For many travelers, a vacation is only a vacation if there is a beach to sunbathe on. For others, activities are a must. With this in mind, members and editors of travel website and community www.virtualtourist.com prepared a list of the “Top 10 beach activities and where to do them.”
1. Snorkeling — El Nido, Palawan, Philippines
El Nido, in the province of Palawan, is a quiet little community that faces the sparkling sea and is cradled by a backdrop of dark, majestic limestone cliffs. Because it is made up of 45 islands and islets, island hopping is very popular. Members noted that many of the areas offer some of the best opportunities for snorkeling, walking off white sand beaches in to crystal-clear waters. VT members also had a good tip: Rocks and corals can hurt your feet, so don’t forget to bring and wear your best aqua shoes to avoid going home with cuts.
2. Fossil hunting — Lyme Regis, Dorset Coast, United Kingdom
When a member first recommended fossil hunting, we were a bit skeptical, too, but travelers seeking an unusual beach activity should consider visiting the Dorset Coast, home to the World Heritage Site, the Jurassic Coastline. Visitors to the beach have found a variety of amazing fossils, including giant marine reptiles, crinoids, ammonites and even dinosaur remains. The quantity and quality of finds over the last 200 years have made Lyme Regis popular with explorers of every age.
3. Seaplaning — Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays Island, Queensland, Australia
Whitehaven Beach offers some of the most crystal clear aqua waters and white sand beaches you will ever see. And to truly experience it, VirtualTourist members recommend a seaplane adventure. By air, you will see some of the most amazing views of Whitsunday Islands National Park and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Your plane lands in the water, where you practically jump from your seat into the ocean to enjoy the warm waters. It’s easy to understand why many VirtualTourist members consider this the most incredible adventure by air and sea.
4. Paddleboarding — Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Known as a luxurious honeymoon destination, Bora Bora’s lagoon has bright blues and calm disposition offered by few locales. The flat conditions are ideal for a first-timer, and paddlers frequently spot manta rays in the lagoon, since it has visibility up to 150 feet!
5. Scuba diving — Sharm El Skeikh, Egypt
The reefs of Sharm el Sheikh in the Red Sea are a divers’ paradise. In addition to relatively warm waters all year long, low rainfall and mild currents allow excellent visibility, in some places up to 150 feet. As one of the saltiest seas in the world, a large variety of endemic species can be found here, including the bright yellow Masked Butterfly fish, the Red Sea Flasher Wrasse and the Picasso Triggerfish, which lives up to its name by resembling a picture of the painter, among others.
6. Swimming — Varadero Beach, Cuba
Some VirtualTourist members called Varadero Beach the best beach in the Caribbean. With its sugary-white sandy beach, turquoise clear water, and warm water temperatures year round, it’s easy to see why. The calm waters make swimming here a favorite pastime for all levels.
7. Sailing — British Virgin Islands
If you’re looking to venture out in to the open waters by sailboat, then British Virgin Islands is for you. With 25 jaw-dropping islands in reach, checking out new land by boat has never been more fun. Whether you’re a first time sailor, or a seasoned captain, consistent trade winds, long, sunny days and beautiful views make BVI a sailor’s paradise.
8. Surfing — Inchydoney Island, County Cork, Ireland
County Cork has some of the most beautiful beaches in all of Ireland and the beach on Inchydoney Island is no exception. It recently received Blue Flag status by the Foundation for Environmental Education, meaning it is acknowledged for its high environment and quality standards. VirtualTourist members noted that the endless beach and reliable tides make this a perfect place to learn to surf.
9. Catch-and-release fishing — Glover’s Reef Atoll, Belize
Glover’s Reef Atoll is considered to be the prototypic atoll in the Caribbean and is also the best developed biologically. It contains the greatest range of reef type and is home to a variety of sea life including three species of sea turtles, eight species of sharks and rays, more than twenty species of aggregating reef fish, and numerous species of coral. Fishing can be enjoyed year round, but because the area is now a Marine Preserve, it’s catch and release only. Some fish you might encounter are Bonefish, Jacks, Mutton Snappers, Yellowtails, Bonitos, Cubera Snappers, Barracudas, King Mackerel, Wahoo and Groupers and Permit.
10. Canoeing — Pemba Island, Zanzibar
Pemba is a genuine, remote tropical island just off the East Coast of Africa. While there are amazing beaches, Pemba is most noted for its unique mangrove swamps. For a great sense of adventure, VirtualTourist members recommend hopping aboard a canoe and exploring what nature has to offer. While floating along the endless channels, you’ll watch rivers disappear deep into the bush and spot birds and fish endemic to the area. You’ll soon see why some say no other place in Africa can provide the same sense of adventure.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service