Share on Pinterest
There are no images.
Share with your friends


beach vacation By Lena Katz

Sunken treasure. Sea caves. Cliff diving. Big game fishing. A summertime beach vacation includes so much more than the quest for the perfect tan these days. From the Caribbean to the Gulf of Mexico to the South Seas, there are countless adventures to be had…for Dad’s Day, a post-graduation getaway, or a summer vacation you’ll remember forever.

Key West treasure hunt
Point your compass toward Key West, where Atocha Dive Adventures is leading certified divers out to salvage dive a real Spanish galleon. Instructors are not only professional salvage experts; some of them are actually related to Mel Fisher, the most famous treasure hunter of the modern age. Fisher discovered the Atocha in 1985 and took a cool $400 million off it in his time.

Beach vacation What a dive: Bahamas, Curacao, Hawaii 
Speaking of SCUBA, no doubt there are tons of certified folk out there wondering which cave/blue hole/reef to check out on their beach vacation — preferably one as far away from the paddling pools and treasure-seeking hordes as possible. Top picks near the East Coast are the Bahamas and Curacao. The former island nation has more than 700 islands, most of them uninhabited, and countless unique dive sites: reef systems, blue holes, walls, drifts and more. The latter has 65 offshore dive sites, including an airplane wreck, a surprisingly charming tugboat wreck, cave dives and the one and only “Mushroom Forest.”

On the West Coast, Honolulu is offering not only great travel deals in 2009, but also some of the best wreck diving in the world, period. This is actually by design: while the Caribbean wrecks are mainly the legacy of pirates, merchants and explorers, Honolulu’s wrecks were sunk intentionally, to create the sort of underwater landscape that would draw divers.

Big Game day
And shouts once again to Hawaii for another sporty beach vacation fave: deep-sea fishing. This is a macho quest disguised as a daytime pleasure cruise: brave anglers tracking scary sea monsters on a fast-moving boat well-stocked with beer… The waters off Kona on the west side of the Big Island offer prime big game fishing — mostly blue marlin and some tuna.

Other great spots for big game fishing are Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta in Mexico, San Diego California, and — what some continue to be the ultimate summer vacation destination — Alaska, particularly the Kenai River, but also small towns like Homer and Seward.

Beach vacation Where surfing meets outrigger canoeing
If you prefer a calmer, more balanced ocean communion, stand-up paddle boarding may be your speed. It actually originated in Hawaii and French Polynesia, as a hybrid between two hugely popular sports: surfing and outrigger canoeing. These days people are starting to pick it up in many places — you can find lessons in popular Hawaii resort areas, and there's even particular enthusiasm where you wouldn’t necessarily expect it: For example, the Turks and Caicos, where Paul Menta runs one of the biggest stand-up paddle boarding instructional facilities in the world. Last year he paddled a 40-mile stretch of coastline, catching fish for food and sleeping on pristine beaches. The clear blue waters offshore are perfect for this sort of exploration.

Meanwhile, over in Colorado — right outside Aspen, to be exact — a few hardy souls have adapted stand-up paddle boarding for whitewater rapids. If you’ve got river kayaking experience and outstanding balance, this rugged sport may be for you.

Get swept up, up and away
A sport with endless appeal to stunt men, ex-military and other folks with no fear of flying, hang-gliding is popular in California, Florida and various other warm but windswept regions. However the largest hang-gliding school in the country is Kitty Hawk Kites in South Carolina. Host of the annual Hang Gliding Spectacular, this place teaches all ages and levels. It also offers instruction in kiteboarding and surfing, and runs parasailing and dolphin jet boat adventures for people who appreciate extreme thrills.

Related Orbitz resources:

Lena Katz lives on the Left Coast and writes about tropical islands, beach clubs and food, but her heart belongs to NYC.

Tagged: California, Caribbean, Family time, Florida, Hawaii, Mexico

Note: Orbitz compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *