Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is considered an ancient form of surfing, dating back to the early days of Polynesia. More recently, in the 1940s, surf instructors on a beach in Waikiki, Hawaii reportedly used this skill to allow them to see their students better. Today, families can indulge in the sport at many scenic resorts and recreation areas.
Here are five to consider:
Three Lakes, Wisconsin
Perfect your balance on this charming chain of freshwater lakes in Wisconsin’s Northwoods. Bring your own gear or rent it from one of the many accessible shops in the area.
Coat yourself in sunscreen and explore the 20 lakes – ranging in size from 123 acres to over 1,000 acres – that attract adventurous families. Stop along the way to swim at small sandy beaches or grab a waterside lunch or snack at Pike’s Pine Isle.
Water skiing, boating, wakeboarding, canoeing and fishing are also popular. Plan a sunset paddle and you might share the scenery with a family of loons.
For more information: www.TravelWisconsin.com
Ritz Carlton Amelia Island Resort. Amelia Island, Florida.
Learn to paddleboard the Atlantic while staying at this luxurious, family-friendly 446-room resort located on a 21-kilometre stretch of pristine coastline. Take lessons from the local pros or go it alone.
Add other water sports to the mix by trying jet skiing, boogie boarding, kayaking and surfing. Children ages 5 to 12 can take advantage of the Ritz Kids program which offers adventures designed to introduce youngsters to the natural wonders of the island.
Hopefully the kids won’t be too tired to enjoy the story time, snacks and afternoon tea provided by a friendly pirate.
For more information: www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/AmeliaIsland/Default.htm
Slickrock Adventures, Belize
Discover this sunny sport in a Caribbean paradise where beginners can practice in sheltered lagoons and the more experienced can try their hand at surf spots.
Challenge yourself via long paddles to nearby cays or use the board as transportation to prime snorkeling spots. Visitors can also enjoy kayaking, fishing, snorkeling, kite surfing and beach time with a family adventure package on Adventure Island at Glover’s Reef.
For more information: www.slickrock.com
Santa Cruz, California.
Paddle among sea otters and playful seals as you cruise the calm waters of Santa Cruz Harbor.
Local pros will help you get into the proper stance and paddling technique before touring Elkhorn Swamp at Moss Landing. This special outing allows paddlers to explore the second largest remaining salt marsh in California and one of the most significant biodiversity hotspots in the world.
Expect to see peregrine falcons, brown pelicans, great blue herons and great egrets as you move through the tidal channels.
For more information: http://covewatersup.com
This ancient sport is a natural choice in an area where outdoor activities are at the top of the list. Beginners and experts alike can be spotted paddling the Deschutes River through the center of this central Oregon town, sometimes accompanied by furry friends aboard rafts or inner tubes.
A variety of local outfitters offer lessons, equipment and encouragement to interested paddlers of all ages. Sign up for a lesson or a visit. Later, with experience and skills under your belt, set off on your own independent adventure.
For more information: www.VisitBend.com
Lynn O’Rourke Hayes (LOHayes.com) is an author, family travel expert and enthusiastic explorer. Gather more travel information on Twitter @lohayes, Facebook, or through FamilyTravel.com.