One of the activities I was most excited to do during my Ultimate Florida Road Trip was paddleboarding in New Smyrna Beach, a quiet family beach an hour and a half outside Orlando. I drove myself from Cocoa Beach at 10 in the morning to JB’s Fish Camp, where the East Coast Paddle tours left from. Slathered in not quite enough sunscreen and donning a swimsuit, I introduced myself to owners Cheryl and Tim Baker.
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From the pontoon-style boat, we ventured out into the Indian River to Mosquito Island, a wildlife habitat known for birds. The Indian River is an ideal place for first time stand up paddleboarding, as it doesn’t have a current. It’s also a great place to spot manatees in their natural habitat. But be careful, as you may find yourself swimming with them, known as a “manatee car wash.”
Stand up paddleboarding requires some balance, but you rest on your knees before pushing yourself up. You’re given a long paddle to push your way through the water. The exercise works your legs, arms and abs. It’s a great way to see the ecosystem of the Canaveral National Seashore for all ages and fitness levels.
The eco tour lasts two hours and costs $55 per person, including the boat ride, guides, gear rental, water and photos taken on their DSLR and GoPro. Be sure to put on plenty of sunscreen and drink as much water as possible. A swimsuit isn’t necessary, as you probably won’t get in the water, but recommended.
East Coast Paddle runs boat assisted eco tours, as well as paddleboard yoga and rentals. You can also take lessons and go on fishing excursions. ECP sells paddleboards if you want to purchase your own.
I was a guest of East Coast Paddle. All photos were taken by them and provided to me to use. All opinions are my own.