So what does Florida have to offer people who don’t want to be stay-at-home couch-potatoes? The short answer is “a lot”; the long answer is “spoiled for choice.”
So rather than ripping up the snow banks with a ski-doo or roaring around the lakes in a speed boat, head to Florida for some carbon-footprint-free options. Get out there on a bike, go kitesurfing or paddle on a board. It will get you into shape and increase your Vitamin D level.
Kite- surfing – also known as kiteboarding – is a natural in Florida. Fed by the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico to the west and the Gulf Stream to the east, there are over 1350 miles – or 2172 km – of shoreline. Water conditions for kite-surfing vary from glassy rides in sheltered bays through to ripping waves in the open water. All you have to do is pick your adrenaline level and figure out which spot is best.
Also on offer are sandbars, thinly populated areas and places with board to board kite-surfers. Again, there is the option of whether you want to be alone or in the middle of a mix of like-minded kite-surfers.
Bike routes in Miami
Pick up a map of the cycle trails and decide on your route. Where do you want to go? What do you want to see? How long do you want to be gone? There are all kinds of choices with the major consideration being to remember to pack a bottle of water.
- For short jaunts, there is the 1.1 mile Brickell Key, the 0.9 mile WB Bridge Fr Yellowline or the Port Miami Bridge that only goes one-way for 0.7 mi.
- For a slightly longer jaunt, check out the Port of Miami to Brickell and Back 4.0 mile trail.
- Those wanting to do a serious workout – perhaps with a picnic on the way – can opt for the 25.0 mile Bike Ride Key Biscayne.
- Bike rentals are available from a number of shops.
Do an Internet search on paddle boarding in Fort Lauderdale and be prepared to wade through page after page of offerings. This includes everything from rentals to stand-up paddling (SUP) lessons to tours of the best spots.
Miami isn’t left behind when it comes to paddle boarding either. Again, there is so much to choose from that it becomes overwhelming.
Beginners might want to ease into the sport by paddling around gently before standing up. Advanced paddle boarders can opt for hot-dog poses and maneuvers that are sure to impress. Health conscious types can learn to practice yoga on their boards. Pet owners can even take their animals with them, although cats might object to getting dunked in the water.
Paddling boarding is increasingly popular and there is no age limit on when someone can get in on the sport. Proponents claim that paddle boarding is so much fun that people don’t even think of it as exercise.
If you decide to rent to try it out, you can expect to pay about $20 an hour. Buying your own board will cost somewhere between $800 to $1,200. Also, check the used boards for sale if you are looking for a bargain.
Mountain-bike trails in southern Florida
Want to get out of the city for something more challenging than peddling down an asphalt trail?
The members at SingleTracks have rated the mountain bike trails in Florida. According to their site the rankings are:
2. Alafia River State Park
3. Balm Boyette Scrub Preserve
4. Markham Park
5. Imba Red
7. Chuck Lennon Park
10. Loyce E. Harpe Park
As well as the top ten there are another 117 mountain bike trails in Florida to check out. The ten listed are rough and rugged, so unless you have a certain level of skill – and a good bike – you may want to stick with easier routes.
Bike, Kite, Paddle
No matter if you want the rush of kite-surfing on white caps or a gentle bike ride along the oceanfront, southern Florida has a plethora of eco-sporting options. So no matter if you live in Miami or are visiting Fort Lauderdale for the weekend, be sure to build in some outdoor exercise.
The sun, the beaches, and the trails of southern Florida all lend themselves to enhancing your experience.