Broward’s Unique Hot Spots to Cool Off

Come on in...The Water's a Blast!

Broward's unique hot spots to cool off
Photo by Derek Thomson.

It’s another one of those steamy summer days that’ll melt the makeup right off your face. It’s just too hot to be outside — unless you’re in the water. But finding the right place to take the plunge can be a sticky predicament in South Florida, where the phrase “water, water everywhere” applies almost literally.

In Broward County, there are a gazillion options for swimming, snorkeling or any other water activity. From its 23 miles of beaches to its five water parks and all the municipal, community and private pools in between, the county is a water-lover’s paradise. It’s not for nothing that it’s home to the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

But if the obvious choices of beach and pool leave you with that “been there, done that” feeling, there are ways to make a splash that are a little out of the ordinary … and possibly a lot more exciting. One is the FlowRider® Double at Margaritaville Beach Resort. Situated on Hollywood Beach’s Broadwalk, it lets surfers and surfer wannabes ride the waves with an ocean view but without having to actually set foot in the sea.

You don’t need to be a resort guest to enjoy the adrenaline-pumping surfing-simulator experience — you just need to be at least 42 inches tall for bodyboarding and 52 inches for stand-up surfing. FlowRider is open Monday-Thursday 11am-6pm and Friday-Sunday 9am-6pm. Prices for 30 minutes are $30 weekdays and $45 weekends.

One of many promotions is the Thursday Locals Special, which gives residents an extra 30 minutes free with the purchase of a 30-minute session from 3-6pm. There’s also the Florida Residents Special, which offers a day pass for $95, 11am-6pm Monday-Thursday. You can find more info and video clips at www.margaritaritavillehollywoodbeachresort.com.

If having something to hang on to is more your style when skimming the water, then an outing to Ski Rixen USA at Quiet Waters Park in Deerfield Beach may be your wet and wild ride of choice. At South Florida’s only cable water-skiing and wakeboard park, fun-seekers 12 and older don’t need a boat to be pulled silently over smooth water. And they can also slalom, trick-ski, kneeboard or even surf without a wave.

Strategically designed to provide the best water conditions possible, the huge cable park is open daily except for Mondays. Depending on whether you’re skiing or wakeboarding, basic passes range from $25 for an hour to $65 for a day. Advanced passes range from $45-$85. Group rates and military discounts are available. For more info, call 954-429-0215 for hours and visit www.skirixenusa.com or www.broward.org/parks/quietwaterspark to watch a YouTube video of the attraction in action.

If your idea of a smashing good time falls — keyword: falls — somewhere between TV’s American Ninja Warrior and Wipeout, the new Tigertail Aqua Challenge at Broward College Tigertail Lake Recreational Center will put you in the action. The 8,000-square-foot inflatable water obstacle course and playground in Dania Beach will test your balance, strength, and concentration with a trampoline, balance beam, jungle gym, a 25-foot bouncing dome and a 12-foot-tall freefall climbing wall with a breathtaking slide.

The first Aqua Challenge in South Florida, the course’s other special features include the 12-foot-wide octagon-shaped Universal Thunderdome and The Ultimate Catapult, a 16-foot swing that launches participants into the water. And then there’s the 20-foot-wide Cyclone, an obstacle that fits up to four people and allows the rotating wheel to act as a super soaker. It also provides an ultimate spinning workout. When it’s time to chill, the multi-level enclosed splash zone is just right for playing or relaxing.

Participants must be at least 7 years old and be able to swim. Sessions are one hour and include a 15-minute safety briefing. The Aqua Challenge can be a stand-alone attraction or included in a full-day package at Tigertail Lake Recreational Center, which also features watersport rentals, SCUBA, sailing, lifeguarding courses and regular outdoor adventure trips. For more information please visit www.tigertaillake.com or call 954-201-4500.