5 Must-Try Watersports for your Space Coast Getaway
Water, water everywhere! Get out and have some fun!
When you’re looking for an unforgettable experience on your Space Coast vacation, all you have to do is look to the water. Kayaking, surfing, kiteboarding, and many other watersports are accessible all year round, and the Space Coast is full of rental shops complete with experienced instructors to get you geared up and comfortable on the water no matter your activity level.
Whether wanting an invigorating adventure, or a tranquil traverse, the Space Coast is filled with watersport options for everyone to enjoy. Here’s a quick guide to help you determine what watersport is perfect for you to try out on your next vacation.
Difficulty Level: Intermediate
As the surfing capital of the East Coast, it’s almost mandatory to take a surf lesson on the Space Coast.
Surfing in Cocoa Beach is a rite of passage for many surfers. While our waves may not be a massive as those in California or Hawaii, they are consistent and rolling in all year long. The combination makes for the perfect place to learn to surf.
Anyone can learn to surf. Kids, teens, and generally athletic people pick it up a lot faster than your average Joe, however you should not let that discourage you from trying out this exhilarating watersport! Your instructor will likely pair you with a perfectly-sized foam board and bring you to the beach. You’ll learn how to paddle out, pop up, and spot a wave that’s perfect for riding. Once you get in the water to put to practice your new knowledge, you’ll find it takes a bit of upper-body strength and balance to pop up and ride a wave. Your foam board will have your back and by the end of your lesson you’ll be ready to rent your own board, without the instructor, for a day of riding waves and soaking up rays.
As you progress in the sport you’ll be ready to try out some of the more advanced Space Coast surf spots like the Sebastian Inlet State Park, and the Canaveral National Seashore. You may even swap your foam board rental for an epoxy, short board or long board which require more skill and finesse to ride. Once you’ve caught the surfing bug, you won’t ever be able to come to the coast without a board!
Are you up to the challenge? Check out this Space Coast guide for some of the best places to surf and the following for where to go for lessons and board rentals.
Difficulty level: Beginner
Lessons: Some instruction is helpful
Kayaking is one of the easiest, leisurely watersports you can get into on the Space Coast. And there’s no shortage of places to launch your ‘yak. From touring the mangrove tunnels at the Thousand Island Nature Preserve in Cocoa Beach. Checking out the canals and secluded waterways of the Turkey Creek Sanctuary in Palm Bay, and gliding alongside manatees and dolphins in the Mosquito Lagoon and Banana River in the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge, there’s so many places to explore!
Guided kayak tours are a great way to get your feet wet. First, you’ll learn how to get your balance in the vessel and the proper way to maneuver your double-sided paddle to glide through the water, turn, and reverse. The instruction phase of the tour doesn’t take long at all. At this point, you can consider yourself an expert of kayaking on the Space Coast. The Indian River Lagoon, our intercoastal waterways, rivers, and freshwater lakes are reliably calm and tranquil. Which makes kayaking the perfect activity for everyone in your family, no matter their activity level! Yes even kids (yay for tandem kakyaks.) The great part about guided tours, aside from quick instruction, is what you’ll learn about the area from your guide. They’ll take you to the best spots to see manatees, mangroves, dolphins, and other wildlife, and you get to learn a new watersport at the same time! Talk about the perfect vacation activity.
Once you feel comfortable on your own, there are tons of Kayak rental operations all along the Space Coast, and just as many launch zones. From north to south, you’ll be able to paddle around and explore our beautiful waterways all by yourself.
Bioluminescence: A Space Coast Experience You’ll Never Forget
Kayaking is also a great way to enjoy a natural phenomenon called Bioluminescence. In the summer months, bioluminescent dinoflagellates fill our waterways. This causes a nocturnal, underwater light show whenever these particles are disturbed. To say it’s amazing is an understatement. You MUST experience it to believe it! So book your moonlight kayak tour as soon as you book your summer Space Coast getaway.
Interested in kayaking? Here are a few places you can go for lessons, rentals, and reservations. For an extensive list, click here.
STAND UP PADDLE BOARDING
Difficulty Level: Beginner
Lessons: Some instruction helpful
Standup Paddle Boarding, or SUP, is beginning to gain popularity as a watersport around the world. It’s a great way to explore calm waterways, get a bit of a workout and snap some Instagrammable photos along the way. It’s a great sport for mildly active folks, as you are balancing and standing for long periods of time. Think of it like kayaking, but standing up. Along the Space Coast, many kayak and watersport rental operations have added SUPs to their fleets, and like kayaking, it doesn’t require much instruction. You will find guided SUP tours in the lagoon and for bioluminescence, but just renting one and heading out on your own is extremely popular and accessible
Interested in paddleboarding? Here is a list of some places you can go for lessons, rentals, and reservations:
Difficulty Level: Advanced
Wakeboarding is a bit more of an involved activity. First, you’re going got need a boat. Wakeboarding is a fun watersport where the wake boarder is towed behind a boat to surf the waves made by the wake. It takes quite a bit of balance, arm and core strength to get vertical on the board and dexterity to stay that way. But if you’re young and athletic, you’ll be able to get the hang of it pretty quickly.
If you’ve already been wakeboarding in your hometown, the Space Coast is a great place to hone your skills. The Indian River Lagoon spans the entire county and is wide open for boating and water sports like wake boarding. Further boat rental operations, like 321 Boat Rentals & Club rent out the whole package, including boat, wakeboard, and life jackets. It’s a stress-free way to get out on the Indian River Lagoon for motorized watersports! They also rent kneeboards, water skis, and tubes to their clients so no matter how you want to whip around on the water, you’re covered!
Interested in wakeboarding but don’t want to bring your boat and gear to the Space Coast?
Difficulty Level: Advanced
Kiteboarding is an advanced watersport that involves manipulating a kite in the wind while strapped to a board on the water. Sounds interesting doesn’t it? While it is an advanced watersport, that should not deter you from trying it out on the Space Coast next time you’re in town. The amazing rental operations in the area have highly experience staff to provide you with lessons that will get you flying even on a short vacation. Warning: you will be hooked once you get the hang of this exhilarating watersport and will come back for more.
There’s a spot, the 520 Slick on the Indian River Lagoon in Cocoa Beach, that is known for its perfect conditions where beginners learn and experienced kiteboarders perfect their skills to prepare to take their kiteboards out to the ocean, where sea breeze meets crashing waves.
Interested in learning how to kiteboard? These places have everything you need from lessons to rentals and reservations.
No matter if you’re taking a leisurely kayak through the lagoon, trying out surfing for the first time, or learning the advanced art of kiteboarding, there’s a rental shop and lesson for you on the Space Coast! Make this vacation count, and explore your options on the water next time you’re on the Space Coast!
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