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Explore Florida's Nature and Wildlife From the Seat of a Kayak

By Elisha Neubauer

What better way to experience true Florida than from the seat of a Kayak?

This was the inspiration behind Karen's Kayaks and perhaps one of the reasons for the company's instant success. When it comes to seeing Florida in all its beauty, Karen McLaughlin, owner of Karen's Kayaks, has it figured out and ready for you to experience it.

"Kayaking is a great way to get outdoors and experience wildlife and nature," McLaughlin tells us. "Florida has some amazing places to kayak from coastal waters, lazy rivers, creeks and the crystal clear springs. Many of which are minutes away from towns and cities."

One of the perks of choosing kayaking as an activity is that pretty much anyone can do it- from kids to elders. Locals and visitors alike can partake in the activity, as well. "Many locals rediscover their home towns with amazement once they try kayaking so I would highly recommend anyone just moving in to get out on the waterways," states McLaughlin.

"Kayaking is an easy and great way to discover an area, relax and be in the now which seems almost impossible these days with all our electronic devices," she explains. To ensure guests truly relax, Karen's Kayaks actually instituted a no cell phone on policy. "We take photos for our customers to promote a relaxing and joyful trip," she says. Aside from relaxation, there is another reason for this policy. "This also helps with wildlife encounters," she tells us. "Manatee and alligators are vibration and noise sensitive. Depending on which body of water you are paddling can vary from manatee, dolphins, alligators and birds."

Another unique activity offered by Karen's Kayaks is the standup paddleboard. "Standup paddle boarding, aka SUP, has become the fastest growing activity over the last five years in the world," explains McLaughlin. Currently available are recreation stable boards, race, surfing, fishing and even yoga boards. "I would recommend going on a stable recreation board for the first few times and with an outfitter to give you a safe instruction and introduction to the sport," she suggests. "It is quite the work out due to the fact of standing and not sitting while paddling."

McLaughlin herself is the lead guide of Karen's Kayaks and is a Florida Naturalist, American Canoe Association trained, CPR First Aid Certified, member of Florida Professional Paddlesports Assocaition (FPPA) and Society for Ethical Ecotourism (SEE). "Sharing the passion for kayaking, nature and wildlife is the core of our tours and mission statement," she affirms. "We specialize in small intimate size groups to ensure a personal connection with the guide, learning, nature and higher probability of wildlife encounters."

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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