Fun Water Sports Activities to Do on Your Vacation
If you’re on vacation, you won’t want to spend all of your time sitting by the pool or on the beach. Though that is pretty nice for a while. You’ll want to get the adrenaline pumping and flowing with something exciting. Why not give water sports a go? Sports of any kind can have not only physical health benefits, but mental too. And that’s just part of what makes them so much fun!
In this post, we’ll take a look at the 10 best water sports you can do on vacation. Not only that, we’ll give you some ideas on where you can do them. Just in case you haven’t planned your trip yet. Let’s go!
Stand up Paddle Boarding
Let’s kick off with a fun and easy sport to do either solo or with a group of friends. Stand up paddle boarding (commonly shortened to SUP) is a board sport that originated in Hawaii in the 1940s but has only seen its popularity explode during this century. The great thing about SUP is its versatility - it’s one of the few sports that you can do on rivers, lakes, and the ocean. You can even bring your dog with you! Grab an iSUP that can travel with you, fit in the trunk of your car, and even stowed on a plane!
Best places to go stand up paddle boarding: Gili Islands, Indonesia; Oahu, Hawaii; San Diego, California; Bay of Islands, New Zealand; Lisbon, Portugal.
A cousin of stand up paddle boarding, surfing has been around longer and will get the adrenaline flowing just that little bit faster. Part of the reason that surfing is so popular is the social scene surrounding it. Solo travellers often quickly make friends and build relationships at surf camps or even just hitting up a popular surfing beach. Though it might seem intimidating and look difficult, it’s not that hard to pick up after a few lessons with a good instructor.
Best places to go surfing: Uluwatu, Indonesia; Oahu, Hawaii; Teahupo’o, French Polynesia; Siargao Island, Philippines; Montanita, Ecuador.
You might not immediately think of snorkelling as a water sport. An entry-level way to get up close and personal with marine life, you’ll at least have to do some swimming in possibly quite rough waves. Grab your mask, snorkel, and fins to get a look at brightly coloured coral reefs, tropical fish, and maybe even rays and sharks!
Best places to go snorkelling: Great Barrier Reef, Australia; Okinawa, Japan; Galapagos Islands, Ecuador; Grenada, the Caribbean; Isla del Cocos, Costa Rica.
After getting to grips with snorkelling, you might feel the urge to go deeper and see more of what lies beneath the ocean. 70% of the earth’s surface is covered by the ocean, so that’s a whole lot you’re not exploring if you don’t do this! Scuba Diving increases how long you can stay under the waves and you’ll see some truly breathtaking sights. You can even dive in shipwrecks and explore the ocean floor - as well as seeing whale sharks and vibrant coral reefs.
Best places to go scuba diving: Tioman Island, Malaysia; the Great Blue Hole, Belize; Ko Tao, Thailand; Gili Islands, Indonesia; Blue Wall, Micronesia.
White Water Rafting
A change of scenery now - white water rafting is one of the best activities out there for thrill-seekers. Head out onto a river and crash over white-water rapids - sometimes dropping meters in a single jump! Some of the most fun you can have while getting wet, it’s something you have to do at least once!
Best places to go white water rafting: Colorado River, USA; Zambezi River, Zimbabwe; Fatalefu River, Chile; Sjoa River, Norway; Tara River Gorge, Montenegro.
Sea kayaking is not that different to stand up paddle boarding - at least in terms of where you can do it. The big difference is that this time, you’ll be sitting down and a little more enclosed. It gives you a chance to get up close and personal with nature and it’s a great activity to do both on your own and in a group. Sea kayaking is much more environmentally friendly than taking a boat trip.
Best places to go sea kayaking: Western Isles, Scotland; Dalmatian Coast, Croatia; Bay of Islands, New Zealand; Swakopmund, Namibia; Glacier Bay, Alaska.
One for true adrenaline junkies here. Parasailing is the act of being harnessed to a parachute and a speedboat at the same time. As the boat accelerates, you’ll get higher and higher above the ocean - getting a fantastic bird’s eye view of your surroundings. Not one if you have a fear of heights!
Best places to go parasailing: Catalina Island, California; Sydney, Australia; Bali, Indonesia; Cape Town, South Africa; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to ride a boat with a jet engine attached to the back, here’s your chance. You can get up to some seriously high speeds in these boats… and the 360 spins might leave you feeling sick. It’s enormous fun though!
Jet boating still hasn’t really taken off outside New Zealand, though you will find it in a few places in SE Asia.
Best places to jet boat: Queenstown, New Zealand; Lake Taupo, New Zealand; Sabah, Malaysia.
One of the least complicated extreme sports, cliff jumping is exactly what you say it is. However, the fact that it’s also known as tombstoning means it can be pretty dangerous. Never go cliff jumping alone, never jump from higher than 20 metres, and always make sure there are no rocks below first. There are a lot of safety concerns, but it’s lots of fun if you do it safely!
Best places to go cliff jumping: Santorini, Greece; Ka Lae, Hawaii; Lake Wolfgang, Austria.
Kitesurfing is often confused with windsurfing. It’s hardly surprising, as the names are similar and it combines aspects of that with other water and kite sports. A power kite can pull you not only across water, but snow and land too - so this is a pretty versatile activity!
Best places to go kitesurfing: Mui Ne, Vietnam; Tarifa, Spain; Essaouira, Morocco; Kalpitiya, Sri Lanka; Cumbuco, Brazil.