Top 5 Water Sport Adventures in the Florida Keys – see images
An abundance of tranquil, turquoise water and warm year-round temperatures make the Florida Keys the perfect holiday destination for aqua sports enthusiasts. The subtropical Florida Keys and Key West offer a wide variety of ways to get the adrenaline pumping, including one of 2014’s “must try” adventure activities: flyboarding.
1. Flyboard Like Iron Man
A new and exhilarating addition in the Keys, flyboarding, allows participants to soar like the fictional Iron Man above the ocean’s surface, providing a sensation of weightlessness and freedom. The flyboard is a developed interpretation of the established jetpack, with the participant strapping his or her feet into special shoes that are attached to powerful water jets, enabling take-off, hovering and other maneuvers.
Barefoot Billy’s in Key West offers an hour-long flyboarding experience from $214 per person. Visitors will receive one-on-one flight lessons that thoroughly explain how to take off, hover and land safely. The price includes 15 minutes of training and 30 minutes of actual flying time. All flyboard excursions depart from Barefoot Billy’s location at the historic Casa Marina, a Waldorf Astoria resort.
For more information and to book, visit www.barefootbillys.com.
2. Swim with Dolphins
Swim with stingrays, dolphins or sea lions at Theater of the Sea. A lush 17-acre tropical oasis located in Islamorada at mile marker 84.5, Theater of the Sea features a variety of fish and marine life, native birds, colorful and personable parrots, sea turtles, crocodiles and exotic plants. General admission includes live performances by dolphins, sea lions and parrots, a guided tour of marine-life exhibits and a glass-bottom boat tour of their natural saltwater lagoon. Theater of the Sea also hosts special swim programs with dolphins, stingrays and sea lions for kids as young as 5 and dolphin wade programs for kids as young as 3. The park opens daily at 9:30 a.m.
General admission is $21.95 for ages 3-10 and $31.95 for ages 11 and over. Swimming with dolphins costs $185.00 per person. For more information and to book, visit www.theaterofthesea.com/
Dolphin Research Center on Grassy Key is a research and educational facility that's home to a family of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins and California sea lions. The center and its staff, winners of numerous awards, specialize in behavioral research and maintain liaisons with university research programs and independent scientists around the world. Visitors to the center can participate in enjoyable and educational programs that provide knowledge and insights about dolphins, their environment and their remarkable abilities. Through a number concepts research study, researchers discovered that the marine mammals could identify simple math and distinguish the difference between numbers they were presented on a board.
Dolphin encounters $199 per person, and toddlers ages 5 and under $50. The prices include all day admission for participants. For more information and to book, visit http://www.dolphins.org/
3. Fury’s Ultimate Florida Keys Adventure
For nearly 30 years, Fury Water Adventures has been offering adventure enthusiasts a variety of high-adrenaline activities. Fury’s most popular excursion is Ultimate Adventure – an action-packed day that includes parasailing, jet skiing, kayaking and snorkeling. Leaving at 10 a.m., Fury takes visitors on a seven-mile journey aboard a 65-foot sailing catamaran whilst the group enjoys breakfast. The first stop is at the only living coral barrier reef in the continental United States, where visitors can snorkel amongst angelfish, parrotfish, blue tangs and more. Following this, guests will enjoy complimentary lunch as the adventure moves to the Gulf of Mexico side of the Florida Keys for an afternoon of parasailing, jet skiing, kayaking, climbing and jumping. Guests can end the day enjoying complimentary beer and wine on the sail back.
The Ultimate Adventure day trip costs $139.95 per adult and $69.95 per child ages 6–12. For more information and to book, visit www.furycat.com.
4. Full Moon Paddleboarding
Travelers who have mastered the art of paddleboarding can take their skills to the next level on the Full Moon Paddleboard tour offered by Captain Hook’s Marina & Dive Center in Marathon. Participants are escorted on the Jolly Roger, Captain Hook’s 45-foot Corinthia Catamaran, to a secluded location under the full moon. During the three-hour excursion, they have the opportunity to observe scenery and marine life from a unique moonlit perspective.
The excursion costs $45 per person. For more information and to book, visit www.marathonwatersports.com.
5. Kiteboarding in the World’s Sportfishing Capital
Kiteboarding is one of the fastest growing sports in the world, offering thrill-seekers an experience that combines elements of wakeboarding, windsurfing, surfing, paragliding and gymnastics into one extreme sport. Islamorada Watersports Company, whose boardsports division is known as Seven Sports, has been teaching visitors how to kitesurf since 1999 and offers private lessons for people at all level of abilities. Each lesson is taught by a professional kite instructor and is supported by a jet ski or a boat. Islamorada, widely known as the Sportfishing Capital of the World, is the perfect location for kitesurfing because it combines the deep blue waters of the Florida Straits with some sandbars that can be challenging to navigate.
The beginners experience costs $300 and includes approximately two hours of kiteboarding time. Intermediate and advanced lessons cost $150 per hour. For more information and to book, visit www.islamoradawatersportscompany.com.
For more information on the Florida Keys and Key West, visit www.fla-keys.com
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