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Kayaking or alternative

New York, NY
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Kayaking or alternative

I am planning a trip to Orlando with my wife and four kids ages 7-11 for the end of August. We will be spending one day in Magic Kingdom (day 1) and one day at Sea World. (day 4) (this will be a surprise for the kids and they will be perfectly happy with the choice of parks, so no need to comment on that).

We will be renting a house with private pool so i figured we could manage one day(day 3) with just pool time and perhaps a mini-golf excursion.

I would really like to find something nature related for the fourth day. I know that there are really nice kayak excursions near Sarasota (mangrove tunnels) that would really be perfect for us, however i would much prefer to find something closer. Any suggestions would be appreciated

sarasota, FL
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for Sarasota, Venice, Siesta Key
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1. Re: Kayaking or alternative

Sarasota is about 2 hours away from Orlando.

You can post on the Anna Maria Island forum for more suggestions.

There are also some great parks north of Orlando.

~SRQgirl

Sarasota, Florida
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for Sarasota, Longboat Key
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2. Re: Kayaking or alternative

It's hard to beat the natural feel of the mangrove tunnels, but there are still a lot of opportunities for kayaking elsewhere. A bit closer to Orlando would be kayking on the Hillsborough River, just East of Tampa; contact Canoe Escape in Thonotosassa. Even closer would be to kayak on the Wekiva River near Sanford; that's probably 20-30 minutes from Orlando. Wekiva Adventures offers rentals with and without guides.

New York, NY
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3. Re: Kayaking or alternative

It seems like most of the trips closer to Orlando center around alligators - that kind of makes me nervous being that i will be travelling with four kids - the youngest being just 7.

Sarasota, Florida
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4. Re: Kayaking or alternative

I can't blame you for being a bit nervous, though I've canoed in streams with 'gators as do many people. Pretty much any fresh water place in the mid and southern parts of Florida are likely to have 'gators. They can be troublesome in mating season (Springtime)but almost always simply loaf around and do nothing. For fresh water perhaps a place like the Hillsborough River might have fewer. A salt water environment such as the mangrove tunnels in Sarasota, of course, would not have any 'gators with which to contend.

Another option would be going on a pontoon boat ride in one of the attractive inland areas. You'll perhaps see 'gators but would definitely not face any danger from them. Winter Park has a nice ride as does Mt. Dora; both are close to Orlando, and both are attractive towns.

New York, NY
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5. Re: Kayaking or alternative

i appreciate all you help. in your opinion, is it worth the 2(plus) hour trip to do the mangrove tunnel guided kayak tour in Lido Key?

Sarasota, Florida
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for Sarasota, Longboat Key
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6. Re: Kayaking or alternative

I've taken the kayak trip several times but always with adult visitors; in both instances it was one of their most favorite experiences in Sarasota. They loved the quiet, natural beauty of the mangroves and also the opportunity to float near some manatees. So I think it would be worth the trip, but keep in mind that I live nearby and wouldn't be driving with 4 kids in the car. To minimize expense you'll want to rent 2-person kayaks and have an older person with the youngest kids. You could make this into a fun, though long, day. Kayaking for a few hours, some time on nearby Lido Beach, food or ice cream in a place on St. Armands Circle, maybe even a quick visit to nearby Mote Aquarium. By the end of the day the kids will be sleeping on the drive back to Orlando.

New York
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7. Re: Kayaking or alternative

Hi fellow New Yorker! We just got back from a family vacation to Anna Maria Island. Our hotel and the local chamber suggested Almost Heaven Kayak Adventures for the South Lido Mangroves Tunnels tour. It was amazing. We were inches away from manatees and the tunnels are like nothing you have ever seen. Almost Heaven staff was very friendly and the guides kept my kid's attention for 2 hours - and that never happens. Check out the website at www.kayakfl.com. The video is what sold the family.

8. Re: Kayaking or alternative

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