Many vacationers who head to the beach as soon as the weather warms up find it fulfilling to just sit on the sand and soak up the rays. Others enjoy beach vacations free of sunning and swimming. Not content to slather on the sunscreen in pursuit of the ultimate tan, these travelers seek a little adventure in their holiday. Here's a list of activities sure to satisfy the daredevil or sportsperson in your group.
Kayaking: If floating in the ocean on an inflatable raft seems a bit passive to you, Coastal Kayak just north of will get you out in the surf in one of their touring kayaks. The long skinny crafts enable you to navigate more challenging ocean waters. Coastal Kayak offers courses and instruction on how to go from flat water to surf for anyone eager to learn. Flat water kayaking is open to those over the age of 11, while surf kayaking requires participants to be at least 14. Coastal Kayak is open May through October, with water conditions at their best in mid-to-late summer. Personal flotation devices and helmets are provided.
Surfing: This surf and sport shop provides lessons in surf, skim, skate and body boarding. It is a favorite with kids and adults eager to master -- or at least try -- one of these extreme sports. If surfing seems too intimidating to you, skim boarding uses flat boards to skim the water as it breaks along the beach. The instructors include professional surfers and skim boarders, as well as a top amateur skate boarder. Lessons take place on the beach behind the shop and range from two-hour single or group lessons to weeklong camps run in the summertime. Skate boarding lessons may also take place at one of the skate parks in nearby or Berlin.
Whale watching: If your summer reading requirement, "Moby Dick," has inspired you to go whale watching, Fisherman's Wharf in can help you out. With three-hour cruises departing daily during peak summertime weeks, passengers have a good chance of spotting one of the ocean's largest mammals. There is no age requirement to enjoy the humpbacks' acrobatic displays, and you are welcome to pack a lunch. The cost is $25 for adults; $15 for children 12 years old and younger. Reservations are not required.
Shark fishing: If "Jaws" didn't scare you out of the water then perhaps you'd like to try your hand at shark fishing. The Ocean City Fishing Center offers private charters on 26-foot to 42-foot sport fishing boats from the end of April through June. Keep in mind that the early bird really does catch the worm. The 10-hour trip sets out between 5 a.m. and 5:30 a.m., with a maximum of six anglers at a time. If your stomach easily succumbs to motion sickness, the Fishing Center recommends that you bring your Dramamine as waters can be rough 60 miles from shore. Tuna and marlin fishing charters are offered from mid-June through October.
Up in the air
Skydiving: Just minutes from the beach, the Ocean City Skydiving Center provides jumpers with breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean while falling from 12,500 feet. Located at the , the Center provides instruction and jumps for anyone over the age of 18. Tandem jumps enable novice skydivers to hook on to an instructor for the plummet and require only minimal training before taking off. Individual free falls are also available but require a 6-to-8-hour course. The center is open daily from the beginning of May, and stays open through November. Any attire is fine, as long as jumpers wear comfortable running shoes to cushion the landing from their 120-mile-per-hour fall.
Skydiving: In April through November you can jump out of a plane with SkyDive Delmarva. Located just 30 minutes from the beaches in Laurel, Del., the center offers everything from accelerated free falls to tandem jumping. A full day of class is required before students can make the 14,000-foot jump, but both can be done in a day's time. The center is open every day except Tuesday. Prices start at $179 and rates are a bit lower during the week.
Parasailing: With two locations, O.C. Parasail provides parasailing trips both on the bay and on the ocean. Operating May through September, this daily operation is so popular that the "reservations recommended" rule is practically a requirement come July. The boat trips last an hour, with "flights" at 10 minutes each once onboard. Any age is welcome and para-sailors fly anywhere from 400-to-1600-feet above the water. The two locations include the 54th Street Marina and the Talbot Street Pier.
Flying: Airplane rides provide for an entirely different perspective on your favorite vacation spot. American Aerospace at the Sussex County Airport in Georgetown, Del., offers 30- and 60-minute rides in their three-passenger (1 pilot) Piper Cherokees. For the backseat drivers in your group, American Aerospace also offers lessons on flying the plane. Students learn how to start a plane, taxi the plane down the runway, fly straight and level, as well as climb, descent, and turn. The school is open daily, but appointments are required.
Auto racing: With NASCAR soaring in popularity across the country, Midway Speedway in transports fans from the stands to the driver's seat with its array of miniature-sized NASCARS, World of Outlaw sprint cars and go-carts. The oval track at Midway was designed to simulate NASCAR racing. Children over 36 inches tall can join their parents in cruising a go-cart around the over-and-under track. Twelve cars can race at a time. Located in the Midway Shopping Center, the Speedway is open year-round on weekends, weather permitting, and daily during the summer, beginning May 1.
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