The YMCA is a cause-driven organization that is for youth development, for healthy living and for social responsibility. That?s because a strong community can only be achieved when we invest in our kids, our health and our neighbors. All of our YMCA of Coastal Georgia locations embody these three values so that everyone regardless of age, gender or income is given the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive at the Y. With a variety of group fitness classes ranging from Zumba to family fit nights, spin classes to TRX and everything in between, you?re sure to find what you?re looking for at the YMCA! Our staff pumps up adult fitness regimens with aquatic fitness and boot-camp classes, basketball courts, personal-training sessions and so much more. We?ve also filled our fitness centers with free weights, cardio equipment, and weight machines. When they?re not helping adults trim down waistlines during Brazilian-jujitsu, cycling, and aerobics classes, staff members are getting back in touch with their inner children. They stimulate imagination, mental development, and growth as they lead children?s day camps, after-school programs, and numerous sports offerings.
Daufuskie Discoveries creates opportunities to explore Daufuskie Island's lush, historic habitat with customized guided or private outings. An enclosed or open-air water taxi quickly shuttles small groups from Hilton Head or Savannah to the island's three-mile stretch of sandy beach in 30 minutes, with captains tossing out facts about Calibogue Sound and Cooper River. Customers disembark and board their conveyance of choice—golf cart, boat, or shoes—before bursting through the tree line into specific isle regions, such as Bloody Point, which houses the Bloody Point Cemetery and Bloody Point Lighthouse & Silver Dew Winery. Three-hour private cruises skirt the coastline as a guide artfully describes the sun dipping beneath marshes as a hot air balloon deflated by a stampeding herd of storks.
While tutoring students in the art of kiteboarding, Mike Campanaro and John Mapel of AOK Watersports are able to call upon a lifetime of wave-taming experience in a bounty of extreme sports, including power-kiting and windsurfing. Though the dedicated instructors specialize in kiteboarding, they also offer equipment, lessons, and rentals for activities such as land-kiting and paddleboarding. Two-hour land-kiting courses help beginners glean basics for handling kites or taking midnight shifts as bird walkers.
North Island Surf and Kayak's durable and dependable rentals transport paddlers into the natural world of Georgia's barrier islands. Kayaks zip through inland rivers, bays, and sinuous creeks with equal deftness and gusto. Adventurers can load the versatile vessels onto cars with the aid of a willing staff or cast off from North Island's floating dock to explore the surrounding territory. Navigate the marshes of nearby Little Tybee Island or climb to the top of Cockspur Beacon and misdirect hapless mariners. From the perch of a kayak, vigilant oar-pullers can commune with the region's native species, including dolphins, otters, and a bevy of avian friends. In addition to the pointy aquatic vessel, each rental comes with a paddle, life jacket, comfortable seat back, and flushing toilet.
With more than three decades as a marine biologist tucked under his waders, Dr. Joe Richardson has studied beaches from Nova Scotia to the Bahamas, but he still never ceases to marvel at the diversity of Tybee Island’s shores. The widely published professor emeritus of marine sciences at Savannah State University delights in sharing his knowledge about these lively shores, and to that end hosts walking tours for groups of all ages that incorporate conversation and hands-on activities. As his followers comb their fingers and toes through the sand of the beaches and inlets, they search for fossilized shark teeth and animals that Dr. Joe helps identify. He also discusses the tides, sand layers, local marine life, and which creatures eat with salad forks or soup spoons. Along the rock jetty, groups splash into tide pools to learn about the intertidal zone and the ways animals adapt to this habitat, then help Dr. Joe collect live specimens for a field aquarium by pulling in a 50-foot beach seine net and examining the fish and crabs caught in its weave. Lucky guests can glimpse the sleek fins of dolphins, and curious ones can ask Dr. Joe about his research projects, current ecological concerns, and how mermaids keep their fingers from getting pruny.
Dirk Hardison finds the beauty of Savannah to be in its details—the cherry trees that line Huntingdon Street and the antebellum Victorian architecture of the Mercer House. These are elements he knows inside and out—in his two decades as a Savannah resident, he has worked on preservation projects of the First Bryan Baptist Church and the 1921 Lucas Theatre. He also served as the architectural design consultant for the Historic Savannah Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes the maintenance and restoration of buildings in all nine historic districts.
Dirk knows that Savannah’s details are easily blurred from onboard a moving vehicle or traffic-dodging police horse, so he founded Savannah Rambles, where he orchestrates walking tours of his beloved city. Though the rambles are built around architecture, the city’s structural elements also serve as stepping-stones into explorations of Savannah’s history and culture. Aside from the signature Savannah Architectural Ramble—a two-hour tour that can be open, private, or extended to the five-hour grand version—the nighttime Dark Ramble meets at Tomochichi’s gravesite and slinks through the oldest streets and burial sites as Dirk recounts eerie Savannah lore.