The YMCA of Coastal Georgia promotes healthy living, youth development, and social responsibility through a variety of fitness and wellness classes. Membership includes access to gymnasiums, pools, strength and cardio equipment, and group exercise classes such as Contoured Bodies at the Effingham branch, in which simple deep-muscle movements tone the body to improve posture, balance, flexibility, and the likelihood of causing nearby coworkers to sit up straighter in their chairs. Various locations host traditional yoga and flexibility-technique classes, and Zumba classes fuse energetic music with calorie-burning dance moves for a lively workout experience. Groupon buyers also receive $25 to use toward classes, programs, and benefits not included in the monthly membership, such as a 30-minute massage from a licensed massage therapist ($25 for members), or a fall youth soccer session ($50+ for members) that teaches good sportsmanship, the value of exercise, and the importance of being able to manipulate a large object with one's forehead.
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.
Tybee Island Slow Ride's experienced local drivers chauffer pedaling participants through scenic downtown locales aboard a 10-seat Street Crawler that travels about 5 mph. Riders seated in the vehicle's seats lend pedal power to the guide piloting the quad-wheeled transport while music pounds through the Crawler's speakers. Tour popular shopping areas, pubs, and restaurants with three friends or family members while sitting in covered comfort at the mega-bike's solid wood bar, a handy surface to rest frozen beverages, adult libations, or leather-bound copies of Rules of the Road. Riders must be at least 18 years old to travel without a parent, but any adventurer can hop aboard for an hour of pedal pushing, provided they are at least 5 feet tall, able to reach the pedals, and have a tattoo of Lance Armstrong's bike helmet.
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.