Fun water sports to try on your next vacation

man and woman with children on standup paddleboards
EpicStockMedia/Shutterstock

Aquatic sports add a fun active dimension to a vacation. At the same time, they let you relax and get a little exercise. So, if you’re looking for a few new ideas to try the next time you have time off, we suggest adding one of these activities to your water-sport list.

Guided fishing

Fishing is not the same as a guided fishing trip or a fishing charter. Fishing with a pro, whether on saltwater or freshwater, eliminates the learning curve you face when angling in unfamiliar waters. A guide will teach you effective techniques, clue you into the best lures, and give you a better chance to catch more fish. Plus, an experienced guide knows about the local ecology and scenery, and can get you to the best spots. Fishing with a guide gives you the chance to catch new species, explore new waters, and fish with greater confidence while on vacation.

Sailing

Sailing is an excellent way to spend time outdoors with family and close friends. You can sign up to enjoy sailing either as a passenger or as a crew member on a learn-to-sail cruise. While it may be relaxing to kick back and let a hired crew do all the work, being part of the crew is even better. You get to be an active participant in the success of the voyage while learning new skills. Sailing is an invigorating way to more fully enjoy your beautiful vacation spot. Spend time on the water with the wind billowing white sails under a clear blue sky and feel the gentle motion of the boat as it slices through the water.

Stand-up paddleboarding

Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world. It’s no wonder. There isn’t much on the water that you can’t do on a SUP. Flatwater paddling, whitewater, surfing, fishing, and even fitness routines are all compatible with this simple paddle-propelled board. And, it’s great for all ages. Children as young as 5 can operate a SUP on their own, while younger kids can ride along with a parent. If you are vacationing anywhere close to water, chances are there is an SUP rental close by.

Parasailing

Parasailing is a unique way to get a great view. The parasailor is secured to a small seat that is attached to the back of a powerful boat by a retractable line. As the boat gains speed, a large parachute behind the boat catches the wind, lifting the parasailor into the air. As the line extends and the boat reaches a cruising speed of 15 to 30 miles per hour, the parasailor gradually reaches a height of 250 to 500 feet. Soaring at this height with the gentle wind surrounding you and the beach scene below is an exhilarating yet peaceful experience you won’t forget.

Subwing diving

For those who love being towed behind boats, subwing diving is a fun way to tour the surface and the depths at your leisure. The subwing is made of two wings mounted together so that they can be tilted independently of one another. It is towed at a slow pace, while the diver maneuvers the subwing by tilting the wings at different angles. It is a simple matter of holding on by your arms and steering by pointing them in the direction you want to go. Point both wings down to dive underwater, or upward to return to the surface. Tilt the wings in opposite directions to perform a roll. With practice, and a lung full of air, a subwing diver can dive to 30 feet or more.

man riding a water jet pack
ChameleonsEye/Shutterstock

Jetpacking

If parasailing is too tame for you, maybe you should give jetpacking a try. The jetpack is tethered to a Jet Ski or pod by a hose. The Jet Ski forces an incredible volume of water (up to 1,000 gallons per minute at 60 psi, to be exact) to the jetpack through the hose. The throttle is operated either by the rider or an instructor, to allow a controlled amount of water through the jetpack to propel the rider. It takes a short instructional session and a bit of time to get the feel for the equipment, but you’ll soon be soaring up to 30 feet in the air.

Waterskiing

Waterskiing takes some time to learn and works out the entire body, from grasping the tow rope to maintaining a proper stance. But the sense of accomplishment and elation once you’ve gotten fully up to standing height, feeling the skis cut through the water as you glide across the surface at 30 miles per hour, is an absolute joy.

Editors' Recommendations