If you love watersports and adventure, then it makes sense that you might want to plan your vacations around these activities. There are some great watersports destinations throughout the U.S., and the following is a round-up of some of the best.
Lake Tahoe, California
Lake Tahoe, California, is a beautiful destination if you love the outdoors. In terms of watersports, the area is particularly well known for boating, and it’s a place where people go to stand up paddleboard.
Lake Tahoe is a freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada with crystal clear water, offering views of the boulders at the bottom of the lake. There are even snow-covered mountain peaks in the background when you opt to paddleboard or do watersports on Lake Tahoe.
Lake Tahoe is actually where the paddleboarding sport began, and there are frequent events in the summer and fall. For example, at Kings Beach in August, there is the Ta-HoeNalu Paddle Festival, which is the largest and oldest stand up paddle board race event in the U.S.
Chattanooga, Tennessee might not be the first place you think of when you think watersports, but it’s a great travel destination if you like the outdoors and being on the water. In fact, Outside Magazine named Chattanooga the “Best Town Ever” in 2015.
Chattanooga sits on the Tennessee River, so it’s another place where stand up paddle boarding is common as is whitewater rafting and kayaking.
Key West, Florida
Key West, along with all the Florida Keys, offers beautiful, warm and sunny weather year-round, which is an automatic plus if you like watersports. The Keys have crystal clear water, and you can snorkel, dive, jet ski and parasail. There are the mangroves of the backcountry, as well as saltwater fishing.
The Keys are home to Dry Tortugas National Park,and the water is warm all the time.
In Key West, you can take snorkel tours, and you’ll see all kinds of colorful and vibrant fish, or you can bring your own gear and start exploring.
Hawaii is a sea-lovers dream vacation. Oahu, which is the island home of Honolulu and Waikiki as well as the North Shore, features the opportunity to ride jet skis, learn to surf, or wakeboard. You can walk along the more popular beaches on Oahu, and you’ll find stands set up where you can learn nearly every watersport imaginable from the professionals.
Hawaii is also great for parasailing and kayaking.
Maunalua Bay, Kaneohe Bay, and Waikiki are some of the top spots of Oahu to head for watersports. You can also do a Haleiwa Turtle Watch Tour in a glass bottom kayak or explore Pearl Harbor Tours on the water.
If you want even more adventure, some including water and others in the jungles, you can also visit Hawaii’s Big Island. The Big Island is home to the Hawai’I Volcanoes National Park and the Hakaluau Forest, in addition to watersports like snorkeling and kayaking.
The Big Island has black sand beaches, rainforests, and lava deserts.
Lake Havasu, Arizona
Lake Havasu is one of the primary tourist destinations in Arizona. Lake Havasu has warm, calm water and it’s a popular area for swimmers, boaters, and kayakers. London Bridge Beach features a swimming area near the bridge, and there’s also the protected area of Lake Havasu State Park. There are Lake Havasu lighthouses, and hiking around the lake. Some of the area hikes can only be accessed by boat.
Another notable part of Arizona for watersports enthusiasts is the Colorado River. This is known for its adventurous whitewater rafting opportunities set against the scenery of the Grand Canyon. A lot of people will start their Colorado River adventures in Flagstaff.
Lake Michigan, Michigan
Lake Michigan is a vast lake, and there are towns that dot its shoreline where you can go and enjoy water sports in the warm summer months.
For example, there’s Traverse City with Clinch Park and the Boardman River. Southhaven is known for its Blueberry Festival in August, and the beaches of Van Buren State Park.
Grand Haven, which is set along the Grand River, is home to the Grand Haven State Park and the Grand Haven Boardwalk. New Buffalo is around 90 minutes from Chicago, and there is the three-mile beach at Warren Dunes State Park as well as canoeing and kayaking on the Gailen River.
Finally, if jet skiing is more your speed in terms of watersports, you might head to Miami. There are always jet skiers out and about on the water, and Miami is also known for its vibrant culture, dining, and nightlife.