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Top Water Activities for Your Next Vacation


Getting on or in the water is a great way to beat the heat, get some exercise, and have fun while on vacation. Water sports make it easy to stay active and offer unique views and perspectives that are not possible from land. Whether heading to a mountain lake or a tropical beach, check out these top water activities to try out on your next vacation.

Stay Safe

Whenever you are near water, safety should always be a priority. The right gear will keep you safe, which will let you enjoy your time on the water.

Life jackets or life vests, also known as PFDs (personal floatation devices), are mandatory whenever using any type of watercraft. Make sure to follow local laws and regulations and ensure an appropriate life jacket is available for everyone in your group. The most common type of PFDs include:

  • Type I PFD: provides 22 pounds of buoyancy and are mandatory on commercial vessels. These jackets can be bulky, but they aid in rescue because they keep the wearer high in the water.
  • Type II PFD: provides 15.5 pounds of buoyancy. This style typically has a strap that goes around the chest to secure the vest in place. Type II PFDs are commonly found on recreational or charter fishing boats. They can be bulky and are not recommended for continuous wear during recreation activities. 
  • Type III PFD: provides 15.5 pounds of buoyancy and is available in various styles customized to specific sports. For example, a waterski vest will be constructed of foam, which sheds water more efficiently to help a skier stand in the water. While kayaking vests commonly have open sides to allow for unrestricted paddling.
  • Performance floatation vests have a slim design that clings to your body and a full-length zipper. This style of vest allows for increased mobility, making it more desirable when waterskiing and wakeboarding. Performance vests commonly have less buoyancy and are not approved for use in all states, so check the laws based on your location before heading out.

Last but not least, don’t forget the sunscreen. Dermatologists recommend wearing sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Select an option that is water-resistant and reapply throughout the day to ensure consistent coverage. Wear protective clothing when possible to further help block the sun’s rays.


Get under the surface of the water and explore what lies below by snorkeling. Simply put on a pair of flippers, goggles, grab a snorkel, and jump in. Snorkeling in Nassau is particularly stunning, given the coral reefs and natural beauty of the area. 


Getting up on waterskis is a challenge, but it is worth the effort. This sport requires both leg and arm strength since you must simultaneously pull yourself up as you stand in the water. Once you get the hang of things, you can jump the wake or remove a ski and give slalom a try.


Wakeboarding is similar to waterskiing, except instead of two skis, you use a board, much like a snowboard. The increased surface area makes it easier to stand on a wakeboard than on skis. Many water sport enthusiasts find it much easier to jump the wake or perform stunts on a wakeboard.


Sometimes known as a boogie board, a bodyboard is made from foam. All you need to do is paddle out and let an incoming wave carry you to shore as you lay on the board. Bodyboarding is a great way to learn about riding waves and can make for an easier transition to surfing. It is also a better option in an area with smaller waves.

Kayaking or Canoeing

Paddling around a lake, river, or coastline can provide a water-level glimpse of an area typically reserved for wildlife. Generally, hopping into a kayak or canoe is a more peaceful experience, but it still offers a good workout. Make sure to pack snacks or lunch and find a secluded spot to rest and take it all in.

Stand-Up Paddleboard

Stand-up paddleboarding is one of the newer water sports to emerge, but it has quickly gained popularity. These large and buoyant boards are surprisingly stable, and once you get used to standing on the board, you will be able to explore and enjoy the peaceful calm of the water and stunning views.


Windsurfing is only possible if the conditions are right, but it can be a very enjoyable way to spend a day if the wind picks up. The board is about the same size as a surfboard and features an attached sail that lets you steer the board. Windsurfing is an excellent full-body workout. Another option that looks similar but requires different gear is kiteboarding. The board is like a wakeboard, and the kite is attached to a bar that you can hold to steer. 

Get Outside

Spending a day on the water can be relaxing, fun, and be an opportunity to create cherished memories. Water sports are diverse, so if you want to swim or ride, relax or fit in a workout, you are sure to find the perfect option. Whatever your water sport of choice, remember to be safe, but also remember to enjoy yourself.

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