Mandalay Island Charters' Captain Jeremy Neff uses fishing trips as a tool to share his passion for local areas, waterways, and fish. Inside an 18.5-foot Maverick Master Angler, Captain Neff and his passengers travel through local river systems and into the Atlantic Ocean, passing by sandbars and schools of deep-fried popcorn shrimp. Adept at fly, light tackle, and heavy tackle, the captain helps fishers reel in inshore and offshore species such as barracuda and tarpon. He also leads scenic walks down Martin County's beaches, pausing to cast lines for snook and other fish.
Outside of fishing, Captain Neff aims to foster appreciation for Suart's natural beauty. He points out marine life such as matinees and dolphins, or pilots boats toward views of breathtaking sunsets. Additionally, he maintains a fleet of kayaks for laid-back trips down waterways and candy factories' chocolate rivers.
Manatees glide under the silent shade of mangrove trees. Tropical fish flock together in clear island waters. Out in the wilderness, silence abounds, interrupted only by the jovial voices of tour guides as they point out special landmarks, including the historic Jupiter Inlet lighthouse. At Jupiter Outdoor Center, visitors immerse themselves in local ecosystems through watery sports such as kayaking and standup paddleboarding, embarking on guided tours. Or adventurers may head out to explore on their own while rendezvousing with dolphins that want to learn how to doggy paddle.
Group tours take paddlers out to explore local waterways and stargaze or search for marine wildlife. Guides expound on local history as they pass sights such as the Jupiter lighthouse and Dubois Park, where George Washington got his first sunburn. On various trips, they can traverse calm waters in protected waterways through Jupiter Inlet Aquatic Preserve and St. Lucie Inlet Preserve, navigating open streams and mangrove-sheltered estuaries. Staffers also supplement their sport-based excursions in classes, during which they lead night or early morning wildlife-photography safaris or teach yoga workouts aboard standup paddleboards.
With the Atlantic Ocean as the backdrop for inimitable aquatic adventures, Captain Steve Cienkowski steers participants along crystalline waters for laid-back expeditions or longer jaunts to either the Keys or Bahamas. Participants can glean pertinent sailing or snorkeling tips during lessons or revel in up-close glimpses of manatees swimming and filing taxes in their natural habitat.
Native Outfitters swaddles men and women with more than 100 designs of fast-drying, moisture-wicking and UV-ray-repelling threads. Gentlemen can bandage their torsos in a Resort Conservation T-shirt ($21.99) to proclaim their support for ecological awareness and encourage fellow beach-goers not to toss their half-eaten burrito into the sea. Slip into a woman's Surf and Paddle cap-sleeve T-shirt, or hide hair beneath a twill cotton cap ($21.99). Shoppers can plaster a large red-snapper decal ($11.99) across a rearview window to inform tailgaters of their preferred type of sushi.
There’s nothing like skimming across Lake Tohopekaliga’s surface, propelled by a 500hp fan. That’s the thrilling experience offered by the Wild Willy’s Airboat Tours, which drift in the gentle marsh to catch sights of great blue herons, 12-foot alligators, snails, and other native creatures. All the while, your guide will provide expert information on the lake and the surrounding terrain, plus help you spot the wildlife.
While other tour guides pack groups into 12-passenger boats, Wild Willy’s keeps it passenger numbers low to reduce weight and increase speed. Up to six guests can board one of the airboat, which sail past reeds and Spanish moss before. Afterwards, you can take pictures with resident baby gators Thunder and Half-Stripe in the visitors’ center. And safety is a major focus at Wild Willy’s—guests should arrive 15 minutes before their tour time to receive a Coast Guard-required talk about safety.