Can you believe it’s already July? Where is the time going? Winter seems to last forever and summer seems to fly by. Crazy! While it may seem like it’s whizzing by, there are still two months of summer left, which is plenty of time to get out there and enjoy the season. And what better way to remember this summer than by trying out something new? I challenge you to make this a summer you’ll never forget by pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone!
Living in the Caribbean is like having summer 365 days of the year, but there are certain activities that I miss from my days of living in North America. Camping immediately comes to mind, as does riding my bike on trails, and canoeing on a still-water lake. None of these are really viable in Barbados, but living on an island and being surrounded by gorgeous turqoise water does offer up some new options that I would never have tried in the past.
So how do you choose what to try? With so many amazing options out there, it can be a bit overwhelming. Don’t worry, I’m here to help! I’ve put together a little list of outdoor activities that you should try before the sun sets on the summer of 2014. All you have to do is pick one (or two, or three,) and have fun!
SUP (stand up paddle boarding)
A cross between surfing and kayaking, this sport has become extremely popular over the past few years. It offers up a great workout to your upper body and abs, and you don’t need to buy any new equipment! Most introductory classes will provide the board and paddle as part of the lesson. Just put on your bathing suit, slather on that sunscreen, and get paddling! For some added motivation, check out this list of the world’s best SUP spots.
Bre and I actually have this at the top of our to-do list this summer, so stay tuned and you’ll likely see a recap of our own adventures in SUP!
tip: If you’re really adventurous, combine SUP with yoga. Many of the places that offer SUP, will provide this option as well. And don’t worry, they usually anchor the board so you don’t float away while your focusing on your pose. I wouldn’t recommend this for anyone that’s new to yoga. However, if you’re already a yogi, this is a fantastic way to combine your love of yoga with the serenity of the water.
If paddling on a board isn’t your thing, why not try it in a kayak? You still get the benefits of a great upper body workout in a slightly more stable vessel. I’ve kayaked a few times and it’s pretty easy to get the hang of. You can choose to go it alone, but why not grab a friend and get a boat for two? My husband and I did this while visiting Alaska one summer and it was the highlight of our trip! It’s adventurous, peaceful, and it provides you with an opportunity to spot wildlife that you would never see while standing on shore.
tip: Like stand-up paddle boarding, you don’t need to buy any new equipment. Check your local listings for kayak/canoe outfitters that offer up day rentals. Most will even include life jackets as part of the rental price (a MUST for any boater,) and day trip packages with, or without, a guide.
I hate to admit it, but I avoided snorkeling for years. Every time we went on a vacation where it was offered, I secretly wished I had the courage to try it out. It was very intimidating to me. I’m not a strong swimmer, and the idea of breathing through a tube didn’t seem like that much fun. Once I moved to the Caribbean, it seemed silly to let my fear of the unknown keep me from experiencing the beauty that the Caribbean Sea has to offer. So I bought a snorkel set and tried it out. And it was awesome!
It can take a bit of getting used to, so you may want try it in a pool first until you’re comfortable with it. The cool thing about snorkeling is that you don’t need a boat. Most of the times I’ve gone into the water from shore. If you don’t live in an area where you can snorkel, go ahead and add this activity to your overall bucket list. The next time you’re on a holiday where it’s available, try it out, and check it off your list! In fact, plan your next holiday around it! Go here to check out the world’s best places to snorkel.
tip: If you have a small head/face, look for a snorkel set designed for women. The face masks are more narrow and will fit better. You don’t want any gaps between the mask and your face. Also, ensure your hair is slicked back off your face before putting your mask on. This will also ensure a tighter seal.
It’s no secret that I love tennis. It has amazing health benefits and it’s so much fun! While you can play it all year round by hitting up an indoor facility, it’s way nicer to play outside. Don’t worry if you’ve never played before, or if you think you’re not coordinated enough. I am seriously one of the least coordinated people I know, and even I can manage to hit the ball. Borrow a racquet, buy a few tennis balls, and go hit the court!
tip: If you have a toddler or small child, bring them along and ask them to pick up the balls around the court when you’re taking a break or done playing. It’s amazing how much the little ones love being the ball boy/girl.
A summer time classic! My husband loves to play volleyball, and he never misses a chance to combine his favorite sport with a day at the beach. And with so many beaches providing nets these days, it’s never been easier to grab a group of friends and make a day of it. Fill up those coolers, grab a volleyball, and go! No special shoes or clothing required. Volleyballs are quite inexpensive and available everywhere. I’ve even seen them for sale at convenience stores. As an added bonus, running in the sand provides a great workout for your legs. Friends+sun+beach+workout = awesome!
tip: Beach volleyball is typically played with 2 players per team, but you can easily play with 6 per team, like indoor volleyball, if you have a larger group.
Get out there and enjoy summer folks! Before you know it, the leaves will be falling and you’ll be ordering a pumpkin spiced latte!
Would you try one of these activities?
Do you have any other summer sports to suggest? We’d love to hear about your list!