If you like to keep active whilst on a luxury holiday in Florida then the ‘Sunshine State’ of Florida is a great bet. You can spoil yourself with huge portions at the fantastic restaurants but work it all off by exploring your surroundings on two feet, two wheels, or even on a surf board! Florida is a beautiful state, with national parks, vibrant cities, 600 miles of white sand beaches, tropical islands, the world’s best theme parks, and the alligator-infested Everglades to please the eyes and exercise the body. Here are just five ways to get active in this part of the world.
Swim with dolphins
Your typical Floridian postcard? A smiling child bobbing in the water with her arms wrapped gleefully around a dolphin. These gentle and intelligent animals are the unofficial mascot of the state, and it would be a mistake to go home without getting up close and personal.
Sarasota on the southwest coast is a great place to spot dolphins on a boat trip, but you won’t be allowed to enter the water to swim with these wild creatures. Instead, many travelers head to Discovery Cove in Orlando, about an hour and a half away for a one-on-one experience.
Paddle board through Gulf Coast mangroves
There are several operators offering this fashionable way of touring the mangroves. And you don’t get a better head-to-toe workout than stand-up paddle boarding! Exploring the Woolverton Trails near Placida is a popular choice, where you can see tiny islands home to thousands of roosting birds and stop to pluck shells from sandy beaches.
You can head off on your own or take a guided tour with a qualified naturalist. Keep your eyes peeled and you might even spot a manatee or friendly dolphin.
Dig for shark’s teeth at Venice Beach
There’s something very strange about the beaches in the Venice area: beneath the surface sand, they are peppered with prehistoric shark’s teeth fossils. Wander along and you’ll probably see a number of people digging deep for the unusual prize buried in the sands. The teeth can be black, brown, or grey, and range in size from tiny, right up to several centimetres long. Get digging!
Sunset stroll along Amelia Island
The deserted, shell-strewn beaches of Amelia Island are one of Florida’s best kept secrets. If you want something a little more interesting than a walk, you could always go to one of the stables and go horse-riding through the surf. Pack a picnic and find a spot of beach that’s all yours.
Kayak through the Everglades
So there might be a few alligators and crocodiles, but why should that stop you? Various canoeing and kayaking trails lead through the freshwater marshes, mangrove forests and more open waters of Florida Bay, ranging in length from a few hours to several days. It’s a great way to see more wildlife – especially birds – that you would on the typical, noisy ‘airboat’ tours.
Alison Crabb is a Director at Exsus.
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