Most of the 100 million people who visit Florida come for the beaches, the amusement parks, the sunsets, and most of all the warmth of days when the weather is ugly elsewhere.
But more and more people want adventure vacations and some even want to engage in extreme sports and wild experiences. One of the books I will be publishing soon will cover an almanac of all these activities. In my research and travels, I have discovered so many things that would have tempted me when I was younger and some I would avoid even in my youth.
Here are 10 of the most crazy things you could ever do on a Florida vacation:
(Not in any specific order to danger)
CAVE DIVING – This sport is more dangerous than rock climbing without a rope and Florida’s delicate limestone walls makes partner diving with ropes essential. Only certified divers can even take courses at places like THE DEVILS DEN in Williston, the VORTEX BLUE SPRINGS in Ponce de Leon, and the AMIGOS DIVE CENTER in Fort White.
Although there are caves at many Florida spring locations, most are blocked off if they are dangerous. A special dive team entered the complex at Wakulla Springs and went 41,000 feet into the underwater cave system. That is higher than Mount Everest!
BE DOPEY AT THE WALT DISNEY WORLD MARATHON – From December to March, Florida becomes the marathon center of the nation, with many races serving as qualifiers for the top Boston Marathon runners. Florida may be flat, but racing up and down several bridges in the heat id not fun.
At the gigantic WALT DISNEY MARATHON you should take up the Dopey Challenge of running a 5K, 10K, Half-Marathon, and Marathon in the four day event.
TANDEM SKYDIVE OVER 14,000 FEET – Florida is one of the best places in the world to skydive and thousands do tandem diving, but experienced people want to go higher and higher. (And fall longer and longer) SKYDIVE SPACECENTER in Titusville has a record 18,000-foot tandem dive.
Some of the most experienced and skillful skydive and parachute centers are SKYDIVE CITY in Zephryhills, SKYDIVE SEBASTIAN, and JUMP FLORIDA SKYDIVING in Lake Wales and Plant City.
ZIPLINE ALL OF FLORIDA’S TOP SIGHTS – This is more fun than dangerous and in the flattest state in the USA you might not think this will be exciting. In Orlando’s Gatorland you can zipline over a pond of hungry alligators. That is cool, but I would suggest you travel to Ocala’s CANYONS ZIP LINE AND CANOPY on CR25Awith real cliffs and step ravines or FLORIDA ZIPLINE ADVENTURES in Milton off FL87.
Closer to my Tampa home is ZIPLINE TAMPA BAY inOldsmar’s Bayou Wilderness, where for more than two hours you climb 70-foot poles, fly 3000 feet over bridges and water, and do a death survival jump.
Challenge Florida’s MOST DARING OFF-TRACK BIKE TRAILS. Don’t be tricked about Florida for we have turned old phosphate quarries into scary trails and that doesn’t include those dangerous tree roots that stick out and low-hanging branches.
Near me is ALAFIA RIVER STATE PARK in Lithia with three-rated courses built into pits and jumps and sharp curves. Their Gatorback trail actually has a wild alligator. MARKHAM PARK down in Sunrise off FL84 shows that Southeast Florida can be bike scary. SANTOS TRAILHEAD off US441 in Ocala has 25-foot Vortex dirt jumps.
HANG GLIDE AT WALLABY RANCH not far from Disney World in Davenport. These are the people who invented tandem hang gliding in 1991 and their school only does this sport. Out West you have to go up a mountain to glide, but in Florida you let an airplane put you way above the clouds.
FLY A WORLD WAR II COMBAT AIRPLANE at Florida Warbirds, located at Kissimmee Gateway Airport just off US192 in Central Florida. If you are an experienced pilot or just want to go for the flight of your life, this is a neat adventure.
POWER A 100 mph SUPERBOAT FROM MIAMI TO KEY WEST thanks to those wild people at INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES (800-644-7382) in Sarasota. They have in Miami access to a super-catamaran and a cigarette speeder with 1000hp Bulldog Twin Engines.
You should visit the Incredibles just to see what “out-of-this-world” adventures and extreme sports they have developed. You can play with sharks in the Bahamas or go into space.
STAY AT THE JULES UNDERWATER HOTEL in Key Largo. This old stand-by is still open for divers to stay or have lunch underwater or take scuba lessons.
TAKE UP THE SPORT OF FREEDIVING. Scuba divers know that training is important and at Lake Park’s FLORIDA FREEDIVERS and at IMMERSION FREEDIVING in Fort Lauderdale you can be trained first in their tanks and then in the ocean to go down from 66 to 100 feet underwater without an air tank. Let me know if you see Aquaman.