1. Do I need any previous experience to participate in a kayak tour with A Day Away Kayaking?
Our tours are for everyone. Probably one third of our customers are first time kayakers. The inexperienced paddler easily enjoys many day tours. We do encourage everyone to stay in shape, especially if choosing one of our extended adventure tours. Of course this will enhance your experience, but it is not required. We do ask that you bring a good sense of humor and the willingness to be flexible if we encounter the unexpected. Adventure travel inherently requires an open mind. All of our tour pages show an adventure matrix below the next available departure date. This matrix gives an idea of what level of comfort and challenge you may expect on that particular tour.
We also do our best to accommodate our handicap guests and appreciate your spirit in taking on challenge and living life to its fullest.
2. Can I bring my kids?
Children are welcome on our kayak tours and we encourage families to play together. At the same time, it is wise to know your children well enough to know their limitations. We have 5 year olds who come regularly with their parents and absolutely love it - sharing space in the front of a tandem kayak. We have also had 11-year-olds who worked a number on their family during their tour. We don't recommend children under 5, however if your 3 to 4-year-old is capable of being in a confined space for long periods of time they too can enjoy a family outing sharing a tandem kayak with a parent. You must determine whether your little one is capable of sitting in a kayak for up to 90 minutes. If you are thinking of allowing your child to paddle a single kayak we have found at least 11-12 yrs of age to work, though we have had a couple of athletic 10-year-olds who make fine paddlers. We encourage you to let them try to go it alone if they want to. We are prepared to be helpful if the paddling becomes difficult.
**All nighttime tours have an age minimum of 5. No exceptions.
3. Can I bring alcohol on the kayak?
On our general tours we have a NO ALCOHOL policy. We do understand the desire to enjoy adult beverages while on vacation however we take all paddlers on our general tours into consideration thus we do not allow alcoholic beverages.
**A Day Away Inc. reserves the right to refuse service to any patron deemed incapable of paddling due to alcohol or drug consumption prior to their trip. If A Day Away guides make a judgment call based on alcohol or drug abuse the patron in question will not be allowed to paddle nor receive a refund for the trip cost.
4. How far do we kayak?
Most trips are 90 minutes on the water and about 3 miles of actual distance covered. Trips in other rivers vary and will be described on the webpage that covers that particular trip. Each trip also displays a trip matrix below the next departure date on the webpage for that particular trip. This gives you a snapshot of the level of comfort and challenge you can expect for each particular trip.
5. How many participants will be on a trip?
We try to keep our group sizes down so that every person on the trips receives ample time to ask questions and receive assistance with individual needs. Summer time bioluminescent trips tend to be large on the weekends. We will divide these trips into smaller groups to insure safety and enjoyment.
6. What equipment do I need to bring and what is provided?
A Day Away includes all basic paddling equipment including kayak, PFD, and whistle in the price of the tour. In the evening we also provide flashlight and glow-stick.
Conditions can become extreme quickly in Florida. It is important to prepare well to gain the best enjoyment from your trip. Your guides are very familiar with your paddling environment and conditions. Feel free to ask any questions you would like in order to understand all you need to be confident about your trip. Please understand, we will not paddle in unsafe conditions including high winds and thunderstorms.
What to bring...
- Clothes you don’t mind getting a little wet.
- Swim suit/board shorts, shirt; In cool weather… cover-ups (avoid cotton)
- Water Shoes or sandals that can be worn in the water
- Bring an extra change of clothes just in case…
- Hat & sunglasses are great and SUNSCREEN – very important
- Camera & Dry bag (optional)
- Bottled water, Snacks
- Towel (left in car)
- Any special personal paddling gear if you like
- Bug Repellent
- Lock valuables in your trunk (never had a problem but is more safe)
What to expect…
- A drive that is 20 minutes east of Titusville out on the Refuge
- No restroom facilities at the launch site (visitor center is the closest)
- Just under two hours on the water for a leisurely paddle
- Expect to get a little wet – depends on you (or possibly your friends)
- To see lots of wildlife and stretch those muscles a little
- To learn some basics about paddling and more about local wildlife
- To actually wear your life vest & whistle
- Great guides who enjoy their work and keep your safe
- Lots of outdoor fun and a desire to come back real soon.
7. What kind of kayak will I be using?
We primarily use double kayaks on our trips. Most of our kayaks are late model Wilderness System Kayaks. Our doubles are primarily Pamlico 135's and for singles Pungo 120's (sit-in) and Tarpon 120's (sit-on). The kayaks you will be using are chosen with comfort and stability in mind. On most tours guests share a double kayak however a limited number of singles are available at A Day Away's discretion. Singles kayaks are used to meet the need of odd numbered parties.
8. What if there is bad weather the day of our trip?
The weather in our area is generally quite pleasant. It's one reason Central Florida is considered the vacation capital of the world. The months of July through October can produce strong afternoon thunderstorms that we carefully monitor and December through February sometimes has cold snaps that might make paddling less enjoyable. Our staff continually monitors weather conditions to insure you have the safest and most enjoyable trip possible. Obviously we are not in charge of the weather and cannot change a rainy day to sunshine to accommodate our plans. Your best bet is to be prepared for all types of weather and you will remain comfortable. Please, carefully review the gear list provided and follow the recommendations.
We will not paddle in thunderstorms, high wind or any weather that is dangerous. We do sometimes paddle in a light rain if there is no threat of lightning. Our policy if thunderstorms threaten is to "wait it out" if the radar indicates it may pass through or dissipate. This happens occasionally, especially before our evening bioluminescent tours. Often it is hard to tell if a tour will cancel early enough to save you the drive to our launch. If we can do this, we will. However, the nature of thunderstorms in the summer is that they move fast and generally dissipate just after dark as the day cools or they rain themselves out. Please remember your tour is not cancelled unless you hear from us. Having a schedule that is a little flexible in the summer is also a help if you have to delay a little while to let a storm pass through. Some of our best bio paddles happen just after a thunderstorm when everything goes calm.
9. Are there a lot of bugs?
This is Florida so we do have bugs...... Generally speaking, bugs are not a large problem. In some areas we may encounter biting insects (mosquitoes or no-see-ums) but a little bug repellent usually takes care of them! Most of the year there is little problem. Summer tends to be a challenge on the shore line after the rains begin and then primarily around dusk or dawn. Once we get on the water there is usually little problem. Occasionally we have an evening with no breeze, so bug repellent is a good thing to have on hand. We also recommend wearing light weight, loose fitting/dry quick long sleeves and pants. This allows you to keep the bugs off without dousing yourself in bug repellent.
10. What variety of wildlife can I expect to see on the trip?
For our local trips, the Indian River lagoon system is one of the most diverse systems in the country and is home to 4,300 different species of life. Our day trips regularly encounter manatee, porpoises, and a wide variety of shore and wading birds. The surrounding refuge is home to an abundant mixture of wildlife. Depending on the area that you choose to adventure in, you may also see otters, alligator, deer, wild pigs, wild turkey, bobcats, eagles, and much more.
Bird viewing is great year round, but is incredible in the winter and early spring months when the migratory bird population is visiting. Our community is host to the Space Coast Birding Festival each January-the largest birding festival in the country. Mullet-head Island, an active bird rookery, is just under half a mile from our launch site at Haulover Canal.
11. What are the chances of seeing manatees?
On our tours in the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge we see manatees most of the year. The exception to that is when we have a cold snap and temperatures drop and stay low for a few days. Manatees being mammals love warm water and need it to help maintain body heat. On cold days Manatees leave our area in favor of the warm runoff from local power plants or the water of local springs, which maintain a constant 72 degrees. In the warmer months, manatees are actually quite friendly and regularly visit us alongside our kayaks.
12. Are there restrooms at the launch site?
There is a portable toilet available at the launch site & nearby boat ramp, but we do not recommend depending on them. The closest restrooms are at the Merritt Island Refuge at the visitor center, open at 8:00AM Monday - Saturday, a very good stop on the way to the tour. If you are short on time a quick stop at a fast food stop in town is likely you best bet.
13. What is the experience level of the guides?
Simply put, our energetic and devoted staff members are the reason our tours are so successful. They are the most important resource any adventure travel company has period! A Day Away operates its own trips and therefore great care is taken in choosing who will represent our company. They are chosen for their caring nature, integrity, experience and highly developed outdoor skills. Several of our guides have been with us from the time we purchased A Day Away.
14. Can we arrange a private or custom tour?
Absolutely! Every year the number of custom bookings increases as people look for a unique way to spend quality time with friends or family. We love to focus our time around a small group, family, or even a couple. Getting to know you is so much easier and the interaction can be tailored to what you want to focus on. Some of our patrons come for the birds, others for the manatee or dolphin. Some families come just to hunt for critters in the shallows, dig for clams, and enjoy a day away from theme parks and standing in lines. Whatever your preference, we can make it happen. Just give us a call to discuss your ideas.
15. Do you offer group discounts?
Yes, we do. Please see our Group Rate & Policy page or contact our office for details at 321-268-2655
16. Is it appropriate to give gratuities to our guides?
Many of our guides are college students and teachers. While gratuities are by no means required, any gratuity you feel appropriate is very much appreciated and welcomed. As in all service industries 10% or more is a good rule to follow when considering how much to tip.
17. Do trips require a high level of physical fitness?
No, our trips are not designed to make you an Olympic kayaker. Most day trips we paddle three miles or less and are about 90 minutes on the water. Our desire is to connect you with creation and surroundings in a way that allows you to explore and savor the beauty of all that we have in the world, not train you for a triathlon. We do on occasion encounter strong winds that will require a higher level of exertion. We certainly try to avoid these situations when possible. Each tour page displays a trip matrix below the next departure date on the webpage for that particular tour. This gives you a snapshot of the level of comfort and challenge you can expect for each particular tour. Guides are prepared with all safety equipment and tow ropes if any situation proves to be too difficult for a paddler.