Top 5 Florida summer activities

 Blog_Stay Cool top 5

Summer is upon us and with the kids out of school their sense of boredom will skyrocket along with the temperatures. The heat can be downright brutal in our state, but fortunately there is plenty of water and activities here involving the water to keep us cool and entertained. Here are five family-friendly adventures that will ensure the “coolest” summer ever: 

#1-Scalloping

Scalloping season kicks off July 1, and is something that almost anyone can enjoy. They are found in shallow grass flats in the Gulf waters relatively close to the shoreline and don’t require any specialized equipment to harvest. 

Here’s what you’ll need:  a mask, snorkel, fins, a mesh bag to put your scallops in, lots of waterproof sunscreen and a Florida saltwater fishing license. You can use your own boat or hire a guide. All-day guided trips run about $50 to $75 per person and usually include all the gear you’ll need to catch your own scallops. It’s often been described as a “treasure hunt” or “the ultimate Easter egg hunt.” All of your worries seem to drift away with the slow current as you submerge yourself in the beautiful green waters. You have one purpose in life at that point: to bag as many scallops as you can… or until you reach your limit, which is 2 gallons of scallops in the shell. Once you catch-em you’ll have to clean-em, which involves a small scallop cleaning knife, a comfy place to sit and about two hours to kill. To help prepare you, check out our how-to scallop video at http://www.howtodoflorida.com/episode/scalloping-paddleboarding/

#2- Snuba 

Another thing that Florida is famous for is our rich and diverse marine life and habitats. In the ocean, you literally have almost zero boundaries; no lines, walls or fences here! The absolute quickest way to experience this beautiful and alien-like world is by SNUBA (Surface Nexus Underwater Breathing Apparatus). Unlike scuba diving, there is very little gear or certification required. Instead of tanks strapped to your back, your mask is fitted with a hose which reaches at least twenty feet to the surface where it is attached to a large buoy. In essence, it goes beyond snorkeling by allowing you to leave the restrictive dive gear behind, allowing you to swim easier and thus focus more on exploring the ocean. Another great benefit to SNUBA is that kids as young as 8-years-old can join in the underwater fun, as long as they can swim and have no major health problems. With the average cost being around $100 per adult and about $80 for children, a once-in-a-lifetime experience won’t completely break your wallet. I call SNUBA a “gateway drug” to SCUBA diving…once you try it you’ll be hooked. Stay tuned to HTDF this season and watch our SNUBA episode for more info and to see it in action!

#3- Gyotaku

Translated from Japanese, gyotaku literally means “fish rubbing” and it dates as far back as the 1800s. This art form has been practiced all over the world and has recently become more popular as a beautiful alternative to the traditional “mounting” of a fish. Fishing is already fun for kids and they learn so much about our world and how it affects them while doing it, but bringing your “trophy” home for this project takes the experience to a new level. You learn about the fish’s anatomy, it’s environment, it’s predators and you get to play with paint…which is always a blast! With less than $20 at your local craft store, you and your family can create a work of art to hang on the wall to remind you of a great catch and fun day of fishing together. The steps include catching your art subject (that can be any one of Florida’s many fish species), cleaning and drying the fish, applying paint to one side, and then placing paint-side down on a piece of rice paper. Pull the fish off, then accent your fish print with additional colors.For an informative how-to video that will show you all you need to know about this ancient art, go to http://www.howtodoflorida.com/episode/island-camping-gyotaku/

#4- Houseboating

What could be better than enjoying a long weekend with your family on a boat that’s also a house? Houseboating is true “river people” culture that has not only survived, but increased in popularity throughout the years. They make houseboats nowadays that are as fancy and loaded as you could ever want. Cruise the lake, river, or intracoastal at your own pace while seeing and breathing it all in. Houseboating can be a little expensive (about $2,650.00 for a week’s rental), but keep in mind that your hard-earned dollars are purchasing memories that will last a lifetime for you and your family. Try to stick to waters that you’re familiar with and remember to take your time…it’s not so much about the destination, but getting there.Get some more details and a little inspiration here http://www.howtodoflorida.com/episode/hang-gliding-houseboating/ 

#5-Tubing

Tubing is the ultimate mix of outdoor, lazy fun and there are so many places in our state to do it. Rivers, springs, lakes, oceans, tide pools… wherever there is water, odds are you can float a tube in it. It’s an amazing feeling being carried by the current and allowing it to slowly pull and push you down-river. It is definitely a “more the merrier” activity as well. See how big you can get the group, bring a beach ball or football and an extra float to carry all the food, drinks and cold beverages with the group. Tubes and floats are cheap; but the memories, photographs and stories you’ll create are priceless.

Here are a few great places to tube: Rainbow Springs, Ichetucknee River. Get all your beautiful how-to tube footage here http://www.howtodoflorida.com/episode/land-based-shark-fishing-tubing/

Fellow Floridians, native or not… be inspired and encouraged to take advantage of all the amazing things that our great state has to offer this summer. Yes, it’s hot…but if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen and into the water. Make memories for you and your family, for they cannot be purchased, manufactured or insured.

Do florida!

Chad Crawford