Life is Much More Than a Beach
“Life’s a beach!” We’ve all heard that common catch phrase right before summertime arrives and it’s time to put on our flip-flops, fill up the cooler and head to the local beach with friends. As relaxing as a day of getting bronzed and buzzed can be, it’s time to step outside of our comfort zones and venture around the world to experience the wide variety of beach culture and diverse water sporting that exists globally.
Who knew this existed? Your inner Ironman can now be brought to life using a pair of jet boots that spout high-pressure water, propelling you to heights of up to 30 feet! Once you’ve got it mastered, you can dive in and out of the waves and show off your dolphin-esque skills. This craze, created by French Jet Ski designer Franky Zapata, is going global, so you can try it out anywhere from Key West to Fiji… if you have the guts.
Exploring the Galapagos Islands
Bahia Gardner, the oldest of the Galapagos Islands, offers a wide variety of wildlife and white sandy beaches. The island is known for colonies of sea lions, sea turtles and mocking birds. For the more adventurous, there is the opportunity to snorkel at Gardner Bay and swim with sea lions and large colonies of tropical fish, Manta Rays and even white-tipped sharks.
Beach Raves in Ibiza
Who said you needed a club in order to rage? Ibiza, known as “rave island” and the birthplace of the EDM craze, is a 24-hour beach party. You have to be willing to spend the cash, but this Mediterranean island off the coast of Spain offers beautiful clear water, stunning shoreline views, and a guaranteed good time. From booze cruises to beach raves, this bumpin’ beach destination is probably best saved for a weekend with friends instead of a family vacation.
Sharks and Shipwrecks in Cape Town
This beautiful beach town in South Africa, widely famous for its flat-topped mountain coastline view, also hosts shipwreck tours along the white sanded beaches. Other activities in Cape Town include horseback riding, surfing, flying kites and even cage diving with Great Whites! However, be weary of the shark spotters’ flag warnings along the beaches. A white flag with a black shark along with a loud siren means that a shark has been sighted and bathers should clear the waters immediately. A red flag warning means a shark has been seen recently but is no longer visible to the spotters.
Crabbing in Maine
Instead of heading to a local crab shack, what better way to cook up a delicious seafood dinner than going crabbing yourself? Day permits for recreational crabbing can be purchased easily, but it’s important to note that timing is everything. Check the tide chart to see when the most crabs will be headed to shore and the rest is easy. It’s a simple method: take your dip net and slowly lower it into the water, scoop in the crabs, and then make sure to put them in a ventilated container and keep them covered. Voila! A tasty, fresh crab dinner and a fun day with the family.
Windsurfing in Brazil
Jijoca de Jericoacoara Beach was named after a word from an ancient indigenous language meaning “lair of the turtles.” This popular vacation spot is famous for its deep blue lagoons, calm waters and huge sand dunes. The combination of the calm waters and the continuously crazy winds host favorable conditions for windsurfing, and the nearby dunes allow more extreme sporters to take a whirl at sandboarding.
The Nude Beaches of France
Why wear a bikini when you’ve got a birthday suit? Go “au naturelle” on the nude beaches of France, specifically Cap d’Agde in southern France, which was named the best nude beach in the world. Here, you can experience the Free Body Culture Movement, which started in Germany. It has since made its way around the world. In Cap d’Agde, nudity is legal and common even in restaurants and shops, day and night. Make sure to follow the nude beach etiquette though! If you’re taking pictures, make sure the other bathers don’t mind. Also, don’t stare. The Free Body Culture’s intention was not to promote erotic activity, but to reform societal attitudes toward the naked body.
Exploring Green Island of the Great Barrier Reef
Green Island is a unique Australian island that is home to both coral reef and rainforest environments, the only one of the 300 coral cays with a rainforest. Canoes and kayaks are available to explore the island by water as well as snorkel and scuba diving excursions from the soft white coral sand beaches. Some of the best-rated snorkeling sites in the world are just minutes offshore. You can explore the island rainforest, which is home to 120 plant and 55 birds species, through a self-guided eco walk, but keep your eyes peeled for crocodiles! The newest Green Island attraction is the opportunity to walk underwater with Seawalker Helmet Diving. Guides take you to the island seafloor to see the coral reef up close and personal without even having to take off your glasses or get your hair wet. It’s a safe alternative for people who are unsure about scuba diving or for non-swimmers to still experience the beauty that the Great Barrier Reef beholds.
Hot Springs in an Icelandic Cave
Grjótagjá is a small lava cave located in Northern Iceland with a thermal spring inside. The hot springs used to be used for bathing purposes until the temperature of the water became too hot to bathe in (about 122 ºF) in the 1970’s. The water has since been cooling and visitors have been able to return to the caves to enjoy the spectacular beauty and mystery contained within them. There are numerous candle stubs inside the cave, so bring matches for a romantic candlelit experience in the hot springs of this unique Icelandic cave.
Surfing in Honolulu
Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii on the island of Oahu, is home to the world-famous Waikiki Beach with waters so clear that you can still see your feet as you wade deeper and deeper into the water. The locals of Hawaii are also known to constantly be “hangin’ loose” and riding the waves on their surfboards. The surf lesson instructors in Honolulu are more than happy to work with surfers from any level – first timers to experienced surfers – and show them the rad surf experience provided by the perfect Hawaiian waves.
These destinations are only a few of the coolest spots around the globe to take a beach vacation. Set your sails and explore the waters of the world. Take advantage of the opportunities to challenge yourself and try something new. You never know, you just might end up quitting your day job to become a full-time surf instructor, certified scuba diver or marine biologist!
Kelly Tatera is an aspiring journalist at Syracuse University who dreams that one day her writing will shed light upon the injustice that occurs worldwide every day. Kelly grew up in various European countries, which she strongly believes contributed to her worldly outlook on life. It also helped her develop decent fluency in French, which she loves to speak to her friends because they have no idea what she’s saying. Her tips for success are: travel as much as you can, respect cultural differences, venture outside of the tourist traps, keep a Dream Journal, become a documentary buff, and always save room for dessert.