The Best Adventures in Florida and the Bahamas from The Best Adventures in Florida and the Bahamas

The Best Adventures in Florida and the Bahamas

The Sunshine State with a coastline of a total of 1,197 statute miles, tidal shoreline of 2,276 miles, 663 miles of beaches and more than 11,000 miles of rivers, streams and waterways, according to official figures, is hotter than ever in terms of popularity for active adventures. The Bahamas, an equally exciting tropical paradise, is a great escape any time of the year. It offers world-class white sand beaches and turquoise waters. Its islands are ideal for outdoor activities that range from relaxing swimming to “driving” underwater.

Florida: Bike through the Everglades

Shutterstock

The Everglades made the Top 4 in the best national parks ranking this year. There is a lot to do in the largest subtropical wilderness in the country. You may not think of the Everglades as a biking-friendly destination but it really is. Hit the trail and go on a quiet observation of the swampy park. You will see alligators, ibis and white herons (probably looking for fish) along the trails. Bike to the 65-foot observation tower to see panoramas that extend 18 miles across the largest subtropical wilderness in the country.

Florida: Swim with manatees

Thinkstock

The best time to swim with manatees is between October and March when hundreds of them escape to Crystal River looking for warmer waters in the winter. This is the only place in the state where people can legally interact and swim with the easy going manatees, which can be as long as 10 feet, in their natural habitat. Make sure you book a tour in advance.

Florida: Paddle with alligators

Shutterstock

Canoeing and kayaking can get you places you cannot see otherwise. Being as close as possible to alligators, which can get dangerous at times, is one of them. Take your canoe from Flamingo through Bear Lake out to the ocean at Cape Sable, the farthest southern point on mainland Florida, except for the Keys, and paddle through Alligator Lake. Kayak in Myakka River State Park and paddle the 14-mile section that flows within the park borders.

Florida: Dive or snorkel the Devil’s Den

This pre-historic underground spring is open only for scuba diving and snorkeling. Swimming and sightseeing is not allowed. Explore the sinkhole that is 48 feet deep. You’ll see small native fish including guppies, crappie and catfish. Night dives are available.

Florida: Underwater caves

Thinkstock

Visiting a water-filled cave is a thrill. North-central Florida is a leading cave diving destination when it comes to diver-traffic, according to Dive Advisor. Ginnie Springs is usually referred to as "the world's favorite freshwater dive” because of its pristine water and astonishing natural exquisiteness. Visit Florida Caverns State Park which offers cave tours. People can also hike, bike and camp there. Fishing, boating and canoeing on the Chipola River or Blue Hole Spring are also options.

Florida: Kayak down the Suwannee River

Thinkstock

The Suwannee River – made famous by the Stephen Foster song "Old Folks at Home," now Florida's state song – is a federally designated wild river flowing from the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia, 240 miles to the Gulf of Mexico at Suwannee. Kayak down the Suwanee in Class 3 whitewater rapids, which mean big waves with a 3–5 feet drop. The section is in Big Shoals State Park, home to the largest whitewater rapids in the state.

Florida: Theme parks

Shutterstock

Universal Studios and Walt Disney have a large selection of unforgettable attractions for both kids and grownups. Thrilling and scary – sometimes dangerous – rides, water sports and slides will have your heart racing. Sea World is a different kind of theme park. Visitors can snorkel with fish and interact with dolphins and monkeys.

Florida: Primitive camping in Dry Tortugas

Shutterstock

Dry Tortugas National Park is on almost every list of places to go camping. You can access it by ferry from the coast of Key West. If you’re looking for primitive camping destinations, the seven charming islands in the relatively small park are the places to be. Bringing everything you need – even water – may be a little annoying, but the views, lush marine life, the island’s Civil War-era Fort Jefferson, and untouched beaches are worth it.

Florida: Flyboarding

Shutterstock

People can float above the surface of the water with the help of a flyboard or jetpack, and it looks like something out of a sci-fi movie. Soar above the water and get a unique view of the sea. This adrenaline-pumping experience has gotten very popular in Florida. Many companies that offer stand-up paddleboadrding (SUP) and kayaking lessons now teach flyboarding too.

The Bahamas: Rambling in Acklins

Photo Modified: Flickr / WorldIslandInfo.com/ CC BY 4.0

People love the very secluded island of Acklins with about 400 residents for its peace and quietness. But rambling, the process of hiking in the bush in search of the aromatic cascarilla tree, used for traditional medicine and commercial export, has become popular, according to Travel + Leisure. Snorkeling, diving and fishing are other must-do activities in Acklins.

The Bahamas: “Drive” underwater

You can now drive or bike underwater. It’s exactly as it sounds. Your head is inside a big oxygenated bubble – hence the name SUB, which stands for Scenic Underwater Bubbles – while you sit and pedal. The seahorse shaped submarine propels you at a depth of 15 feet, around the coral reef and alongside colorful fish at a speedy two knots.

The Bahamas: Horseback riding along the beach

Shutterstock

The Bahamas is well-known for its gorgeous beaches. But you can enjoy them in more ways than tanning, swimming and building sandcastles. Ride a horse on the beach and in the water. This is a thrilling experience that will take you from the countryside to a beautiful sandy coast. A lot of couples, families and beginners go on horseback riding tours.

The Bahamas: Dive with sharks

Shutterstock

Don’t just dive in the Bahamas, explore the bottom of the sea surrounded by sharks. One of the highlights for divers at Stuart Cove’s is the Extreme Shark Adventure—a two-tank dive trip that takes you on an underwater encounter with Caribbean Reef Sharks. On the first dive, you’ll participate in a free swim with the sharks, while on the second dive, watch as a professional shark feeder enters the water with a box of bait.

The Bahamas: Swim with dolphins

Shutterstock

Make a new friend while on vacation in the Bahamas while swimming with dolphins. You can also dance, sing and play with them. Get a Bahamas Day Pass for access to the Dolphin Cay, an extraordinary environment showcased on 14-acres with almost 7 million gallons of crystal clear seawater. “It is one of the largest and most sophisticated marine habitats and animal rescue-rehabilitation facilities, unlike anything in the world. It is a place where swimming with dolphins has redefined creating memories of a lifetime for you and your family.”

The Bahamas: Parasailing

Shutterstock

If skydiving is too scary for you, consider parasailing. Parasailing in the Bahamas has been a very popular adventure for years. Let your feet swing as you “fly” 600 feet above gorgeous turquoise water. Be like a bird for a day and see the islands from a unique perspective.

The Bahamas: Go on a Jeep safari

Shutterstock

The Bahamas is more than stunning beaches and adventurous water sports. Consider adding a thrilling jeep safari that will take you to the most secluded areas of this remarkable tropical paradise to your itinerary. Drive your own jeep as you explore the forests and beaches of Grand Bahama Island. Travel off-road through to the panoramic Caribbean coastline where the Casuarinas thrive in the sandy island soil.

The Bahamas: Snuba diving

Snuba is an exciting water adventure that is a merge between snorkeling and scuba diving. You get the best of both worlds. Technically, snuba is easier, and you get to see coral reefs and lavish marine life from up close. But you can’t go deeper than 20 feet. You breathe through a regulator that is attached by a line to your air supply, which rests floating on the surface in a raft as you dive.

The Best Adventures in Florida and the Bahamas