Swimming is, without a doubt, one of our favorite things to do. We’d go swimming in the summer as much as we can, but we won’t mind dipping in a thermal pool in the winter. If we can’t swim, we’ll still be probably somewhere near the water doing other fun things related to it. Be it a river, a sea, a pool, we’re all for the enjoyment and the calm it brings.
So through the years we’ve done small cruises and boating out with friends at the Danube river, riding a gondola in Venice, fishing and snorkeling in Croatia, and swimming in different bodies of water whenever possible as we’ve documented here. Although we stopped blogging our swimming activities at one point, we were still enjoying vacations related to water as much as we could.
When lock downs were imposed, we couldn’t go as much, not even to museums. Like most, we’ve spent a lot of our vacation (and school days) at home. We tried a lot of travelling without actually leaving home, but it’s really not the same. That’s why we are set to go swimming, boating again, and hopefully sailing (including and not limited to recreational sailing in a yacht or super yacht, riding sailboats, trying out windsurfing, or kitesurfing ) once it’s safer (and warmer).
So here are some of the destinations, some we’ve been to and others we’d like to explore that we think a family who loves water will enjoy. Note that in some areas, you need a license to operate, however, being tourists and renting with a private guide may be different.
When you put sailing and Asia in a sentence, you might think Phuket, Phi phi islands, and Krabi – as Thailand is known for its year-long sailing activities. Situated near the equator, Thailand has the perfect weather (mostly) for those who love the sea.
Myanmar, Indonesia, and Vietnam are also known for their sailing, boating, kayaking adventures. While Japan and South Korea also have their share of beautiful views surrounding the water, sailing in these shores are not as popular compared to their more tropical counterparts. They are however great cruise ship destinations and welcoming ports too which have become great alternatives for colder regions. A cruise ship from the ports of Singapore, Tokyo, Kobe and Hong Kong, for example, will give you a rich experience of the region.
If we are to pick a favorite sailing and boating spot in Asia though, it would be the Philippines, here’s why.
The Philippine Archipelago has about 7,641 islands, albeit only close to 2,000 are inhabited, it is very diverse and offers different experiences depending on the region you are visiting. And it also is a little less expensive compared to other countries, your 30€ could be spent on really good food for the whole family.
Flying to a different island though may not be as convenient as flights are mostly through lighter aircrafts. The airports are not as top-notch, these are smaller islands after-all. However, the experience will all be worth it, as you get to spend days in pristine blue waters, white sandy beaches, under beautifully painted skies. Boracay and Palawan are two of the most famous destinations for watersports and other sail boat activities in the Philippines. Puerto Galera (Mindoro), Cebu City, Bohol, and Subic Bay in the north often pops on lists too.
Palawan has a lot more islands each offering different activities and tours. For starters, the Puerto Princesa (a UNESCO Heritage site) underground river tour, kayaking in the lagoons of El Nido, luxury days in Coron Yachts, and island-hopping, diving, and snorkeling everyday are what you’d expect.
Boracay’s most loved activity is Paraw sailing. Paraws are double outrigger boats propelled by sails, one can rent them to view a romantic sunset while in the middle of the golden waters – everyday. After its rehabilitation, Boracay lives up to its name of being one of the best group of islands in the world. Activities like stand up paddle, kite surfing, snorkeling, and scuba diving will keep you busy and help you burn the calories after enjoying buffets of fresh fish and meat, and tropical fruits!
Often listed under Africa but technically in the south of Asia, the Maldives is the most picturesque archipelago with 16 atolls and over a thousand islands sprawled in deep blue waters in the Indian ocean. It is the ultimate destination for people who loves the sea. Wherever you are in the Maldives, you can rent gulets, catamarans, powerboats and possibly have your own Oyster Yachts sailboat navigate through and island hop and see all the Maldivian sandbanks. And just like any romantic shorelines, sunset viewing is perfect anywhere in Maldives.
Here are 10 Exclusive tips on buying your first yacht, to enjoy sailing and the sea all the more.
America and Canada
North America, and Canada are surrounded by the Pacific Ocean in the west, the Atlantic Ocean in the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Gulf of Mexico (only in the United States on the south) while South America is bounded by the Caribbean Sea to the northwest and north, the Atlantic Ocean to the northeast, east, and southeast, and the Pacific Ocean to the west – the perfect places for water activities and fun! If you cruise around you’d find that there are many wonderful works of God even just along the shores.
There are 101 reasons to visit Hawaii, and your love for water is just one of them. When in Hawaii, no matter which island, you can get into water sports (some extreme) anytime. Aside from surfing (including body-surfing and stand-up paddle-boarding) which is the most exercised water sport in the islands, there’s body-boarding and snorkeling, kayaking/canoeing, scuba diving, parasailing, windsurfing and kite surfing. Needless to say, boating and sailing should be included – Hawaii’s winds create the perfect sailing conditions all-year round.
Rhode Island’s nickname is “The Ocean State;” known for sandy shores and more than 400 miles of coastline. Going to the sea to enjoy it takes less than an hour. Sail boats, yachts, and other such vessels are permanent fixtures along the shores of Rhode Island.
There are 101 reasons to visit the Galapagos islands, and its pristine waters would be one. There are a lot that you can do in Galapagos which the kids would also enjoy. There are only 4 inhabitable islands in the cluster, but the other islands can be explored somehow. There are activities that can only be done in the Galapagos like glass-bottom boat rides, diving with whale sharks and manta rays, and even exploring a pirate cave.
Visiting the Galapagos will make you believe that paradise exist and that animals thrive without human intervention.
The Banff National Park is one of the most picturesque places on earth, it always has a calm aura amidst blue waters and equally peaceful skies. There are many activities for families like boat tours, small cruises, canoeing and kayaking too. All in all, just seeing the lake will make you be in awe of God’s wonderful creations.
Many European countries have stunning shorelines, most that are seen when you cruise around, but they also have amazing coasts for boating and sailing. While Portugal, Turkey, Italy, and the UK are known for these, we pick the following too!
Whether you sail to the sunset in Santorini, tour around Kefalonia on a private boat, or cruise around Mykonos all through the day, Greece is the best destination for everyone. The beaches are perfect for a morning swim, the cobble-stoned streets perfect for afternoon walks, the dishes are the freshest for those who enjoy seafood, and it’s a paradise for those who love cats. Free pets as you walk around and bask under the sun!
Whether you charter a yacht, or boat for a tour, Croatia fast became Europe’s favorite beach destination. It shares maritime borders with Italy so expect the same blue waters, and sailing conditions. Rafting at the Cetina River is a popular activity in Croatia, so if you enjoy water adventure, book a tour (don’t DIY as this is not an easy sport). And for those who have the gears, one can actually fish, whether while on a yacht, on a kayak, you can go spearfishing or angler fishing as long as you have a license.
The Spanish coastline boasts a length of 6,000 kilometers, shared between the country’s inland territories of the Iberian Peninsula, the Balearic Islands — located on the Mediterranean Coast— and the Canary Islands, situated 100 kilometers west of Morocco. It proudly has the best weather conditions for those who love to sail, even in the colder months. While you can boat in Madrid’s Retiro Park lake, do not settle there – explore the beautiful islands of Tenerife, Gran Canaria, and Lanzarote too.
You might fall in love in these Mediterranean regions – not just with the beaches, the activities, or food, but with the lifestyle itself.
There is a beautiful, almost landlocked lake in Hungary called Balaton. It has beautiful sunsets, as you can see in the below photo. There are many activities for family to do in Balaton lake, while resorts have been built, you can also go swimming, fishing in the lake itself. Hiking and biking, walking around the pretty streets will also give you a good feel of the area’s overall mood.
The Hague, Netherlands is set to become the international sailing capital in 2023 according to The World Sailing Association. The Hague is situated in the North Sea along the borders too of Great Britain (specifically England and Scotland), Norway, Jutland (in Denmark), Germany, Belgium and Hauts-de-France (in France).
There are regattas (a series of boat races) held in the Hague and the Sailing World Championships will also take place in its waters in preparation for the Olympics. While vacationing families are not participating in these events, boating and other water activities are equally enjoyable.
Sailing around Africa, that is, passing Africa on its south side, around the Cape of Good Hope is one of the goals you should have, if you want to circumnavigate the world. You can enjoy its stunning views and beautiful coastline while having your face sunkissed and feeling the freedom of the wind as you sail.
The water is also the best spot to view Table Mountain and the coast of Cape Town.
The Nile River, the longest river in Africa, and a historically known Biblical body of water that covers eleven countries: Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Republic of the Sudan, and Egypt.
Get on a Felucca ride on the Nile to experience a local feel of the region. You can also cruise around the river and even get chartered yacht for a week’s stay.
Australia as a continent is the smallest and as a country is the largest island in the world. Because of its climate, sailing is one of the more popular sport and water activity in the region with 2 Olympic hosting that included sailing events. Overall, Australia is a mecca for sailing enthusiasts with the world’s oldest continuously held regatta on January 26, first held in 1837.
Composed of 74 continental islands of various sizes off the central coast of Queensland, The Whitsunday islands can be found 900 kilometres (560 miles) north of Brisbane. You can go camping,…and when in the water go kayaking, sailing or powerboating – you can charter a yacht or go bareboating to further explore the seaways, beaches and coves.
One trip that you have to do in your lifetime is to go an expedition to the Antarctica. It is is Earth’s southernmost continent mostly covered by ice all year out. If you dream on having a winter get-away for your family, it is the perfect destination. And because you are not required to have a visa to visit, it’s relatively easy to arrange travel tours with operators, you just need your passport!
While the region will be mostly ice-covered, there are still a lot of things you can do. Here are some:
- Go Kayaking
- Visit a Science Research Station
- Camp Under the Stars
- Take the Polar Plunge
- Cross the Drake Passage
- Climb Antarctica’s Tallest Mountain
- Scuba Diving
- Whale Watching
- Trek to the South Pole
- Hang Out with Penguins
Far from the coast of the French Riviera, and not even close to Nice or Cannes, the French Polynesia is another group of islands and atolls worth a family visit. Located in Oceania, Bora bora is one of the most known islands in the archipelago.
You can drive around the islands but boating around would be much more exciting. You can nurse baby sharks and play with dolphins, scuba dive, and swim with humpback whales and just enjoy island life.
Other Amazing Boating and Sailing Destinations For Families
As the world is consisted of 71% water, there’s so many more places that families can enjoy sailing, boating, fishing, swimming, and other related activities.
Whenever you go on a water adventure, we hope that you stay safe, research well on the area, and of course be considerate. For example, Hallstatt is a wonderful town where boating is such a wonderful experience. It is however inhabited by less than 700 people but tourists by the 10,000 flock everyday. Make sure to do your part to keep such areas peaceful and well-maintained.
What other coasts or countries are your favorite for water activities? Let us know in the comments.
These are all such great suggestions for a sailing trip with the family. I have actually just returned from a Nile cruise in Egypt and it was such a unique experience. Whilst I travelled on my own, I did notice quite a few families with children on board. I have also sailed in Spain, and that experience was amazing as well, especially that it was on the Mediterranean Sea.
The sea always calls those who love it! Glad you enjoyed sailing!
Subhashish Roy says
Thank you for this wonderful compilation. Me and my wife love these boat and cruise sailing trips. And I make sure that we mostly head to destinations which provide these options. Altghough we have done many in Europe, am particularly intereseted in the Asia destinations for our future trips.
I imagine it would be a different experience, but still would be as enjoyable, do try Boracay, it’s beautiful!
Puloma Bhattacharya says
What an amazing list of boating and sailing destinations.We went sailing on Catalina island in California and it was a wonderful experience.But I would love to go on longer trips. Playing with the dolphins, scuba diving , whale watching are some of the exciting activities I would love to indulge.
I included Santa Catalina in another list (US Sailing islands), beautiful isn’t it? Seeing marine creatures makes you feel happy!
With 71% of earth is consists of water, no wonder there are so many amazing sailing destinations. I hope to visit Maldives one day. It looks so pristine and beautiful. I’ve seen tons of pictures from Whitsunday, Australia and yours made me want to visit even more. But most of all, it will be wonderful to sailing in Galapagos Island with glass-bottom boat rides.
If we only have all the time and the money, let’s sail!
It’s such a great combination of sailing and boating opportunities for families. It’s fabulous that you have shown places from every part of the world, so the choice of ideas is extensive. I’ve only sailed in Hawaii and Spain, and I can recommend these places for a family vacation. I dream of sailing on the Galapagos and Antarctica.
Happy to know that you enjoyed Boracay in the list. We just went there last weekend and yes, we did some Paraw sailing. Highly recommended.
These are some awesome places to visit! I’m personally aware of how sailing-friendly, Netherlands is. Every time I go there, in every city, I get to see people calmly sailing, kayaking, paddling in the thousands of canals of the country. I’ve only been on a couple of ferry rides in the country. As you rightly said, the rivers of Netherlands connect it to Belgium, Germany, and France making it a super destination for sailing enthusiasts.
Shreya Saha says
I do not know swimming but I certainly enjoy kayaking. I feel it is so calming. I have kayaked in the waters of Thailand and Vietnam. I love the list that you have put out here. Sailing can be really calming too. Kefalonia is surely going to the top of my bucket list. I didn’t know there is a place for cat lovers. Would visit that along with Antarctica also in mind. It is so beautiful.