There's something special about being on the water. Whether cresting a wave in an outrigger canoe, paddling a kayak across a cliff-rimmed lake, or skimming the sea at full sail, a water outing delivers a wind-in-your-hair sense of fulfillment and fun. The resorts listed below offer an ocean of watery fun for you and your family.

Written by Candyce H. Stapen
Explore coral reefs teeming with tropical fish and get nose to nose with dolphins at Anthony's Key Resort, located on one of Honduras' Bay Islands. Dive and snorkel boats take mask-and-fin enthusiasts to the many rich reefs located minutes from the property. Dolphins star at the on-site Roatan Institute for Marine Science, a conservation and education center. During the summer dolphin camp, ages 5 to 9 and 10 to 14 learn about the resident pod and their ocean habitat, as well as swim and snorkel. Scuba-certified teens discover the underwater wonders on their own dives. On Fridays families join in a dolphin encounter and the children end their Sunday to Friday camp by snorkeling with the friendly critters. Canoes and kayaks are also available. The laidback resort lacks a sandy beach, but with the ocean beckoning, you won't miss it.

Read our review of the Anthony's Key Resort.

The Beach family has been offering water-oriented vacations at the Basin Harbor Club on the shores of Lake Champlain for more than 125 years. Sail, canoe, kayak, fish and waterski at this 700-acre property that rests on the 120-mile-long Lake Champlain. From late June through Labor Day, the resort runs morning and evening programs for ages 3 to 5, 6 to 8, 9 to 12 and 13 to 17. Fishing is huge on this lake, which offers abundant trout, salmon, bass, northern pike and perch (the Harbormaster can assist you in obtaining fishing licenses and private charters). Ride on the Escape, a 48-foot boat for a guided cruise of the lake, or just enjoy the resort's canoes, kayaks, paddleboats, outboards and powerboats. The floating water trampoline will keep the kids entertained while you relax splash safe on the beach.

Read our review of the Basin Harbor Club.

A Key West landmark since the 1920s, Casa Marina holds honors as the Florida Keys' largest resort with the longest private beach and biggest swimming pool (1,100 feet!). Along with snorkeling and diving outings to ogle the nearby reefs' rainbow-colored fish and coral, the resort offers parasailing, kayaking, fishing excursions, dolphin encounters, Hobie Cats, and the classic Key West experience: a sunset cruise. Waverunners, kayaks, fun boats, windsurfers and more are available to rent in this resort built with water enthusiasts in mind.

Read our review of the Casa Marina Resort.

This resort's half-mile stretch of sand, among Cancun's nicest beaches, offers plenty of opportunities for swimming and boogie boarding. The resort, because of its all-inclusive price, is a great place for you and your kids to perfect skills in sailing, windsurfing, kite surfing, snorkeling, kayaking and waterskiing. Since waterskiers glide through the property's shallow lagoon, neither newbies nor experts practicing tricks fear falling. Club Med offers daylong activities for ages 4 to 10 and 11 to 17.

Read our review of the Club Med Cancun Yucatan.

In summer, this lakeside property in Northern Minnesota's Boundary Waters focuses on canoeing and fishing. You and your kids can follow the watery trails of the French Canadian voyageurs that once paddled and portaged the region's lakes to trade fur pelts. On a naturalist-guided day tour to a shoreside picnic, help navigate a 20-foot replica of a voyageur canoe while singing French songs, just like the early traders. You can also opt for an overnight canoe and camping expedition, as well as scenic canoe or pontoon outings in search of loons, beavers and eagles. The kids-only adventures for ages 5 and older include fishing outings, bug safaris and hikes.

Read our review of the Gunflint Lodge.

Get some thrills island-style with outrigger canoe surfing, the sport of Hawaiian royalty. This beachfront Waikiki resort, which recently completed its $110-million makeover, features guided sessions in which you and your kids learn the rhythmic strokes and teamwork required to position your six-person, 29.5-foot canoe so that it slides down a wave. For solo paddling, try lessons in two other Hawaiian specialties: paddle boarding and surfing, where kids learn by going tandem with an instructor on a wide board.

Read our review of the Outrigger Reef on the Beach.

At this luxury resort kids 7 to 12 discover two time-honored island staples: sailing and windsurfing. Taught by Paul Stoeken, a Virgin Islands Olympian who participated as a windsurfer in the 1996 and 2000 games, kids learn to master the winds during morning sailing classes and afternoon windsurfing lessons. Kayaking, snorkeling and diving are also available at this resort situated, situated on the beautiful sands of Great Bay. The resort's 53-catamaran, the Lady Lynsey, can take you and yours on excursions around the islands, including educational, volunteer sails where kids can help collect date and species for study, as well as snorkel the Virgin Islands' pristine waters.

Read our review of Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas.

Virginia's Northern Neck, bordered by the Potomac and Rappahannock rivers and the Chesapeake Bay, features 1,200 miles of coastline. The Tides Inn, fronting Carters Creek, a Rappahannock River tributary, features its Premier Sailing School. Even if you and your kids don't know an aft from a rudder, you can learn to master the winds together at the family sailing course. Each participant, even kids as young as 6, learns the ropes. There are a variety of different types of vessels available for different age groups, including Sunfish, Optimists and Lasers. For more water fun, go crabbing and fishing as well as canoeing and kayaking, or tour the creek in a duffy, a canvas-roofed boat with an electric motor. At the Crab Net Kids program, available summer and holidays, ages 4 to 12, swim, bicycle, play croquet and more.

Read our review of The Tides Inn.

Have your water sports and some Caribbean luxury too, at the Half Moon, a four-diamond property sprawled on 400 lushly landscaped acres. The resort offers snorkeling, kayaking, and pedal boats for use in the turquoise sea off the property's main beach, a picture postcard cove of white sand shaded by sea grape trees. Also try windsurfing, parasailing and scuba diving, as well as swimming with the resort's dolphins, an experience you and your kids won't soon forget. Depending on your stay package, some of these activities may even be complimentary! Be sure to check with the concierge desk. Aside from all that, kids 3 to 12 can enjoy nature hunts and craft making at the Anancy Children's village, while teens play video games and air hockey at the Hype Zone.

Read our review of the Half Moon Rose Hall.

Hang 10 -- or learn how to -- at this beachfront "Surf City" property in Orange County, about 30 minutes from Disneyland. Sign-on with the resort's on-property outfitter, Toes on the Nose, for lessons in surfing, kayaking and the hot new sport of paddle boarding (standing on the board and paddling). You can also rent boogie boards and skim boards plus take part in eco-tour adventures where the kids can explore tidepools and wetlands and search for seals and sea lions. At the Camp Hyatt Beach Club kids play on the beach and splash in the pool.

Read our review of the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa.

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10 Best Water Sports Resorts
Anthony's Key Resort Reviews
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Basin Harbor Club Reviews
Hurst - Jul 10th, 2011

We first came to Basin Harbor as a mini family reunion 12 years ago. It gets better all the time. The food this year was the best ever. Our kids now 14 and 17 have BHC friends they have had since being in the kids camps they offer as part of the ... read more
Basin Harbor Club reviews
Casa Marina Resort Reviews
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Club Med Cancun Yucatan Reviews
luckyskimom - Nov 15th, 2011

Club Med Yucatan (Cancun) In February of 2010, my three teenagers and I went to the Club Med in Cancun and had the greatest time. As a single mom with three teens, it was the perfect vacation. We had a room with the ocean on one side and a lake ... read more
luckyskimom - Apr 28th, 2011

We have gone to this club two years in a row now as my kids had so much fun. They meet people from all over the world and even the shyest one is dancing and participating in the fun. My daughters could use their French and my son could practice ... read more
Club Med Cancun Yucatan reviews
Gunflint Lodge Reviews
krutz3 - Nov 7th, 2012

Very disappointed in the quality of service by the owner! My husband and I were originally planning on going there in April but I had a high risk pregnancy and my doctor was not okay with me going 6 hours away at 9 months pregnant. We called ... read more
Gunflint Lodge reviews
Outrigger Reef on the Beach Reviews
mallan - Dec 11th, 2011

The Outrigger Reef is located walking distance from shopping, lots of restaurants, bus and trolley routes, and great views of sunrise over Diamond Head. From our room, we could see the ocean, the city, the mountains, the pool, the water fall from ... read more
divinehair@bigpond.com - May 25th, 2010

we love hawaii , whats there not to love.! .. beach ,balmy nights,& fabulous shopping... we were at the hotel then we ventured off for a cruise to the hawaiian islands .... we have been home back in australia and all my kids want to do is go ... read more
Outrigger Reef on the Beach reviews
Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas Reviews
MelissaK - May 12th, 2011

We spent Christmas at the Ritz Carlton St. Thomas Residence Club, which is a building within the resort that only has vacation rentals run by the Ritz. It was better than staying at the hotel - we had a kitchen, living room, dining room, ... read more
Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas reviews
The Tides Inn Reviews
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Half Moon Rose Hall Reviews
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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa Reviews
JHoffmanMD - May 14th, 2012

I don't usually write reviews for my trips, but given the absolutely wonderful stay my wife and I had at the Hyatt Regency Huntington beach, I wanted to be sure to share my experience. My wife, 6-month-old son, and I stayed at the Hyatt Regency for ... read more
lawchick70 - May 27th, 2010

This hotel is amazing. There are waterslides, multiple pools, hot tubs, the beach, walking distance to shops and restaurants...The staff is great, there is lots to do - you could just stay at the resort the whole time or discover local fun spots. ... read more
Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa reviews


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