Night moves: outdoor fun after dark

Cyclists head out on a Saturday night race in Lake Worth. (Sun Sentinel photo: Michael Laughlin)

The first day of summer is less than a month away — a blessing for outdoor enthusiasts up North, a curse for us. A bicycle ride or kayak trip isn't much fun when you're dodging afternoon thunderstorms or slogging through 100 percent humidity.

But there is a way to keep your cool: Wait until the sun goes down to head outside. There are plenty of local opportunities for hikers, bikers and others to do it in the dark over the summer months.

Other pluses: Waterways and roads are less crowded. The season's unpredictable and sometimes violent weather usually calms down after sunset. And the after-work hours often jibe better with people's busy schedules.

It's also "a chance to see your city in a whole new way," said Kathryn Moore, manager of Broward B-cycle, a bike sharing concession with pick-up stations across east Broward County.


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Here are some outdoor activities with evening options.

Paddleboarding

What could be more wild than bobbing on inky waters atop a paddleboard, surrounded by an eerie circle of neon?

That's how Precision Paddleboards' Josh Vajda describes the ride on a NightSUP, his custom-designed paddleboards rimmed with LED lights.

"It's a completely different experience being on the water at night," Vajda says. "It's peaceful. You get to see a lot more."

And you get to avoid being out in the grueling sun during the day.

Precision Paddleboards in Fort Lauderdale started with occasional evening tours on the lighted boards last fall, but Vajda anticipates summer will be the peak season and soon will begin offering trips almost every evening.

Most of the trips depart from Esplanade Park, 400 SW Second St., although other locations can be arranged. Price is $50 per person, and no paddleboarding experience is required.

Info: 877-954-4787, precisionpaddleboards.com

 Stargazing

Summer is the perfect time to add amateur astronomy to your outdoor skill set.

The Fox Observatory at Markham Park (16001 W. State Road 84, Sunrise, 954-357-8868) is a great place for newcomers to lift their eyes to the skies. The nonprofit South Florida Amateur Astronomers Association, which runs the facility, has public viewings from dusk until midnight every Saturday.

The observatory houses several large telescopes, including a pair of Schmidt-Cassegrains, a Brandon Refractor, and three Dobson Reflectors.

Members often set up their own equipment as well, and are happy to share their knowledge with newbies. The viewing is free but the weekend park admission fee of $1.50 per person, $8 maximum per car, may apply.

Info: sfaaa.com, 954-384-0442

Biking