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Showing posts with label Florida. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Florida. Show all posts

Try SUP/paddleboarding In Florida For FREE !

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Stand up paddleboarding is probably one the most beginner friendly water sports out there. Not only is it easy to learn, it's also cheap or even free to try.

Last summer I had a proper introduction to SUP, and had a great chance to try different boards during a free SUP on-the-water demo day at Magnuson Park organized by Seattle REI.

This summer, while in Tampa,Florida, I attended another free SUP demo , this time organized by a local outfitter Watersports West locataed in Largo, FL

One thing that I was looking forward to the most was a chance to paddle in the Gulf of Mexico...Unfortunately, the demo took place at a local marina, thus taking a bit of fun out of paddling. What I loved about it was a chance for me to try out a couple new boards.

Specifically designed for women paddlers, Tahoe SUP’s Zephyr and Bliss were a bast to paddle, and are the most beautiful boards I have seen. The finishing, graphics, and colors make these boards stand out from the crowd.

But what really caught my attention was Pelican Flow 106 Stand Up Paddle Board

I've tried " hybrid" boards ( sit-on-top kayak/stand up paddleboard ) like Nalu or Emotion boards before, and it was a big disappointment. Heavy and slow, the boards were hard to paddle.

No doubt, they are big, stable, and very durable. But unlike other plastic SUPs, Pelican was amazingly light and fast !

One thing that all these plastic stand up paddleboards have in common is the price. I've already seen a few Nalu SUPs on Craigslist for $300-350, and brand new ones on Amazon go for $ 350-550.

So, if this summer you decide to give SUPing a try, there is no better ( and cheaper ! ) way than attending a free demo. This way you will be able to see if stand up paddleboarding is for you, and also, decide which board to buy in the future.

Outdoor adventures in Miami and Florida Keys.

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Planning your adventure trip to Florida any time soon ? Here are a few suggestions from my recent trip to Miami and Key West.

Before going there, I stopped by Barnes & Nobles and my local library, to see if I could find any good info on outdoor activities and adventures in that area. Once again, I came to conclusion that those were not the best places to find detailed, and (what was especially important to me!) budget conscious information.

The first "must-do" activity for me was surfing. Though, South Beach is considered to be one of the top 10 beaches in the world, don't get too excited. I had to drive to Haulover Park (40 min drive from South Beach ) just to catch a few 2ft( 5ft top) waves. It was a bit mushy; its a good idea to go with a long board. Haulover Park ,also, turned out to be ...nude beach. So, it kind of worked out.

Interesting fact: renting out a jet ski for 1 hour at South Beach- $75.
Key West -$35.
Parasailing at South Beach- single $85, Tandem- $ 150.
Key West ? $ 41 single !

What I am trying to say here is, that you really won't find these kind of deals in guide books ( outdated info), and you'll spend hours on Internet to find a good ( read-cheap) deal.

You want more, better deals ? Fury Water Adventures in Key West offers Ultimate Adventure Pass.
$ 125 will buy you: snorkeling, sailing, kayaking, jet ski,parasailing and a lot of fun ! One drawback- you have to do all that withing 6 hours (10 am-4pm). Don't know about you, but for me there is never too much fun.

Two more "must-do" adventures in Key West should be fishing and diving.

If you are not crazy about spending the whole day with a rod, your best choice is- fishing party boats. Be warned ! : Don't go for those "private" super expensive charters ( unless, of course, you can either afford one or you are really into fishing), who will charge you $500-700 for half/full day trips.
A four hour trip on Tortuga or The Gulfstream III party boats will cost you ...$50-55 ! They supply the rod & reel, on board cold storage for the fish, fish cleaning, and the fishing license. What do you do with that fish ? Have a professional taxidermist make a fabulous trophy mount of a fish you've just caught !

When it comes to diving and snorkeling, the Florida Keys unlock an underwater paradise. Here, you'll find the longest living reef in the western hemisphere; more than 500 wrecks to explore; more dive shops per square mile than anywhere else in the world; and crystal clear waters with visibility up to 120 feet.

Not scuba certified ? No problem !

Snuba diving is a popular guided touring activity in many tropical tourist locations (Florida is not an exception). Snuba is also popular because no prior dive experience is necessary. More fun than snorkeling and less training than in scuba diving.The air, instead of coming from tanks (like in scuba diving), comes through a long hose from tanks on pontoon rafts on the surface. Drawback- snuba dive is limited to about 20 ft.

But whether you are scuba or snuba diving in Florida, one place "absolutely- must- do"-Jules ! Never heard of it? Absolutely "one of the things to see" before you die!

The Jules Undersea Lodge is an underwater hotel in Key Largo, Florida and is the only such hotel in the United States. It is 30 feet deep on the ocean floor and guests have to scuba dive (you don't have to be certified !) to get to their rooms. The hotel is located at the bottom of the Emerald Lagoon.

Though the price is 475.00/person per night, you can stop by Jules' Undersea Lodge for a three hour visit. Enjoy unlimited diving for certified divers, watch a movie, listen to music, or just relax and enjoy the tranquility of Innerspace for $125 per person (two person minimum reservation). Word of advice- call minimum 2 weeks ahead.

Of course ,there is much more to do and to see in Florida. And I am sure, you can find activities and adventures for every budget. This trip taught me a few things:
-plan in advance
-do detailed research
-try to find local "expert" to help with planning
-don't try to do all at once