The Top 4 Must-Try Water Sports in the Sunshine State - 30A


The Top 4 Must-Try Water Sports in the Sunshine State

By: Nicola Quinn | Posted Oct 26, 2020

Whether you prefer something relaxing that you can do at your own pace or you’re in search of your next high-speed thrill, Florida has got such a huge range of water sports to offer that you’re sure to find the perfect one.

To help you decide which aquatic adventure is the right one for you, we’ve put together a list of the top four water sports in Florida, plus a few tips on the best places to try them.

1. SUP

Short for Stand-Up Paddle boarding, SUP is a fantastic water sport because it can be chilled out and laid-back or exciting and challenging – whatever you want it to be! To have a go yourself, you’ll need an SUP board (similar to a surfboard, but longer and wider) and a long paddle. Then all you have to do is get out into the water, hop on your board and use your paddle to guide you through the sea.

The best-selling boards are from YOLO Board, a company founded and based right here in Santa Rosa Beach.

The Coastal Dune Lakes in South Walton, Florida in the panhandle are an amazing spot to see wildlife such as turtles and sharks. Destin Harbor has reliably calm waters, making it ideal for beginners. Try SUP-ing when the water is calm and the sun setting to really feel at peace with nature or try it when there are some small waves and see if you can ride one!

2. Snorkeling

Snorkeling through the coral reefs

With loads of beautiful coral reefs to explore, Florida really is one of the best places in the world for snorkeling.

Hire a boat or sign up for a snorkeling tour and head over to the Middle Keys where you’ll find some of the best snorkeling in the state.

Hen & Chickens, Cheeca Rocks and Alligator Reef are all incredible spots in the Middle Keys where you’ll have the chance to see everything from gray snappers, barracuda and sergeant majors to eels, stingrays and turtles. Not forgetting the huge variety of captivating coral formations and living sponges that come in all shapes, colors and sizes.

The South Walton Artificial Reef Association has installed reefs off the coasts of Grayton Beach, Inlet Beach and a few others that are offering great snorkeling opportunities.

Beach Happy ????️???? visits Grayton Beach State Park!

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Grady-White Boats | MarineMax Panama City Beach | MarineMax Fort Walton Beach | MarineMax Pensacola | Land Rover Gulf Coast |

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3. Kayaking

Kayaking with friends

If you’d rather stay dry and keep your head above water, give kayaking a shot. Florida is absolutely brimming with incredible places to discover in a kayak, whether you want to hit the open ocean or play it safe and stick to a lake.

To feel like you’re the only person in the world exploring a real deserted island, head to the Indian Key State Park off Islamorada.

Here you can work your way around the captivating rocky edge of the key and hop onto the island for a wander if the mood takes you. Or to catch a glimpse of the fascinating local wildlife, try the National Wildlife Refuge at Cedar Key, where you can spot incredible creatures, like dolphins and manatees underwater and ospreys and eagles overhead.

4. Wave Running

Wave Running with DOPLHINS

Photo Courtesy:

What do you get if you combine a jet ski, a power jet boat and a motorbike? A wave runner!

This super high-speed machine is definitely one of the most fun and invigorating ways to get to know Florida’s coastline and is a must-try if you’re an adrenaline junkie.

For a truly unforgettable experience, sign up for a wave running tour along the Ten Thousand Islands. This majestic part of the state is home to beautiful mangrove forests and pristine beaches which not only attract people, but dolphins and manatees, too! If you don’t want to venture too far, Miami Beach is another excellent option. There are loads of companies offering wave runner tours in the area and the scenery is so beautiful you’ll be constantly awe-struck.

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Nicola Quinn is a British freelance writer based on the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands. During the week she knuckles down and gets the job done, but on the weekend she spends her time soaking up the sunshine on the little volcanic island she calls home.