Orlando's Wet and Wild Watersports
Though most travelers don't equate landlocked Orlando with watersports, intrepid visitors will find that the city boasts a number of idyllic bodies of water, namely, Winter Park and Harris Chains of Lakes. Whether you're geared up for some adrenaline pumping, wet and wild fun, or prefer to explore the sparkling waters at a more leisurely pace, a number of outdoor watersports fit the bill.
Stand-Up Paddle Boarding
If you're hoping to give your core muscles a killer workout while gliding across a lake's surface, turn your attention to SUP-ing. The sport has gained enormous traction in recent years, and allows adventurers to paddle across the water while standing on top of a 9- to 14-foot board (think: surfboard, but bigger). It may look like a tranquil way to slide across the water, but trust us -- it's a workout. Beginners can book lessons on the Winter Park Chain of Lakes with Paddleboard Orlando, which also offers adventure tours to more advanced SUP-ers.
It's a bird! It's a plane! It's … well, what is it, exactly? If you've looked out over the water and spied what appears to be a human (or possible superhero) with a jetpack strapped to his feet, and water spurting from those jet packs to propel him high in the sky, you've seen someone flyboarding. A flyboarding adventure is about as far from a relaxed afternoon on the lake as you'll get. In fact, the propulsion can send flyboarders skyrocketing up to 50 feet in the air. That said, don't attempt this if you're afraid of heights. Should you still be game to give it a whirl, book a "flight" (complete with operations and safety training) with FlyBoard Rentals of Orlando.
Adventurers who prefer high-speed exploration should hop aboard a jet ski and power past the Winter Park Chain of Lakes' sprawling waterfront estates, while catching glimpses of the flora and fauna that also dot the coast. Travelers to the region can make an appointment to have a jet ski delivered to the Winter Park lake of their choice by the outfitter, Makaio Watersports. Makaio serves as a jet ski delivery service, and offers folks an orientation to the equipment before helping them embark on their jet ski adventure.
Perhaps the most calming means by which to explore Orlando's scenic waterways is via kayak. As your narrow vessel glides over lakes and canals, attentive kayakers will likely spot the many waterfowl and birds that call the region home, like egrets, eagles, and ospreys. Schedule a tour with Peace of Mind Kayak Tours, which offers a 2-hour, guided excursion through the Winter Park Chain of Lakes. You'll paddle past looming cypress trees draped in Spanish moss, tangled ferns, and colorful sub-tropical flowers. The tour even leads kayakers through historic canals that were once used as a Central Florida logging route.
Anglers will find no shortage of fantastic outposts from which to cast a line. Whether you opt to visit Harris Chain of Lakes or Winter Park, you'll soon discover that the waters are rich with largemouth bass, black crappie, tilapia, bream, and many other fish. While fishermen can stand on the shores of Lake Virginia's Dinky Dock Park, you'd be better served to get out on the open water in a small boat or kayak.