lead them on tours and communicate via two-way radio and fire beacons atop buoys. For those aged 18 and older, the business requires no experience or boating license to pilot the vessels, which can seat up to three and are equipped with a simple throttle-and-steer system. Swaddling each participant in US Coast Guard–approved life jackets, guides whisk them along 13 miles of the Big Bay while pointing out sites such as aircraft carriers, historic ships of the Maritime Museum of San Diego, and Seaport Village, with the San Diego city skyline as their backdrop.
Though she's only a few decades old, the Privateer has already retired to a warmer climate. In May 2011?after 28 years of ferrying passengers around on whale-watching trips in brisk Massachusetts waters?she made her way down the Atlantic, through the Panama Canal, and to the warm San Diego coast. She hasn't stopped working, however. The Privateer still carries up to 128 passengers across ocean waves during sunset cruises. With her roomy outdoor decks, she makes it easy for people to have unobstructed views of the pink-and-gold horizon kissing the Pacific's azure waters.