By Liesel Schmidt
Summer’s coming and now is the time to get out and explore your sense of adventure, right?
Truth be told, not all of us are ready to hit the trails with nothing more than a pack of jerky and an old-school compass or to get jiggy with it when we’re downwind of a pungent bucket full of chum and looking at the business end of a fileting knife. Some of us are a little more on the citified end of the spectrum and need to take it slow in getting acquainted with our inner outdoors-people.
So where to start? Even if your idea of roughing it means you still have a power source for your straight iron and can charge your iPad every night, there are still ways to embrace the great outdoors…ish.
The diverse landscape of Emerald Coast is rife with every kind of adventure, from watersports like kite surfing and snorkeling to treks through the trails and zip lining above the treetops. And who says you have to stick to just one? Try them all and expand your horizon—who knows, maybe you’ll find out you’re far more daring than you thought.
If you love all things aquatic, charter a fishing trip to reel in some fresh catch for dinner or rent jet skis. Whether you get an adrenaline rush from speed or like to coast on the waves, you’ll find the perfect way to enjoy the beauty of the beaches and the emerald green waters that have made the area a dream destination.
For fresh water explorations, the Blackwater River offers up great opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, and rafting; and campers of all ages and stages can pitch a tent at the state park or go glamping if they’re easing into the great outdoors.
Want to stay a little more civilized? Discover the sights and sounds of the city on a pedal trolley tour or speed along the streets on a Segway, check out local gems with your own personal guide, or hunt ghosts and learn the downtown lore. Even if you thought you knew the area like the back of your hand, there’s no telling what you will find if you take the time to get out and sightsee like a tourist.
The days are getting longer, the temps are climbing, and it’s high time to hit the play button and break out the heavy gear. Queue up your bucket list and see what you can cross off this year—you might find your way to a favorite new hobby or realize you’re much less squeamish than you imagined. And if all else fails, you’ll have a great story to share and tons of selfies that prove just how big that big fish really was. Or wasn’t. In which case the delete button might just be your new best friend…
Want a few ideas to kick-start your inner adventurer?
Here are some places to put on your list:
- Blackwater River State Park
- Pensacola Lighthouse Museum
- Gulf Breeze Zoo
- Coastal Paddle Company
- Fort Pickens
- Coldwater Gardens
- Emerald Coast Tours