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If you were going to rank the best things about living in Florida, the ready access to the water would have to be in the top three. And when you take the amicable year-round weather into account, there’s rarely a bad time to head out onto the water.
But all the same, with summer upon us, it’s especially likely that you’ll have boating on the brain right now. If you’re looking to head out, then check out our top boat activities to make this summer one remember.
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1. Try Wake-Surfing
Florida has had a long love affair with watersports, starting with the famous (and sadly retired) Cypress Gardens water ski shows of the 1940s and continuing to the sporting culture of today. It’s not just fun; it’s practically a state tradition at this point.
One sport that’s caught on both here and abroad it wake surfing. Its popularity has grown to the point boat-builders are now producing vessels with ballast tanks and specialized trim tabs to create larger, smoother wakes.
But you don’t need a custom craft to enjoy it. So long as your boat produces a wake, you can surf it. A decent board and a tow rope can be had for around $300 and can last you not only the season but for years to come.
2. Get Some Riding Tow-Toys
Wakeboards and water skis aren’t the only way to have a little tow-along fun. If you want all the exhilaration without having to worry about staying on your feet, you’ve got options.
The old-fashioned tube is the most basic choice, but there’s plenty of variety on the market these days, ranging from two-person banana floats to four-person “lounge chairs.”
The smallest ones can be bought online for around a hundred bucks, and when towed at slow speeds can be an excellent activity for youngsters. Or if you just prefer to be pulled along at a leisurely pace with a beverage in-hand.
3. Get Under the Sea
From crystal clear freshwater springs to coral reefs, Florida might have the most varied and beautiful undersea scenery in the United States. And it’s all just waiting down there for you to come for a visit.
The simplest and most direct way to go on your underwater adventure is snorkeling. Any reasonably skilled swimmer can do it with a little practice, so it makes for an accessible way to get up close and personal with some beautiful marine life. Just remember to remind your little ones to be respectful and look, not touch!
But if you’re more ambitious, this summer could be the one where you finally get your scuba certification.
Suppose you spend any time on the water, which as a boat owner, we assume that you do, getting certified is just one of those things that you should do. It’s like getting a fishing license; you’re already on the water, why not take the extra step?
When you’re down there, you’ll find that it feels like you’re in a whole world all it’s own. It’s a great way to escape the stress and strain of the day-to-day for a little while.
4. Have a Pirate-Themed Adventure
Though their stories are obfuscated by myth, pirates are a very real part of Florida history. And for their part, Floridians are happy to honor that legacy with festivals, parades, and an NFL team.
But while Gasparilla might be in the middle of winter, there’s no reason you can’t stage your pirate adventure any time of the year. Not if you have a boat, anyway.
If you have kids in your party, this can be a fun (and even educational) activity to keep them occupied over the summer. But kids don’t have to have all the fun.
Plenty of Floridians keep the pirate spirit alive all year long with pirate parties. And if you happen to be seabound, they can be a great way to liven up your next day or night out on the water.
5. Go Golf-Fishing
Golf-fishing is a novelty “sport” dreamt up to liven up lazy days out on the water. As the name implies, it’s a fusion of fishing and golfing that goes a little like this:
- While fishing, count how many casts it takes to catch something.
- Toss an inner tube overboard and lay a piece of artificial turf on the bow. Count how many strokes it takes to ship a golf ball through the tube. Oh, and be sure to use one of the biodegradable balls they make just for these sorts of games.
- Combine your casts with your strokes—the player with the lowest total wins.
Golf-fishing is just one of many games improvised by boaters to pass a long summer’s day. There are countless varieties and permutations that you could come up with.
6. Taste the Water’s Bounty
Nothing says summertime like a fish fry, and seafood doesn’t get much fresher than your catch of the day. But even if the fish aren’t biting, you still have options.
Florida is home to 58 different species of freshwater crayfish, and except for a few species protected by law, there are no limits on how many you can harvest. Hard clams are likewise in season year-round, as well as several species of oysters, according to state regulations. A day out, boating can translate into a seafood boil with family and friends later that night.
7. Have a Flotilla Party
You have block parties in the neighborhood and tailgates before games. But what about the water? That’s where the flotilla comes in.
These parties are the meet-up of choice in the boating community. If you don’t have many friends with boats, you might need to do some networking to get invited to one. But once you’re there, you’re in for the party of the season.
Just pack some party favors, invest in the best boat speakers you can get hold off, and enjoy the summer sun.
Boat Activities Are Always in Season
In Flordia, there’s rarely ever a time not to head out onto the water. On the contrary, you’re probably always looking for new boat activities to justify a day on the waves.
These suggestions are just the beginning. For more ideas on how to live the Florida lifestyle to the fullest, be sure to keep up with all the latest from Florida Independent.