I must be in the 1% of people who don’t enjoy lying on a beach. I can do it for about an hour and then I start to get fidgety. I want, NEED to do something. For those of us who are not sand loungers but still enjoy the sun, surf and scenery, these destinations are for you.
Adventures: Shark Cage Snorkeling, Mountain Biking, Gliding
Hawaii is known the world over as the birthplace of modern surfing but there is so much more to do there than surf. Oahu is a perfect location to enjoy the natural majesty of Hawaii by spending time snorkeling in the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, where visitors can wade out from the beach with nothing but a mask and snorkel and swim among a fantastic array of tropical fish that make the reserve home. After swimming with the tame fish, you could get your heart racing faster (probably dangerously faster) by taking a dip in the ocean with the sharks that are more commonly found in the open ocean. I personally would recommend you do so in a shark cage provided by Hawaii Shark Encounters, but that’s just me.
Just to be clear, there are adventurous things to do out of the water in Oahu. The Maakua Ridge Trail has very technical mountain biking (there are nearby outfitters that rent bikes), but if you are looking for something a little more tame there are several guide services in the area that offer less strenuous, downhill bike rides where enjoying the scenery is emphasized, not raising your heartrate.
Finally, I can think of no more breathtaking way to behold the beauty of the main island than by glider. These gliders are towed by another airplane to a certain altitude and then the pilot slowly descends without the noise of an engine to distract you from the beauty of the land, sea and sky beneath you. Check with Honolulu Soaring for their various flight options.
Adventures: Kiteboarding, Windsurfing, Surfing, Fishing
The fact that this part of North Carolina is known as “The Graveyard of the Atlantic” is a hint that the wind and sea conditions off the beaches of Cape Hatteras have provided sailors with all sorts of “adventure” for hundreds of years. These days, those steady breezes and shallow sandbars make for perfect kitesurfing and windsurfing conditions. Both of these sports are very popular in the area and there are a number of shops that rent gear and provide lessons. Since these sports can be fairly dangerous to the novice, I can’t stress enough how much you need lessons before you risk getting dragged across a beach attached to a parachute-sized kite.
Another sport that has taken hold in Hatteras is Stand Up Paddle (SUP) boarding. This sport involves a large surfboard, a paddle and someone willing to make them work together. It’s very common to see SUP’s in surf breaks today and Hatteras is no exception. SUP is a great work out and is surprisingly easy once you get the hang of it. Anyone interested in trying the sport would benefit from learning in the calmer waters of Cape Hatteras on the western side of the island.
If all that surfing (of any variety) sounds like too much exercise, spend a day chasing fish, either offshore for tuna, marlin, mahi-mahi or mackerel. Inshore fishing in the shallow waters of Cape Hatteras can produce a wide variety of fish including redfish, sea trout and croaker. The third option for fishing is surf casting, which basically involves casting a line out in to the surf, sitting in a chair and enjoying a beverage and the scenery, without ever having to worry about getting seasick. That’s my choice!
Adventures: Canopy Safari, Diving, Surfing, Fishing
I have been to Costa Rica on a couple of occasions and have grown to love it. It’s easy to get there from the U.S., fairly inexpensive and it is a country that just seems bent on having fun in the outdoors. Quepos sits on the Pacific Coast and offers excellent, some say “epic” surfing, fishing and diving. What sets Quoepos apart as an Adventure Beach destination is the White Water rafting on three nearby rivers that offer varying levels of intensity. Imagine how it would feel to wash a few days of accumulated salt off your skin by plunging down a freshwater river for a few hours. During certain months, the Chorro river’s rapids reach Class V which is comparable to what you might find on parts of the Colorado River in the US.
After spending a couple of days in and out of the water, I would want to partake of another activity that CR is becoming famous for, zip line tours of the rain forest. Canopy Safari in Quepos has been at it for more than 15 years and offers a five hour tour through the trees. Clipping into a pulley on a steel cable and sliding through the trees may not be for everyone, but the scenery and flora and fauna more than make up for the occasional bouts of terror.
What’s your favorite beach for adventure and outdoor sports?