While many visitors to the Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale area love to soak up the sun on stellar beaches, active travelers also appreciate the variety of adventures the region offers. These range from zooming around the Atlantic on personal watercraft to getting up-close-and-personal with prehistoric wildlife native to South Florida. Whether you choose to indulge in them by yourself or as a group, on water or on land, they’re all serious fun.

Aquatic Escapades
For superior water sport access, book rooms at The Diplomat Beach Resort Hollywood, bordered on one side by the ocean and on the other side by the Intracoastal. Here, you can try your skill with jet skiing, sea kayaking, and paddle boarding, and you can book these rentals conveniently from the beach. If you need a little lesson or two in paddle boarding, or want to try paddle board yoga, ask for instruction as well.

Families or groups might be interested in an activity they can try together, such as deep-sea fishing. Get picked up by boat right at the hotel when you book with Hallandale Fishing Charters. Then hold on tight: The species that thrive in local waters include both game fish – such as sharks, marlin, and sailfish – and those that are terrific for eating including snapper, grouper, wahoo, and kingfish. When you return with your catch, bring it to celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian’s Point Royal, one of The Diplomat’s fabulous restaurants. The kitchen staff will prepare it for you, served with two sides, for $45 per person.

Aerial and Underwater Antics
Nearby, you can arrange to fly 350-feet high – in a single, double, or triple seat – for 10-15 minutes above the sparkling Atlantic with Hollywood Parasail. Hourly departures leave from Hollywood Beach. Hollywood Parasail also offers 15-minute banana boat rides that take groups of six. Stay at the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Hollywood Beach and try both.

Scuba enthusiasts who are staying at Embassy Suites Deerfield Beach – Resort & Spa should definitely visit Shipwreck Park, located off neighboring Pompano Beach. Designed to educate the public about coral reefs, this artificial reef system comprises The Newtown Creek, a 324-foot tanker, and 16 other wrecks surrounding it. Now the park not only is an attraction for the fish and sea life in the area, but it also incorporates public art and thematic events with displays.

Swampy Excursions
No less tame, the Broward County Parks and Recreation Department maintains the Anne Kolb Nature Center, a 1,500-acre coastal mangrove wetland with hiking, cycling, and paddling trails. Within the complex, West Lake Park South Trail is ideal for cyclists, and you can spot more than 220 species of birds and wildlife among the restored native resources. You can also kayak through those spooky, oddly shaped mangroves for a closer look, renting from the Marina at West Lake Park.

If you want to give yourself an even bigger thrill, take off from base Hampton Inn Ft. Lauderdale-West/Pembroke Pines and head to Sawgrass Recreation Park for an airboat ride in search of alligators – at night. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, the park features Gator Nights!, one-hour tours leaving at 8:30 p.m. You can also book a private Red Eye Tour (so-named because an alligator’s eyes glow red in the dark) from 6–10 pm any night of the week. Skim across mere inches of water at 35 miles per hour on the hunt for gators under a South Florida moon – it’s a riveting jaunt you’ll relive over and over.

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