Florida boasts 12,133 square miles of water which makes up 18.5% of the state. Pair that with summertime temperature averages over 80 degrees, and it is no wonder why people in the sunshine state flock to all the different water sources Florida has to offer; and there are many! From crystal clear, spring-fed rivers, endless estuaries and marsh to beautiful lily pad riddled cypress swamps; Florida has a little bit of everything to offer. Florida is rich in wildlife as well--paddle with manatees, dolphins and alligators, you never know what you are going to see! The best way to experience the beauty of the water is via kayak. Kayaks are affordable, stealthy, easy to transport and require little skill (in most cases). They are also a great source of exercise!
There are many benefits to using a kayak to explore Florida’s waterways. My personal favorite is the fact that they are so quiet. Something about silently moving about the water is serene. You are able to hear all the sounds and see all the sights with clarity. The animals seem to enjoy your company a little more, too. They tend to stick around a little longer when you’re not in a loud, smoke and smell emitting two-stroke outboard motor. Kayaks are also great for getting to those hard to reach places that most power boats cannot go. I have happen upon some pretty amazing things when out exploring. You are able to go over and around logs, thick vegetation and narrow passage ways which Florida is full of. Since kayaks are human powered, maintenance on them is minimal. Spray a little sun protectant on them and give them a light rinse after each use and you’re good to go. Kayaking is also a great way to get your exercise in. You may notice that you work some muscles that may not see much action otherwise. From your shoulders, back, core and even legs, your paddling experience can be very rewarding. Kayaking is also a low-impact sport, so it’s easy on the joints which makes it great for older people as well.
Kayaks come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and range in price from just a couple hundred dollars to several thousand. Each and every one will perform differently, so be sure to demo one before you buy to be sure that it meets your needs. A good rule of thumb is that the longer the kayak, the straighter it will track and the wider the kayak, the more stable it will be, but typically slower. Your goal is to try and find the one that suits your needs for the type of water you plan to paddle most of the time. Any reputable dealer can assist in getting you in the right kayak. Once you get your kayak, a good fitting PFD (Personal Floatation Device) and a proper paddle is in order. Once you make these initial purchases, you are all set! Most kayaks can be thrown in the back of a pickup truck, a SUV or thrown on the roof of your car. There are also several rental companies if buying one is not an option.
So what are you waiting for? Get out and explore and soak up some vitamin D from around the sunshine state!