Go Fly a Kite

By: Jill Martin

ADD TO FAVORITES
Whether flying your own or watching the masters at work, these 7 Florida parks and beaches will satisfy your need to soar.

Ask a kid what's so great about flying a kite and you'll get a simple answer, "It's so cool!"

"It's a Zen experience," said John Lutter, owner of kitestop.com. "It puts you in touch with nature and your inner child at the same time."

Kite flying is a growing sport, and with more than 800 miles of beaches in Florida, there's no shortage of places to fly. There's also no shortage of kite clubs, kite shops and kite festivals in the Sunshine State. Whether you fly your own parafoil or prefer to sit on the sand and watch someone else pull the strings, you'll be gone with the wind in no time with this Insider guide to all things kites.

Anastasia State Park, St. Augustine

With 1,600 acres and four miles of hard-packed shores, you'll have plenty of room and good footing to fly. Need a kite? The local pros at Extreme Kites have it all. They boast the largest selection in Northeast Florida, including recreational and stunt kites.

Cherie Down Park, Cocoa Beach

From kite surfing to kite flying, this seaside park is the place to be. Bring a picnic and spend the day. There are shelters, grills, bathrooms and boardwalks. Local kite guru Lutter frequents here. Want to join the local kite club? Log on to meetup.com.

Key West

Fly kites year-round in the southernmost city. Bring your own or buy one at the colorful cottage on Green Street: The Key West Kite Company.

"We carry everything from mega-foils for pros to recreational kites for kids," says owner Richard Burris. "I always recommend Fort Zachary Taylor."

Haulover Park, Miami

"We're the perfect place for kite flying with fabulous South Florida breezes," said Dan Ward, owner of Skyward Kites.

For 20 years, he's been helping folks master the art from this park. Their inventory, from diamonds to deltas, is impressive – as is their knowledge. Plus, kites start at just $5. Ward added, "Don't miss the Haulover Kite Festival each February; it's amazing!"

Okaloosa Island

This area on the Emerald Coast in northwest Florida has two annual kite festivals: the two-day Kitty Hawk Kite Festival in April and Flying High On The Harbor in August. The white-sand beaches really make these festivals sparkle.

Petra Anquila, manager of Kitty Hawk Kites at the Destin HarborWalk, says, "We've got all your pre-flight needs. Come on in and bring the family!"

Sanibel Causeway, Sanibel Island

This southwest Florida island's causeway beaches benefit from a stiff crosswind so it's ideal for lofty pursuits. You'll find kite-fliers, wind surfers and spectators here. Pull over and join the fun. You can even see dolphins jumping the waves.

Treasure Island, St. Petersburg

Thousands of kites fill the sky each January at Florida's largest kite-flying event: the Treasure Island Kite Fest. Some kites are as big as a school bus! Competitors here vie for a spot in the Grand Nationals, so just watching is exciting.

Plus, every Sunday, you'll find the Treasure Island Sport Kite Klub behind the Bilmar Beach Resort.

If You Go

What kite is right for you? For relaxation, Lutter suggests a single-line kite. For sport, get a two- or four-line stunt kite that can do loops and spins. Power kites are the answer for adrenaline junkies; they can pull you around on a buggy or take you kite-surfing.

Extreme Kites
904-461-9415
3930 A1A South, St. Augustine
extremekitesonline.com

Kitestop by John Lutter
kitestop.com
Space Coast Kite Club:
meetup.com/Space-Coast-Kitefliers-Association/

Key West Kite Company
408 Greene St., Key West
305-296-KITE
keywestkitecompany.com

Skyward Kites at Haulover Park

10800 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
305-893-0906
skywardkites.com

Kitty Hawk Kites, Destin
34 Harbour Blvd., Destin
850-837-2800

Kitty Hawk Kites, Fort Walton Beach
1450 Miracle Strip Parkway #101, Fort Walton Beach
850-796-0102
kittyhawk.com/florida/index.cfm

Treasure Island Sport Kite Klub
tiskk.org

More By Jill Martin

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5 comments
vince
vince January 4, 2013 12:00 AM
It has been made clear by ft zachary taylor state park officials that it now illegal to fly kites at the park

please remove from your list, this has caused a lot of inconvenience and embarrassment.