Go Off-Road For Four-Wheel Fun

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Go Off-Road For Four-Wheel Fun
By ATD’s Florida experts Susan & Simon Veness
It’s dirty, smelly, dusty and hot – and it’s also one of the most fun adventures you will have anywhere in Florida. Welcome to Revolution Offroad!

This unique company in Lake County – barely 19 miles from Disney – has been offering a series of off-road tours and rides since 2009 and has quickly become one of THE premier adventure experiences in the state, with an increasing variety of vehicles and choices.

Head out into the unspoiled wilderness of this area and you will quickly discover the real Florida that first attracted tourists more than 100 years ago. And, at Revolution Offroad, you can get up close and personal with the extensive countryside on ATVs, dune buggies and amphibious Argos, or Mucky Ducks, as they call them.

Simon recently took our boys (ages 17, 19 and 22, so not really ‘boys’ at all!) out to give them the full off-road experience, and the result was a big, big hit with all concerned.

Just to start with R.O. is easy to find; just go out to the west end of Highway 192 in Kissimmee, go north on Highway 27, then turn left on to County Road 474 and go 18 miles to the end, where you turn right on State Road 33 and go north for two miles, where the dirt road entrance is on the right. At the end of the one-mile road, and set in more than 230 acres, is this amazing centre of off-road trails, by-ways, fields, swamp and hills, arranged around a lovely lake that also features some great bass fishing.

We had chosen the ATV (or Quad-Bike) adventure for the day, and checked in at their reservations centre, which also includes soft drinks and water for sale, along with T-shirts and other souvenirs, as well as the all-important Porta-loos (in case you forgot to ‘go’ before you arrived!). After we were all duly signed up we met with our guide, Kevin, who gave us the equally important safety talk and briefing under the lakeside picnic pavilion, and then took us over to the equipment kiosk, where we were fitted out with the necessary head-gear (including helmets and goggles) for our ATVs.

Next, we were introduced to our four-wheeled steeds for the morning’s adventure, which would be split into two 35-minute sessions following a riding test. You have to be 16 to ride solo on an ATV here, and it is important to pay full attention as your guide goes over the full working of these machines (which is actually fairly simple once you get the hang of it). With everyone mounted up, we completed a full ‘test run’ behind Kevin, following his instructions for starting, stopping and maintaining a 20ft gap between each rider. And with that we were off….

…along the amazing variety of trails that cris-cross the Revolution Offroad site, through mud and dirt and sand, splashing across puddles and climbing sand hills; around tight turns and S-bends, and along grassy, tree-lined straights; and having a truly great time.

The first session of 35 minutes took us through the ‘tamer’ trails, following Kevin as he led us alongside the lake and into the flatter areas so we could all be fully confident with our vehicles, zipping along at up to 30mph. We then took a break back at the reception centre to dust off some of the mud, use the loos and take a few photos.

Then it was back on for Session II, and a more challenging series of trails, with tighter turns, more twisting terrain, including the sand hills – and bigger puddles! Bearing in mind this IS Florida in the summer, when we can get some serious daily thunderstorms, the trails can vary from sandy and desert-like to absolute swamps, and everything in between.

It hadn’t been hugely wet in the past week or so, but there were still some seriously wet sections and major puddles to navigate – “Don’t try to drive through them if you can’t see how deep they are,” Kevin advised us. “You don’t want to have to push an ATV out of that much mud!” – and it is fairly obvious that you can get pretty filthy having this much fun. Long trousers and close-toed shoes are essential, and old clothes are definitely advisable.

As our pictures show, this is not a ‘clean’ experience and you will need to do a LOT of washing (or throwing away!) afterwards, but the end result is an absolute blast and it is totally unique in Central Florida.

On our tour, a father and son from Rochdale were part of our group, and son Ben, 18, told us: “This is the best experience of my life!” His dad, Trevor, added: “There is nothing like this back in the UK and we are both really impressed.”

We had remembered to pack a cooler with some drinks and snacks, so we were able to enjoy an ice-cold Gatorade and a bite to eat afterwards under the picnic pavilion with a great view out over the lake.

Other visitors were just returning in three of the Mucky Ducks and were suitably excited by the finale of crossing the lake, while there was a mother and son enjoying their own archery lesson, followed by a dune buggy ride.

It was a wonderful morning, weather-wise; not too hot and with enough of a breeze to keep things reasonably cool. The morning (from 8.30) is definitely the best time to ride in summer as the afternoon weather can be distinctly iffy (remember those thunderstorms we mentioned?).

Each rider must be at least 45ins tall to be a passenger, and riders of 16 or 17 must have a parent or guardian with them to sign their waiver form. The whole experience lasts a good two hours and booking in advance is highly advisable (see ATD’s booking page, here), as this is fast becoming a major off-the-beaten-track attraction. Drivers must be at least 18 for the Mucky Ducks and a full driving licence is required for the dune buggies.

All in all, this is as exciting and enjoyable as real Florida gets; there are no queues or crowds; the training staff and guides are all immensely friendly and personable; and this is an experience you are likely to remember for life!

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