Oceanside Paddlesports' knowledgeable instructors—who are professional standup-paddleboard racers—hook customers up with rental equipment and teach them how to skim across the waters around Daytona Beach in standup paddleboards. The outfit also specializes in surfing, outrigger canoeing, and kayaking, offering lessons and tours with each activity. For those who want their own equipment, the shop sells gear by brands such as Piranha, Kialoa, and Boga.
On father-son fishing trips, Bart Swab’s dad taught him not only how to cast his line but also how to treat the aquatic ecosystem surrounding him with respect. Now a licensed and insured guide, Swab helps other fisherman appreciate the open water’s beauty, helming kayak trips through Florida’s pristine saltwater marshes. After arming prospective kayakers with safety tips and familiarizing them with their fishing equipment, Swab guides lead paddlers into the water. They maintain a 3-inch draft that allows students in kayaks to sneak up on fish without having to glue sequins to their skin to look like scales. Kayakers can also gaze through binoculars at the diverse fauna roaming the area’s shores. Trips range from a half day to a full day, and for a more structured route, participants can opt for destination trips to seasonal hot spots, where they can search out fish such as black drum, sheepshead, and tarpon.
It would be hard for Ormond Beach Kayak Center to have a better location. To its east stretches the great expanse of the Atlantic Ocean, and to its west lies the Tomoka River. Trees overhang the river's waters, and the marsh offers opportunities to spy birds, deer, deer dressed like giant birds, and other wildlife. Ormond Beach Kayak Center makes use of its scenery with
fishing, surfing, paddleboarding, and kayaking. The team leads tours and lessons, and they also ferry rental gear to and from the ocean or river.
Guests are never far from the sand or surf at Hidden Treasure Tiki Bar & Grill, where American cuisine meets ocean views. Fittingly, the menu is stuffed to the gills with seafood, from wild gator-tail and crab-cake appetizers to entrees of Maine lobster, stuffed shrimp, and sea scallops. Diners can also chow down on burgers, pasta, and barbecued pork chops. The laid-back spot combines these eats with on-the-water fun by renting out hydrobikes.
The guides from Calypso Kayaking Tours take explorers into native wildlife habitats of the Florida inter-coastal waterway, traversing the shorelines in search of bottle nosed dolphins. The kayaks come within a few feet of the marine mammals, and patrons have an opportunity to wade in shallow waters. Guides also conduct trips to the Port Orange Wildlife Sanctuary, where Brown Pelicans, egrets, and herons play poker in the mudflats.
Local creek waters and river tributaries empty into an estuary along more than 150 miles of Florida's east coast. There, the freshwaters mix with salty Atlantic currents to form the Indian River Lagoon. The lagoon supports the highest levels of biodiversity found in any North American estuary. Preserving this delicate and species-rich ecosystem is the goal of Marine Discovery Center, a nonprofit corporation headquartered on the banks of the river. The MDC connects citizens to nature through kids’ summer camps, educational outreach, and frog-kissing booths. Kayak tours allow guests of all skill levels to navigate through the mangrove-framed waters of the lagoon in search of native birds, leaping mullet fish, and even Atlantic bottlenose dolphins.