The spindly branches of mangrove trees dip into Sarasota waters, often creating channels just wide enough to admit one kayak. But despite the narrow nature of these waterways, the guides of I Kayak Sarasota—all Sarasota natives—navigate them with ease. They do this while leading kayakers on tours that uncover different aspects of the bay’s natural splendor without revealing its real secret—that it’s actually a giant’s bathtub. One tour showcases the mangrove tunnels where tourists might see manatees and dolphins, and the other grants guests views of the sunset from the middle of the bay. In addition, I Kayak Sarasota offers standup-paddleboard lessons, which incorporate balance and core fitness into wave-top adventures.
Sarasota Wind and Water Adventures gives adventurers the vessels and knowledge to plunge boldly into the surf, providing paddleboard, kayak, and waterski rentals as well as lessons. Fishing trips set sail for open water with a Coast Guard-certified captain and all of the tackle necessary to hunt for kingfish, triggerfish, and the vengeful ghosts of scuba divers, while sunset cruises let passengers experience the wonder of voyaging directly into the heart of the sun.
With backgrounds in marine science and conservation, Sea Life Kayak Adventures’ guides tailor their tours to highlight the Sarasota coastline's natural splendor. They limit their expeditions to no more than 10 kayakers at a time, allowing groups to glide quietly through bays and mangrove islands without disturbing nesting herons, ambling manatees, or staring contests between sea cucumbers. Additionally, their vast knowledge of the region’s best bird-watching islands and sea-life feeding grounds empowers guides to customize tours to suit each group’s wildlife-watching ambitions. Dedicated to giving back to the waters that support their passions and livelihoods, Sea Life Kayak Adventures' owners and guides are members and volunteers at organizations including the Wildlife Education & Rehabilitation Center Inc., Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, and the Save the Manatees Foundation.
Kayak Boca Grande's knowledgeable guides unveil Florida's natural marine beauty and untamed wildlife during kayak tours through the Mangrove Tunnels and the beautiful calm waters of Gasparilla Bay. As paddlers propel themselves over the sparkling water, they find themselves sharing the splendor of the Gulf Coast with fauna such as dolphins, manatees, and great blue herons. Those who may have already taken a guided trip or prefer to chart their own course can rent a kayak instead and go out for a self-guided spin.
Since he was six, Nate Dunn has explored almost every form of water-bound sport, including surfing, kayaking, sailing, and even commercial fishing. Now his experiences allow Nate to share his knowledge of the water with locals, doling out rental paddleboards and kayaks. During his guided eco-tours, bobbing wanderers get views of mangroves, local wildlife, and disappointed surfers from the placid waters.
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.