Whether floating on, paddling through or sailing across, it’s relaxing and fun to be one with the water. Kayaks and canoes let children skim the lake at their own speed, while evening cruises on catamarans can help parents escape for an hour or two. Swimming and snorkeling with a new bottle-nosed friend is never forgotten either. Make waves with your family at one of these excellent water sport resorts (listed in no particular order).
Written by Hilarey Wojtowicz
Anthony's Key Resort - Roatan, Honduras
Get nose to nose with dolphins at Anthony's Key Resort
, located on one of Honduras' Bay Islands, and learn how to feed friendly animals, too. Dolphins star at the onsite Roatan Institute for Marine Science, a conservation and education center. During the summer dolphin camp, kids 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.
Basin Harbor Club - Vergennes, Vt.
With more than 120 miles of scenic shoreline along Lake Champlain in Vermont, Basin Harbor Club
offers families lakefront water sports for everyone in your party. Sail, canoe, kayak, fish and water ski at this 700-acre property, where, from late-June through Labor Day, the resort runs morning and evening programs for kids ages 3 to 17. Fishing is huge here and guests can ride on the Escape, a 48-foot boat, for a guided cruise of the lake, or just enjoy the resort's canoes, kayaks, paddleboats, tubes, outboards and powerboats. The floating water trampoline will keep the kids entertained while you relax on the beach.
Casa Marina Resort - Key West, Fla.
A landmark in Key West since the 1920"s, Casa Marina
takes the title as the Florida Keys' largest resort with the longest private beach and biggest swimming pool. 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, boats, windsurfing equipment and more are available to rent at this resort, which was built with water enthusiasts in mind.
Club Med Cancun Yucatan - Cancun, Mexico
The Club Med Cancun Yucatan
'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 rates, is a great place for you and your kids to perfect skills in sailing, windsurfing, kite surfing, snorkeling, kayaking and water skiing through one of the schools offered. Since water skiers glide through the property's shallow lagoon, neither newbies, nor experts practicing tricks fear falling. Club Med offers daylong activities for ages 4 to 17. Swimming with dolphins is also offered, but if you"re up for the challenge, submerge yourself in a cage that is lowered into the shark tank for a close-up of these sharp-toothed creatures.
Frangipani Beach Resort - Meads Bay, Anguilla
Located on the quiet and calm Mead"s Bay in Anguilla, Frangipani Beach Resort
will have even the littlest swimmer ready for the water. Kayak your way across the water or rent a Hobie Cat at no charge. Two complimentary motorized boats are also available for guests, and with two sizes -- the 34-foot Relentless cruiser and the 17-foot Baby Relentless powerboat -- the whole family will be able to sail the high seas. Snorkeling gear, inner tubes, wakeboards, water skis and beach toys are also available at the resort.
The Condado Plaza Hilton - San Juan, Puerto Rico
You'll barely notice The Condado Plaza Hilton
is located in bustling San Juan. The high-rise hotel features a small beach, where families can play in the sand or go snorkeling in an artificial reef (request snorkel gear at the hotel). The fun continues at Condado Lagoon, where families can kayak, stand-up paddle board, paddle boat or simply sit in an inner tube and float in the bay. Three swimming pools -- one with a waterslide -- add to the fun for kids.
Madden's on Gull Lake - Brainerd Lakes, Minn.
You may not think of hitting the beach in the Midwest, but Madden"s on Gull Lake
is close to three, all of which offer numerous water sports and activities, with lessons for newbies. Bounce and splash into Brainerd Lake from one of the floating trampolines or relax and cruise along the water in a canoe or kayak. Instructors are on hand to offer help to beginners -- learn how to water ski, wake board, wake surf and more -- or guests can use complimentary paddle bikes and stand-up paddle boards at their leisure. Sailboats and pontoons for fishing are available for rent, too.
The Bitter End Yacht Club - Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
Accessible only by water, it only makes sense that the Bitter End Yacht Club
in the British Virgin Islands offers water sports for all ages. The Kids Club for those 5 to 12 hosts kids" kayak outings, sailing trips and snorkeling excursions. Tubing, sailing and family regatta camps are also offered seasonally for children ages 5 to 12, too. For teens and adults, kiteboarding is the biggest hit at the oceanfront resort. Instructors will teach you how to fly through the air with ease, though it may take a few tries. And for parents looking for less extreme activities, enjoy a sunset sail or Champagne cruise in the evening.
Four Seasons Maui at Wailea - Maui, Hawaii
Go under water at the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea
and see what lies within the coral reefs of Maui. Snorkel, scuba dive, kayak or surf the ocean before relaxing on a paddle or boogie board. If in need of lessons, the complimentary Outrigger Canoe program has instructors ready to help you paddle your way to the top of the class. And when you and your kids are ready to make a splash, see how high you can bounce on one of the floating water trampolines. Whale watching, kayak adventure tours and evening sails are also available.
Loews Coronado Bay Resort - Coronado, Calif.
This deluxe resort rents out motorboats, sailboats, jet skis, kayaks and paddleboats, but families will really want to try paddle boarding while visiting the Loews Coronado Bay Resort
. If the mellow activity isn"t for you or your kids, head to the Coronado Surfing Academy at the resort for group or private surfing lessons. Water ski and wakeboarding packages are also available. For the guests looking to just enjoy the practically perfect weather, a two-hour sunset cruise is offered on the resort"s 27-foot Catalina for just $45 per person.