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Go fishing in Lake Ivanhoe, Orlando | © Tricia / Flickr
Go fishing in Lake Ivanhoe, Orlando | © Tricia / Flickr
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11 Water Sports That You Have to Try in Orlando, Florida

Picture of Melissa Sherrard
Updated: 30 January 2018
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

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.

wakeboarding
Wakeboarding | © eflon / Flickr

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!

paddleboarding
Stand-up paddleboarding | © Cpl. Jody Lee Smith / WikiCommons

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.

Kneeboarding

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

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.

Parasailing

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.

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.

Dolphin
Swim with dolphins | © Chris Oakley / Flickr

Snorkeling

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

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.

Fishing

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.

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A man fishing in Florida | © JimDegerstrom / Pixabay