About Madison S
Lives in London, United Kingdom
Since Sep 2014
Hello! I'm Maddie- a native NYer whose Wanderlust has taken her abroad again and again. Having lived in six countries, and visiting others for school, work, leisure, and sport, I've adopted many localities, and am an admirer of a great many more. An avid scholar of language and culture, I hope to keep expanding my travel repertoire, and sharing great stories with the rest of the travel community. To give you some background on my travels, I spent months each year since childhood in Old Montreal, where part of my family lives. Summers were spent visiting folks in Ft. Lauderdale and L.A. My first big trip outside of the US on my own was to Australia & New Zealand at 12- I caught the bug early! I then moved to Japan where I studied for part of high school & uni. I am very familiar with Japanese cities, Sapporo and Osaka especially. Some of my favourite travel destinations include Goreme, Dubai, Marrakech, and Queenstown. (Plans for 2015 include China & Uganda!) Nice to meet you!
Gear Rentals, Stand-Up Paddleboarding
Kayaking & Canoeing
Theme Parks, Beaches
Nature & Wildlife Areas
Paddleboard Orlando is a great way to get outdoors, whether you are new to the sport or an old pro, and suitable for any age group. The sage instructors give a short training tutorial before you're off on a relaxing trip following the current. Where your trail will take you depends on the route you have chosen, but some options include a Manatee Sanctuary, where you can get up close and personal with wildlife, a spring populated by monkeys, and for willing participants, a challenging after-paddle race. The waterways open to navigation are Wekiva River, Crystal River, Callalisa Creek, the Winter Park chain of lakes, and the Silver Springs run.
These kayaking tours combine learning with adventure. For the beginner, easy-to-follow instructions within the boat help get new rowers ready to take on the day, which will include a scenic tour and guided history of the body of water you are embarking on exploring. Whether you choose to take on the Little Econolahatchee River, the Winter Park chain of lakes, Merrit Island, or the Butler chain of lakes, there is a good chance that you will be spicing up your ride by spotting dolphins and exotic birds and patting manatees on the nose. The Nature Tour and Bioluminescence Tour are available for those especially interested in Floridian wildlife.
Swim with the Fishes... really! At Discovery Cove, there are a number of ways to enjoy being in the water. Whether it's snorkeling through the reef, getting in a wetsuit to hang out with friendly dolphins, or putting on a breather helmet to get up close and personal with a wide array of colorful fish, the Cove provides an inclusive experience for everybody. Other fun and relaxing features include a heated lazy river, an on-site aviary, and a sea otter viewing tank.
Lake Eola Park provides a charming break from the bustle of most of Orlando's attractions. In this park boasting a mile of grassland and paths, the well-manicured grounds are dotted with sculptures and pavilions. It is a charming location that is perfect for a picnic or a stroll, and activities provided by the park itself include boat rentals for the lake, and feeding stations where you can buy seeds to make friends with the local ducks and swans. The lake fountain is lit up by nightfall, and even includes a light show. Peaceful on weekdays and a hive of activity on weekends, Lake Eola allows visitors to truly enjoy Orlando like a locals.
At Tri-Circle-D Ranch, an afternoon horseback riding experience awaits. Shaded trails welcome all riding levels, but are especially suited to beginners, with sweet-tempered horses clipping along at a relaxing pace. For young riders, there is a pony stable to enjoy. The stables themselves have a small historical museum of photos and artifacts relating to horseback riding in the region, and the pony stable includes a small version of Cinderella's stagecoach being tugged along to delight little viewers. Trail rides are generally under an hour, so there's little risk of a saddle sore. A more peaceful outdoor option for a day trip.
For the thrill seeker, there's nothing like hitting the water on a jet ski. At Makaio WaterSports, jet ski rental is made safe an easy. The jet skis, which are delivered by friendly staff with a full tank of gas, are provided at a number of docking locations throughout and just outside of Orlando, meaning you can enjoy your choice of landscape. Helpful staff will provide directions to the docks and start you off with safety tips and a quick tutorial. Flotation devices and walkie-talkies for communication with staff are provided for riders' convenience before they take off at up to 50mph for a few hours of high-speed adventure.
Buena Vista Watersports caters to the traveler who wants an all-inclusive day at play. On a sandy stretch of pristine private beach, guests have opportunities to surf, water ski, jet ski, wake board, knee board, or go tubing or kayaking, all at their fingertips. With all equipment provided by Buena Vista, the only worry is what to choose. Afterwards, share a drink or a family moment on the beach, lounge in the deck chairs for some sun, or keep at it with beachside sports.
While there are many driving ranges and greens for golf in Orlando, this one is for the outgoing mini-golfer. With two courses on offer, the eclectic setting of waterfalls and pools at Congo River Adventure Golf keeps things exciting and challenging. During your golfing tour, play the park's scavenger hunt game and spot the live gators on the course. After a round (or two, or three), grab a snack at the on-site hut, play a few virtual games in the arcade, or really dig deep into the 'Adventure' portion of Congo River's name with rock mining, flamingo boats, basketball, and a fish feeding pool. For the truly daring, you can even hold a baby gator — say cheese!
For the more serious golfer, there's Grand Cypress. The draw of this particular estate is that it's organized in four different sets of 18-holers: The North, South, East, and the New Courses. With wonderful practice facilities, an amiable pro shop, talented instructors, helpful cart girls, and a few different levels of difficulty to take on, a trip to Grand Cypress can be customized to fit your needs.
The Tiber-Butler Preserve is a hiking spot that offers a gateway look into Florida's native land and wildlife. With easy, flatland paths that cater to any level of athleticism, Tibert-Butler has a number of different trails for visitors to explore at their leisure, each with a different main feature. Fallen Log Crossing has a boardwalk overlooking an expanse of natural swampland, and at Osprey Overlook, you can view the tall trees surrounding the wetlands. The three main trails are the swampy Pine Circle (less than one mile), the dry flatlands of Tarflower Loop (1 mile), and Palmetto Passage (1.5 miles). Armadillos, butterflies, turtles, and owls populate the landscape, and each trip — whether it's a gentle walk or an endurance hike around the Tibert-Butler Preserve — will reveal more flora and wildlife.