The Ultimate Paddleboard Guide: The 9 Best Picks for Every Need

Jessica Meinhofer, owner of Walk and Paddle, sitting on her her Evolve Good Buddy paddleboard at King's Landing, Apopka, Florida.

Looking for the best paddleboard to buy? Here are the best inflatable and hard paddleboards you can buy in 2024. 

This post is a collaborative effort between myself and expert paddleboarders. We share what the best boards are and why and tell you about the boards we have been using for years. 

There’s no such thing as “one size fits all” when it comes to paddleboards, but I’ve narrowed it down to 9 of the best! Keep reading to see if you agree.

Embrace the Outdoors: 13 Incredible Experiences Await at De Leon Springs State Park

The Old Sugar Mill Pancake House and Spring Run at De Leon Springs State Park in Florida.

Florida is full of wildlife and raw land, and one of the best ways to experience it is via its state parks. De Leon Springs is a terrific option with plenty of history.

Explore the depths of the spring, follow the trails, have a picnic, and spot wildlife. De Leon Springs State Park is great for day visits, and there’s plenty to keep you and your family engaged. Bonus: it’s wheelchair, walker, and stroller-friendly!

I grew up visiting De Leon Springs with my parents and on school field trips. When I had my own family, I brought them here too. Over the years, we have visited many times as day visitors, on homeschool field trips, and for birthday parties.

I’ll share 13 things you can do at De Leon Springs State Park in this post.

Get Ready for an Unforgettable Encounter – Your Ultimate Guide to Swimming with Manatees!

Manatee nose emerging from the water at Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River, Florida.

Did you know you can swim with manatees?

Although they are protected, folks can snorkel in the same waters as manatees. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see manatees in their winter sanctuary. But you just can’t show up on a whim and expect to be able to jump in the water and take a million underwater selfies; you need to be prepared.

I had my very first snorkel experience when I visited Crystal River to swim with manatees. I was invited by a friend who has gone many times. My husband was also with us. Although it was my first visit, I wasn’t new to respecting Florida wildlife and Florida springs or to navigating non-motorized boats.  

There is quite a bit of planning involved. In this post, you’ll find out where you can swim with manatees legally, what gear you need, what to expect, what not to do, and my experience.

Ready, Set, Paddle! Essential Gear to Jumpstart Your Paddleboarding Journey

Four photo collage of paddleboarders and a paddleboards at various locations in Central Florida.

If you are new to paddleboarding, you might not know what gear you need. 

I’ll be sharing the gear that Robert and I have, why we selected it, and why we recommend it. We will also share the gear that we purchased, thinking we needed it, only to realize that it was a mistake.

I’ve been paddleboarding since 2022. In that time, I’ve been able to really put some wear and tear on our gear and replace a few things. A lot of the gear selection was made with the help of our friend, paddleboard expert, and outdoors outfitter Ella Ran, co-owner of Outsiders USA.

Keep reading to learn more about the paddleboarding gear you need to get started.

Escape the Crowds: 9 Gorgeous and Inexpensive Family-Friendly Hikes in Colorado

A boy jumps off the dunes at the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in Colorado.

Finding family-friendly locations can be tough due to the terrain and elevation, but I’ve found 9 family-friendly hikes for kids ages five and up. I’ve been to all of these during my years of visiting the state with my family. In total, we spent around eight months in Colorado, visiting and sometimes revisiting the trails I’m recommending to you. 

I hope you enjoy these trails as much as we have. You’ll notice that we enjoy less-frequented free hikes. They make the places more personal and let us feel less rushed.

Unleash Your Inner Adventurer: Paddleboarding in King’s Landing, Central Florida

The Emerald Cut on Rock Spring Run at King's Landing Apopka, Florida on a sunny day.

Are shallow emerald waters with epic scenery your thing? 

King’s Landing, where leisurely swims and serene floats down Rock Spring Run await, calls to those seeking a rejuvenating paddle. As your launching point for adventure, it provides extended routes with boundless water to explore. Whichever path you choose, bask in the natural wonders of Florida’s beauty.

I’ll share route options for beginner, intermediate, and expert paddleboarders in this post. I will also suggest apps, gear, and the best times to visit.

Celebrate Mother’s Day in the Great Outdoors: 17 Activities for Your Nature-Loving Mom!

Jessica Meinhofer, owner of Walk and Paddle, walking with her kids at Palm Island Park in Mount Dora, Florida.

If your mom loves the outdoors, you might find it hard to plan a fun Mother’s Day, especially if you are more of an indoor type. 

Well, I’ve got you covered. I’m an outdoorsy mom, so I know how frustrating some of the typical Mother’s Day outings are because I find them totally unrelatable. No, I don’t want a tea party, flowers, or brunch. Anyway, I’m going to help you out. 

So keep reading for outdoorsy Mother’s Day ideas.

Uncover the Natural Wonders of Alexander Springs: 12 Essential Tips for Your Visit

The swimming area at Alexander Springs State Park in Ocala, Florida with shallow clear water and white sandy bottom on a bright and sunny summer day.

Are you looking for an inland beach surrounded by dense Florida forest? Look no further than Alexander Springs. 

Alexander Springs Recreation Area in the Ocala National Forest is a great place to visit, no matter the season. The spring is a clear, turquoise swimming area with constant 72°F water and a soft, sandy bottom. There are plenty of opportunities to swim, snorkel, dive, hike, paddle, and camp. 

In this post, I will share everything you need to know to plan your visit to this Central Florida Spring.

Stay Hydrated on the Trails: Discover the Best Portable Water Filter for Hiking

Jessica Meinhofer, owner of Walk and Paddle, sitting on the shore of Green Spring run in Deltona Florida while testing out the Clear2O straw filter and accessories.

Have you ever run out of water during a hike? Did you panic as your thirst grew and grew? Yeah, me too! 

I found a solution to being on the trails and running out of water. A portable water filter can be a lifesaver, even on a day hike. This post will explain why you need a personal water filter, which ones are on the market, and how the top three stack up.