11 Water Sports That You Have to Try in Orlando, Florida

Go fishing in Lake Ivanhoe, Orlando
Go fishing in Lake Ivanhoe, Orlando | © Tricia / Flickr
Melissa Sherrard

While the city of Orlando may be landlocked, as it sits in the heart of swamp central Florida, it doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the water while you’re there. Hundreds of large lakes dot the landscape of The City Beautiful, and warm weather year-round means that you can almost always go out on the water. So, if you’re looking for new and exciting ways to explore these bodies of water, here are 11 water sports that you have to try in Orlando, Florida.


Wakeboarding is a water sport that’s wildly popular in Orlando. It involves riding a specialized wakeboard, designed with elements from snowboarding, surfing, and skiing in mind, over the surface of a body of water by being towed by either a winch, closed-course cable system, or a motorboat. Expert athletes can pull off daring tricks by jumping off the wakes made by the boat.


Stand-Up Paddleboarding

Paddleboarding, sometimes called paddle surfing, is a water sport that has been brought to the lakes of Orlando in recent years. Rather than rely on currents and waves to propel your surfboard, a paddle allows you to glide along the water’s surface at your leisure. It’s a great way to get a workout while exploring the lakes!

Stand-up paddleboarding

Water skiing

Thanks to the abundance of lakes throughout Central Florida, water skiing has long been a popular aquatic sport in Orlando and the surrounding areas. You can try this water sport on two skis or one, called slalom skiing, depending on your preference and ability.

Slalom skiing


If skiing or wakeboarding seems a little ambitious, try kneeboarding while you’re in Orlando. This sport offers an easier learning curve and less dangerous falls than other aquatic tow-sports, but you can still pull off some great tricks.



Wakeskating is a fairly new water sport that skateboarders who are visiting Orlando have to try. It’s an adaptation of wakeboarding in which riders’ feet aren’t secured to the board.



Want to see Orlando from the air? While there’s not much competition in parasailing, it’s a challenging individual or team endeavor that forces you to work with the wind to stay above the surface of lakes where the aquatic activity is offered.


Jet skiing

Jet Skis are small water vehicles that allow a single driver, along with one or two passengers, to explore bodies of water at speeds up to 40 MPH. On Orlando’s larger lakes, experienced jet skiers can be seen racing one another across the water for sport.

Jet skiing

Swim with Dolphins

If you’re looking for a unique aquatic experience, you have to try to swim with some dolphins. SeaWorld’s Discovery Cove and a few other Orlando companies offer opportunities where you can get in the water with these amazing creatures for an unforgettable encounter.

Swim with dolphins


Just because you’re not at the beach doesn’t mean you can’t get in some excellent snorkeling sessions. Orlando offers some great artificial lagoons that showcase coral reefs and tropical fish, so don’t miss an opportunity to go snorkeling in one of the various freshwater springs.



Kayaking is a popular water sport on Orlando’s lakes, rivers, and springs, as it’s relaxing and easy for just about anyone to do. Many resorts and hotels offer complimentary kayaking equipment, so take them up on the opportunity to try this activity.



Freshwater fishing is the ultimate water sport in Orlando, and with a wide array of waterholes to choose from, you could spend all of your time visiting the city casting out on the water. If you have the opportunity, try to participate in one of several fishing tournaments put on in the Orlando area throughout the year.

A man fishing in Florida

Culture Trip Summer Sale

Save up to $1,395 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

Edit article