Getting out on the water in Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach is a must for any Outsider. Whether you’re swimming, boating, or paddling, enjoying a day on the water provides you with many happy memories that will last a lifetime. That’s why we turned to Aaron Koher and his unique business, Glass Bottom Rentals in Boca Grande, to learn more about how this Outsider gets a clearer view of the area’s waterways.
When did you open up Glass Bottom Rentals?
We opened up Glass Bottom Rentals in 2016, and we’re out here seven days a week year-round. We could have gone a more traditional route in what we offer, but I wanted to step out of the box and deliver the glass bottom kayaking experience because it’s different. We’re the only business like this between Tampa and Key West offering glass bottom kayaks.
As the name suggests, your kayaks have a glass or see-through bottom. What’s the advantage of a glass bottom kayak over a normal kayak?
It’s a great way of getting that snorkeling experience without getting in the water. Through the glass bottom boats you’re going to see more of the stationary marine life than you would in a traditional kayak. Animals like starfish, sea urchins, sea conchs, and other sea life like that. And that’s because of the glass bottom kayaks but also because of the water here in Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach. It’s beautiful, it’s absolutely crystal clear, and it’s best enjoyed, in my opinion, while seated in a glass bottom kayak.
What else can we expect to see while out on a kayak or paddleboard tour?
Well, out here there’s all sorts of great marine life from dolphins to manatees and birds of all kinds. You’re going to see a lot of different species of fish as well, like snook, redfish, and tarpon especially in spring and summer.
What level of experience do you need to enjoy something like this?
Most of our customers are first-time kayakers. People that have never really tried it or had any interest in it, but the glass bottom really draws them in to see what it’s all about. And what they find is almost anyone, literally anyone, can do this, and they end up leaving with memories that will last them a lifetime. I remember we had a group of customers once that was seven sisters traveling with their 87-year-old mother. The sisters were planning on kayaking but the mom was going to just hang back under the shade of a tree and wait. Instead, I took her out personally in a canoe with me so she could be out on the water with her daughters and enjoy the beautiful day. That’s something that family, and even myself, are never going to forget.
What made you want to open your business in Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach and Boca Grande specifically?
Well, I’m not from the area. I’m originally from Massachusetts. We came here in about 2005 on vacation, and loved it so much that we moved here permanently four months later. I think that’s true for a lot of people who live here. We were just tourists that liked it so much we never left. For me and my wife, it was the ability to get outside that made us fall in love with the area. Anything from hiking to the waterways to the beaches, anything you can do outside in this area, like camping and fishing, there’s just so much to do and we love it all. For us, it’s like a hidden paradise, especially Boca Grande. It’s a place a lot of people don’t know is even here because it’s a very small and remote island. When I bring people out here, once we hit that causeway bridge, once they see that water, it just lights them up and they forget about everything else and just enjoy their day.
Can you tell us a little more about camping in Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach?
Yeah. Whenever we have to close shop here, for weather or just for a day off or something, we like to take little trips out to the islands in the area to do some primitive camping. Which is just camping without any amenities. My wife, our kids, and I love the feeling of getting away, being completely alone, and camping somewhere where there’s not going to be anyone else.
You mentioned seeing a lot of fish, and enjoying some fishing in your free time. What kind of fishing are you doing out here?
Well we do a lot of fishing right off the kayaks with our customers and offer guided kayak fishing tours. You can catch anything from redfish to snook, and we’ve even caught tarpon off our kayaks.
What else do you recommend for people looking to have fun in the area?
Check out the local beaches, get a golf cart and explore the island. There are lots of great little mom & pop shops and waterfront restaurants where you sit with your feet right in the sand.
What would you say to someone considering a trip to Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach?
If you’re looking to escape for a little while, and get away, this is the place for you, especially at Glass Bottom Rentals. We can take you out to a big sandbar where you can just unplug for the day. Here, it’s just a quiet little getaway. It’s not busy, there’s no traffic, it’s not clogged up. It’s easy to get tables at restaurants, easy to find activities just like this that get you out on the water, and you’re not on waiting lists forever.
We once again thank Aaron for giving us time out of his busy day to talk about his love of the outdoors and Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach. Go online to learn more about Glass Bottom Rentals. Aaron took his love for the area and for all the outdoor activities we have to offer and made it his life. That’s why he's an Outsider. Maybe you’re an Outsider too? If so, we hope you're inspired to learn more about Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach, where we say, “Outsiders Welcome.”