Beach Sports

    Where to go when you have a yen to YOLO, a sweet spot for surfing or a penchant for paddling.

    Kayaking: The sweet, subtropical barrier island of Sanibel is a paddler’s paradise, boasting sandy beaches, shallow creeks winding deep into mangrove forests and a bounty of beautiful birds.

    Kiteboarding: Blessed with laminar winds, an abundance of flat, shallow water, a grassy set-up area and amenities like bathrooms and pavilions, Curry Hammock State Park in Marathon is an ideal place to launch into this adventure.

    Swimming: Siesta Beach’s sand is white quartz, its waters are shallow, crystal-clear and calm,
    and it has lifeguard and beach patrol coverage – perfect!

    SCUBA: Blue Heron Bridge, north of West Palm Beach, wins my vote for the Sunshine State’s best shore dive due to its wrecks, abundant marine critters, free parking and universal rave reviews.

    Surfing & skimboarding: Sebastian Inlet State Park boasts the best breaks, a rich history, competitions galore and produces a steady stream of surfing stars, making it not only the capital of Florida surfing, but the capital of East Coast surfing, as well. Bodyboarding and skimboarding provide other ways to play on the waves.

    Windsurfing: Kelly Park, nestled on the Banana River in Merritt Island, features shallow, protected waters and smooth breezes; it’s surrounded by land and offers restrooms. Rentals are available at Calema Windsurfing.

    YOLO Boarding: Stand-up paddlers can float in the emerald Gulf waters or explore the stunningly beautiful coastal dune lake (Western Lake) at pristine Grayton Beach State Park in South Walton.

    Snorkeling: Crystal-clear, calm waters, a barrier reef brimming with life and an exotic island location (complete with a fort) make the Dry Tortugas an ideal destination to snag a glimpse of the underwater world. Getting there is half the fun and, trust me, the trip is worth it!  Or, take to the waters in Destin on Florida's Emerald Coast. The gorgeous emerald waters make every exploration extraordinary.

    Try out a boogie board on the Emerald Coast

    Try out a boogie board on the Emerald Coast.

    - Emerald Coast CVB

    Windsurfing fun in the Banana River near Cocoa Beach

    Windsurfing fun in the Banana River near Cocoa Beach.

    - Lauren Tjaden for VISIT FLORIDA